From frustration to fear: 11 books to help you teach kids difficult emotions

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

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

No More Tantrums

by Marie Kyprianou

Book cover for No More Tantrums

A normally loveable toddler is having a very bad and angry day . . . see how she deals with these feelings with the help of her family. The stormy drama of Mabel's trip to the park comes alive with flaps and mechanics as well as charming illustrations. Plus on each page there are tips for parents and carers endorsed by The Good Play Guide and leading Early Years Consultant Dr Amanda Gummer. 

Books to help 3–5-year-olds with difficult emotions

Sometimes I Just WON'T

Book cover for Sometimes I Just WON'T

Life as a toddler can be tricky. Sometimes you are pleased to put you coat on, you are happy to share and you jump right into your bath. But there are days when you just WON'T! With a little gentleness and encouragement though, you might be persuaded that the thing you won't do can be the thing you love. With bouncy rhyming text and vivd illustrations, this look at child autonomy is also a guide to negotiating strong emotions.

Sometimes I Am Furious

by Timothy Knapman

Book cover for Sometimes I Am Furious

Sometimes I Am Furious is a funny and reassuring story from bestselling team Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger about how difficult it can be when you are – and have – a toddler. Life can be sweet, but then out of the blue things feel really UNFAIR. Your ice cream melts, your T-shirt is too tight, a friend won't share. It makes you FURIOUS! But, as one small girl finds out, a deep breath, cheerful song and a good cuddle can really help.

Sometimes I Am Angry

by Campbell Books

Book cover for Sometimes I Am Angry

Sometimes I am Angry helps young children to start to navigate their own emotions. They can lift  flaps, slide  tabs and turn a wheel to find out what anger is, why it flares up and how they can calm it. With engaging illustrations by Marie Paruit on each page, this is an ideal book for parents and carers to share with young kids who are experiencing anger. Further notes and tips from Early Years expert Dr Janet Rose give parents additional guidance.

Books to help 6–8-year-olds with difficult emotions

Erika and the Angermare

by Tom Percival

Book cover for Erika and the Angermare

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?