Here is Garima Kushwaha’s second post in the #kbcAuthoRity series, where authors share some must must reads for children. In this post, Garima shares a list of books that help toddlers understand the concept of feelings which helps them express their feelings as well.
In her previous post, she shared the top 10 books her toddler loves along with the creative activities she does to engage him to make their reading sessions more fun and meaningful!
So here’s Garima on teaching small kids (2-6 years) about feelings & emotions…
Feel the feelings: Teach about emotions
Feelings are complicated. It becomes a struggle to understand our feelings even as adults, and it is definitely a very abstract concept to teach kids.
Yet, it is extremely important to teach kids how to understand and express their feelings. Kids who can tell what they are feeling are less likely to throw tantrums and use aggression in order to react to certain situations. They need to learn how to cope with their feelings and understand how it feels to be sad, scared or upset. It is important for them in order to become more empathetic to others.
The following books teach kids about emotions and about expressing themselves. These books will help them learn these important concepts that even many adults struggle to discern.
1. I Am Human: A Book of Empathy
Susan Verde (Author), Peter H. Reynolds (Illustrator)
The book ‘I am human’ is one of its kind. The beautiful illustrations tell a story of how a boy does all good and fun things because he is a human, feels all the joy and happiness because he is a human, then he does a few bad things because he is a human and feels sad because he is a human. It’s an excellent resource to teach kids that mistakes happen, it’s not the end and that one can fix things with kindness and compassion. And that all these emotions are natural.
You can definitely read this book in one sitting or read one page at a time. Use this book to spark an enlightening conversation on various qualities that make us human!
Age group: 4-8 years
2. Say Something
by Peter H. Reynolds (Author, Illustrator)
When kids don’t learn how to express their feelings, they often pick up bad habits of aggression. Kids, especially introvert kids, who learn to express their feelings and believe that their voice and opinion is important, become not only thoughtful citizens of our world but also feel less bottled up and allow others to help them.
The book ‘Say Something’ teaches exactly that. It shows different ways one can express oneself: verbally, via drawing, by singing and many others. It teaches one to speak up where they must and to be patient if they think that no one is listening, because the world eventually does listen to you.
Age group: 4-8 years
3. Beautiful Oops
by Barney Saltzberg (Author)
Sadness, frustration or the feeling of inferiority complex comes with one’s (children’s) own mistakes and hence we try to avoid them. But if and when we make mistakes, it important to know how to cope up with those feelings. Parents should help children to find ways to improve from mistakes instead of scolding. For instance, how taking a break and trying again or even asking for help is much better than showing tantrums or crying after making a mistake.
This book teaches that it is ok to make mistakes and shows how many things we learn from them. Also, how many ways there can be to correct your mistakes. This book is definitely for children and parents both.
Age Group: 3-6 years
4. Hands Are Not for Hitting
by Martine Agassi Ph.D. (Author), Marieka Heinlen (Illustrator)
No matter how hard we as guardians try, kids eventually lash out sometimes and hit others when their demands are not being met. This book helps kids learn why that is bad and reinforces again that hands are not for hitting.
It teaches what hands are really for, all the wonderful things you can (and should) do with your hands and why hitting is not one of them. Reading this book can be really helpful in teaching self-control. A must have in your kid’s library in my opinion!
Age group: 2-4 years
5. Little Monkey Calms Down
Part of: Hello Genius (26 Books)
by Michael Dahl and Oriol Vidal
Time Out! How often do we as parents and caretakers find ourselves saying that to our energetic toddlers? Time out, very common in the West, is basically locking up kids if they get upset or start throwing a nasty tantrum. Such behavior is very common in kids of age group 3-7 and sometimes even before that. But have we tried to ask kids to give time out to themselves? Will they do it? Will they go to their room, sit quietly, breathe deeply to calm themselves or may be even cry it out before they choose aggression?
This is a hard thing to teach kids, but this book teaches exactly that. A wonderful book to teach anger-management to kids. Introducing this book at the right age can do wonders to a child’s behavior.
Age group: 2-5 years
6. My heart fills with happiness
by Monique Gray Smith (Author), Julie Flett (Illustrator)
What is a happy feeling? What does it mean? What gives you happiness? These are the questions both children and adults need to learn and remember.
Is it always a big important victory, getting a material possession or a big reward that makes you happy? The book ‘My heart fills with happiness’ teaches kids how small things in life can bring happiness, sometimes more so than the big rewards. Holding hands of a loved one, singing, dancing or just walking barefoot on grass are as capable of making us happy as getting the latest toy.
Again, emotions and feelings are complicated to understand. It is equally important to learn and know the feeling of happiness as it is to know when you are upset and angry.
Age group: 4-6 years
Thank you so much Garima!
Garima Kushwaha is a Senior scientist at a Cancer diagnostic company in San Francisco, CA and has a PhD in Bioinformatics. She is also a children’s book enthusiast and has published a children’s book titled ‘She Can You Can’ to inspire kids with stories of 26 inspirational Indian women. (You can read the reviews of this book by our #kbcMembers here and here!)
Garima has previously written for platforms like Youth Ki Awaaz and Womens Web on issues centered on women empowerment.
[Note from Team Kids Book Café: For your convenience, affiliate links (MARKED IN PINK) to some of the books have been added to enable you to buy the books from AMAZON, should you wish to! A very small amount of money comes to kidsbookcafe.com when you purchase a book via the amazon affiliate link provided (at no extra cost to you!). Do let us know if you need information about other children’s books by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.]