It’s never too early to start teaching children about their emotions, and these toddler books about feelings do just that. Check out these excellent stories, and give your littles the vocabulary they need to begin naming and understanding their feelings.
Toddler books about feelings nurture emotional intelligence
Toddlers have big emotions, and with that, big (HUGE!) tantrums. It cannot be easy to be a little one with complex feelings. It’s got to be even harder when you don’t have the words or vocabulary to make yourself understood.
Enter toddler books about feelings. I’m not just saying this because I’m a total book nerd. I’m saying this because it’s true. They help.
They truly, truly help.
Toddler books about feelings help preschoolers identify their emotions
Having the ability to recognize what actions or situations trigger particular feelings is an important life skill. Not only can toddler books about feelings help your little ones begin to cultivate this skill, but they also help children build self-awareness as they start recognizing how their feelings affect others.
Nurturing emotional intelligence in children is so important because this intelligence helps children look kindly upon others. It enables them to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and see a situation from another’s perspective. While this is certainly no easy feat for a toddler or preschooler, we can gently begin to foster this awareness. In turn, our littlest readers will turn into children and adults who are more likely to treat others with kindness, tenderness, and respect.
So what are you waiting for? Grab these toddler books about feelings, and get ready for storytime!
RELATED: We’ve got more than 100 children’s book lists on Happily Ever Elephants. Be sure to check out this link!
Frequently asked questions
Aside from vocalizing your own feelings with your kids, use books! Through toddler books about feelings, our youngest readers can begin to understand the way they feel. The more kids understand their feelings, the less likely they are to act out. A child who can say “I’m sad” or “I’m mad” will be more equipped to handle conflicts down the road. Reading stories about common emotions is worth its weight in gold!
I absolutely love How Do You Feel? by Lizzie Rockwell, featured below. In the story, children feel various emotions in different situations. Their facial expressions help kids understand why these kids are experiencing particular feelings in the pictured situations. So simple, yet exceptionally effective. It is a book that is cherished among my preschool classes. Tiger Days, by M.H. Clark and Anna Hurley, is another favorite for the way it links animals to emotions. It’s a gem!
Absolutely! In fact, I have a whole list! Check out my list of Children’s Books About Feelings to Nurture Emotional Intelligence at the link.
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We love these toddler books about feelings!
If you have a toddler in your house, this one is a must! In this darling toddler book about feelings, girls and boys feel various emotions: happy, sad, silly, mad, and more. The detailed illustrations on each spread depict children in different situations, and their facial expressions help kids understand why they are experiencing particular feelings under the given circumstances. Simple, yet effective, I just adore this book to use as both a foundation for building emotional literacy and a springboard for having those vital early conversations with little ones about feelings.
This is one of my very favorite toddler books about feelings! In this fabulous and engaging read-aloud, kids are introduced to various common feelings they may have on any given day. Each emotion is embodied by a different animal and described through actions taken by that animal, thus brilliantly explaining how a child may feel and act when experiencing a particular feeling. By labeling emotions with animals and their particular behaviors, Tiger Days provides children with an accessible way to begin giving their feelings the appropriate names, together with the vocabulary they can use to express themselves to others. For our full review of Tiger Days, click here!
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We just adore this sweet book for how it tackles big emotions – including happiness, sadness, anger, and bravery. In a pure, childlike way, this story utilizes direct language and simple images to help kids understand what they are physically feeling as they tackle their emotional development. This book provides a perfect overview of feelings to help little ones begin to articulate what is going on inside their heads and hearts. For our full review of In My Heart: A Book of Feelings, click here!
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No one does toddler books about feelings like Todd Parr! This simple, expressive book helps kids understand their emotions, with vibrant illustrations to give great context to the words. From the frequent to the silly to the sometimes totally nonsensical, kids will walk away from this story with a stronger ability to give voice to their big feelings.
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Each book in the Elephant and Piggie series is fantastic, and we especially love how this one shows Piggie doing everything he can to cheer up his friend Gerald — but in disguise! What does Gerald truly need? Even though Piggie’s antics were pretty hilarious, all Gerald wanted was his best friend’s company so the two could share the laughs together. So sweet, and as always, filled with lots of humor! This is one of our favorite preschool kindness books.
This hilarious book helps guide children through their grumpiest moments. How the Grumpasaurus is described makes this more of a playful read than a didactic one. The narrative, which is primarily written in captions and side notes, provides a unique and super fun exploration of anger that children can readily understand. What more do you need to be sold than the cover page, which states: “The observations that follow in this field guide tell you everything you need to know about the Badmoodicus grumpasauricus, more commonly known as the North American Grumpasaurus.” We love it!
This is a darling friendship story for your littlest readers! The story begins as an elephant wakes up and feels awfully grumpy. Alas, a present outside his door reveals a fun new hat, brightening the elephant’s mood considerably. What follows is an intro to several more grumpy animals, each, in turn, made happier when the elephant and the others share the hat. This book perfectly illustrates the concept of paying it forward, teaching even the youngest readers that their simple actions can brighten the world around them. For our full review of Hooray for Hat! click here!
This gorgeous book celebrates and supports the wellness of indigenous children. It honors those special moments that fill our hearts with joy and encourages children always to remember those things that make them happy, whether it’s the feeling of the sun on your face, a warm hug, or the smell of something special baking in the oven.
There is something magical about sharing happiness with others, and this precious book showcases the joy that is found when you pass along some brightness to those around you. Children will love reading this one with someone special, and, once the final page is turned, they will undoubtedly want to spread happiness to their friends and neighbors through gestures big and small. It’s impossible to read this feel-good story without feeling happy yourself!
Scaredy Squirrel is so scared of his surroundings, he won’t ever leave his tree! He has backup plans and contingency plans and a whole system set up to deal with anything that goes amiss. But what happens when his worst fears actually happen, and he finds himself plummeting from his tree to the ground below? This is such a fabulous toddler book about feelings to help kids recognize that they will never be able to control the world all around them. However, if they learn to let go a little bit, they may find a whole lot of fun in their surroundings. Even though a new experience is daunting at first, it will usually create much more joy than fear!
Did you know that every single one of us gets scared sometimes? With his usual sensitivity and ability to speak so perfectly to young readers, this sweet book explores the things that scare us and make us feel anxious, also providing readers with antidotes to common childhood fears. This is such a special toddler book about emotions.
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Children constantly compare themselves to those around them, and naturally, when such comparisons are made, insecurity and even jealousy arrive. It is hard for kids to recognize their own incredible attributes when they are so focused on the unique qualities of others. This story about insecurity helps little ones learn to celebrate differences instead of being jealous of them — and to be grateful for everything that makes us unique as individuals. A forever favorite.
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A little girl learns what it means to love as she cares for her new pet. Her duckling requires a lot as he grows, needing constant attention from the girl. She hugs him closely and cares for him with everything she has, but eventually, it is time to let go. This is a tender beauty for any child caring for a pet – and for those who need a gentle reminder that sometimes when we love something, we have to set it free.
Poor Jim! The chimpanzee is in a terrible mood, and on such a beautiful day, no less. His friends have difficulty understanding why Jim is in such a bad mood and keep trying to cheer him up with different advice. But it’s all too much for Jim, and, uh-oh. He has a meltdown! Can he break out of his bad mood, or does he actually need nothing more than a day to feel grumpy? We love this toddler book about emotions!
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RELATED: We’ve got a fabulous list of kindergarten read-alouds for you on Happily Ever Elephants, all of which make for great bedtime stories. Be sure to check them out!