11 books to help you teach kids about difficult emotions

Is your child feeling anxious or angry or just a little left out? Our selection of books to teach kids about difficult emotions provides some uplift and inspiration for children, as well as guidance for their concerned parents.

07/05/2021
2 minutes to read

When children have a problem, they don't always have the language or experience to express it. Finding relatable characters in the pages of a picture book can provide comfort, as well as helping kids to find a way of expressing their own emotions. Here's our selection of the most colourful, imaginative and ingenious titles, with a range of characters – including friendly animals – to help children deal with anxiety, anger and a whole host of difficult feelings.

Baby and toddler books about difficult emotions

The Go-Away Bird

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for 9781509843572

One by one, the other birds fly into her tree, wanting to talk or to play, but the Go-Away bird just shakes her head and sends them all away. But then the dangerous Get-You bird comes along, and she soon realizes that she might need some friends after all . . . The Go-Away Bird combines brilliant rhyming verse from much-loved children’s author Julia Donaldson, creator of the bestselling picture books The Gruffalo and What the Ladybird Heard, with stunning illustrations from the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Catherine Rayner. A charming story about the power of friendship from a thrilling creative partnership, this beautiful book is perfect for reading together.

Books for 3–5-year-olds 

Coming to England

by Floella Benjamin

Book cover for 9781529009415

Follow ten-year-old Floella as she and her family set sail from the Caribbean to a new life in London. Alone on a huge ship for two weeks, then tumbled into a cold and unfriendly London, coming to England wasn't at all what Floella had expected . . . What will her new school be like? Will she meet the Queen? Filled with optimism and joy, yet deeply personal and relevant, young children will follow Floella's experiences of moving home and making friends. Alongside vibrant illustrations by Diane Ewen, this powerful story shows little people how courage and determination can always overcome adversity.

I Can Be Patient

by Campbell Books

Book cover for 9781529060720

With flaps, tabs and sliders, I Can Be Patient helps young children to understand why they have to wait and how they can develop their ability to be patient. With delightful illustrations from Marie Paruit on every page, this is the perfect book for parents and carers to share with young children who are just starting to recognize their feelings and to develop their emotional intelligence. Explanations, hints and tips from Early Years expert Dr Janet Rose will provide parents with all the extra guidance they need.

I Can Say Sorry

by Campbell Books

Book cover for 9781529060713

With flaps, tabs and sliders, I Can Say Sorry will help young children to learn when they need to say sorry – and how to say it with meaning. With delightful illustrations from Marie Paruit, this is the perfect book for parents and carers to share with young children who are just starting to recognize their feelings and to develop their emotional intelligence. Explanations, hints and tips from Early Years expert Dr Janet Rose will provide parents with all the extra guidance they need.

Sometimes I Am Worried

by Campbell Books

Book cover for 9781529023367

Sometimes I am Worried helps young children to start managing their emotions. They can lift the flaps, slide the tabs and turn the wheel to explore what a worry is, why they might worry and how they can stop their worries from becoming too big. With delightful illustrations from Marie Paruit on every page, this is the perfect book for parents and carers to share with young children who may be anxious about something and to develop their emotional intelligence. Explanations, hints and tips from Early Years expert Dr Janet Rose will provide parents with all the extra guidance they need.

Albert Talbot: Master of Disguise

by Ben Manley

Book cover for 9781509882250

Who will Albert be next? A fearless mountaineer, a brilliant mechanical engineer or a galactic megalord? Anything is possible with an imagination like Albert's as he powers through his day. As a boy, Albert is nervous in a swimming lesson, but as Zandrian Delaclair, Antarctic Submariner and slayer of vampire cuttlefish, he's as brave and bold as can be. Show and Tell in front of the whole class can be a bit scary, but by imagining himself to be Professor Octavius Pickleswick he's proud to show off his greatest invention yet.

Sometimes I Am Furious

by Timothy Knapman & illustrated by Joe Berger

Book cover for 9781509848577

Life is all fun and games when everything's going your way. But some days, suddenly, something becomes horribly UNFAIR. A melting ice cream, a too-tight t-shirt, a boy who doesn't share... it's enough to make you FURIOUS. But, as this little girl discovers, it's nothing that a deep breath, a happy song and a good cuddle can't sort out. A funny, friendly and relatable book for young children (and their parents) about emotions and how to handle them.

The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water

by Gemma Merino

Book cover for 9781447294467

Everybody knows that crocodiles love water, but this little crocodile is different. He doesn't like water at all. In fact, he prefers climbing trees! But it can be lonely when you're the odd one out, so the little crocodile tries his best to change. But being wet isn't for everyone - and a shiver soon becomes a cold and the cold becomes a sneeze, a very hot sneeze... Could it be that this little crocodile isn't a crocodile at all? 

Books for 6–8-year-olds

Attack of the Heebie Jeebies

by Tom Percival

Book cover for 9781529029154

Meet the Dream Team, turning nightmares into incredible adventures. Erika's had a bad day. But going to sleep upset means bad dreams. She finds herself stranded in the Dreamscape along with a mob of hungry Heebie Jeebies – and to make matters worse, she's being hunted by a terrifying Angermare. Enter the Dream Team! Can they help Erika overcome her worries and get home, or will she be trapped forever?  

A Case of the Jitters

by Tom Percival

Book cover for 9781529029178

Erika's friend Kris is HILARIOUS. She thinks he should perform in their school's talent show, but he's far too nervous. And when Erika gets a call from the Dream Team to help on a mission, she meets another girl who is struggling with confidence. Chanda's dream is being attacked by the jitters and nothing seems to be going right. Try as they might, the team can't get control of her dream – until Erika realizes that there is a connection between Chanda and Kris. Can she help Chanda to find some confidence before the jitters take over completely?

How to Be a Hero

by Cat Weldon

Book cover for 9781529045031

When failing trainee valkyrie Lotta mistakes an unconscious viking thief, Whetstone, for a fallen hero and takes him triumphantly to Valhalla, things are definitely not turning out to be epic or glorious. Having lost a precious talking cup, Whetstone is also desperate to cover up his mistake and the two embark on a quarrelsome journey to find it and regain their heroic status. But Loki the trickster God is desperate to get his hands on the cup with a plan to unleash chaos across the nine worlds. Can Whetstone prove himself a hero after all when it matters most?