Books about feelings for children

Helping to start a conversation with your child

If you have children you probably spend lots of time talking with them – about their day at kindy or school, answering questions about the world or debating what to have for dinner. Most of these discussions happen naturally, but conversations about feelings often require more thought and attention.

Little children can have big emotions and even as your child grows they may find it hard to describe how they’re feeling. Reading books together about feelings is a great way to start a conversation – we’ve picked a few of our favourites to share with you:

My many coloured days

Written by Dr Seuss
Paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Published: 20 August 1996

This book, published after the author died, is simple and colourful and helps children associate colours with feelings: “On purple days I’m sad. I groan. I drag my tail. I walk alone”. A great book to help younger children start to describe how they’re feeling.

You can read a review on the Good Reads website

Written by Jo Witek
Illustrated by Christine Roussey
Published: 1 October 2014

This is a good book for younger children to learn more about their feelings. Readers will love the heart cut-out on each page that changes with each new emotion. Writing such as “When I get really angry, my heart feels as if it’s going to explode! Don’t come near me! My heart is yelling, hot and loud. This is when my heart is mad”, can help children to visualise their feelings.

You can read a review on the Good Reads website

Feel a little – little poems about big feelings

Written by Jenny Palmer
Illustrated by Evie Kemp
Published: 26 February 2017

A lovely book filled with 14 colourful characters and poems about feeling sad, happy, curious and more. This is a great book to read aloud to younger children and older children may enjoy reading it on their own.

Read a review on the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand website

The feel brave books

The Wolf Is Not Invited
The Grand Wolf
The Wolf and the Shadow Monster
The Wolf’s Colourful Coat
The Wolf and the Baby Dragon

Written by Avril McDonald
Illustrated by Tatiana Minima

This collection of five beautifully written and illustrated books focuses on a young wolf named Wolfgang who finds himself in different situations that cause him to feel a range of emotions such as scared, sad and worried. Each book is written to help children learn from real life situations and offers some simple coping strategies.

You can find the full collection on the Feel Brave website

Wilma Jean the worry machine

Written by Julia Cook
Illustrated by Anita DuFalla
Published: 15 January 2012

Wilma Jean the Worry Machine follows Wilma as she encounters lots of “what if” moments during her day. The book is aimed at primary school children dealing with anxiety and offers practical tools for children to feel more in control of their anxiety and helpful strategies for parents.

Read a review on the Good Reads website

What to do when you worry too much: a kid’s guide to overcoming anxiety

Written by Dawn Hueber
Illustrated by Bonnie Matthews
Published: 1 September 2005

This is an interactive self-help book designed for 6–12-year-olds living with anxiety. It offers children and parents some cognitive-behavioural techniques and provides metaphors to explain difficult concepts.

Read more about this book on the author's website

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.