A Reading List for Parents to Help Children with their Emotions

A Reading List for Parents to Help Children with their Emotions

Children feel a gamut of emotions and it can sometimes be hard to find the words to express them. This can make children feel isolated and anxious. Here is a helpful reading list that you can share with children, which will help them to come to terms with any turmoil or confusion that they may be feeling.


Angry Akku by Vinayak Varma is a story about understanding and tackling anger. Akku our protagonist is in quite a mood. Her father picks up on this quite quickly when she says the sunflowers are too yellow! Her father cajoles her into having something to drink and eat. This improves Akku's mood but only marginally. Her father then gives her a paper to draw. She draws objects and explains their role in ticking her off. More drawings later Akku is feeling more even tempered.

We loved that the story had a hands on, loving dad who was sensitive to his daughter's anger. He chose to help her let out steam constructively rather that telling her 'to behave'. This wonderful story is both an aid and a lesson to parents and caregivers that children have bad days too and they need a way to express their anger and dissatisfaction.

Angry Akku is a great story parents can read to understand how to validate a child's anger and help them find a way to come out of it. This book is the winner of the Hindu Young World Goodbook Award 2019 for Best Picture Book​.

A Reading List for Parents to Help Children with their Emotions

Read this book for free, online here: https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/12433-angry-akku.

All sorts of feelings:

What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? : Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem is a great collection of poems by Judith Viorist. The book explores the many emtions children experience at home, at school and while they are out at play.

Did you wake up this morning all smiley inside?

Does life taste like ice cream and cake?

Or does it seem more like your goldfish just died

And your insides are one great big ache?

This collection of poems has as its muse family members, school, subjects at school and other miscellaneous things that can fill a child's mind.

A verse from the titular poem reads:

When they ask you to do something, will you say yes?

Or will your answer be no?

Do you think that you get what you want– or much less?

Are you shrinking or starting to grow?

Is that person you see in the mirror a mess?

Or is that person okay?

What are you glad about?

Mad, sad, or glad about?

How are you feeling today?

A Reading List for Parents to Help Children with their Emotions


Be Still, Life is a picturebook about slowing down in a world that always seems to be on the run.

​Slow down, advices author Ohara Hale. If you do there are wonderful things to note and admire. Listen to the mice dancing, enjoy the stillness of the night and the beauty of the sunrise - you can if you are still and quiet for a while.

The drawings and bright colours are very whimsical and endearing. Ever so often we are caught up in the business of life and our children get lost in this business. Reading this book aloud to your child will help you appreciate living life in life slo-mo, and teach children that being still can be very enriching too.

A Reading List for Parents to Help Children with their Emotions


Michael Rosen's Sad Book, is a picture book that explores the sense of sadness we all feel from time to time in our life about people lost or the time that has gone by.

Rosen recognises that as an adult he often feels sad thinking about theson he lost. The sadness he says descends on him quite suddenly for no specific reason, sometimes on a bright sunny day even.

The author wishes he could speak to his mother who has passed on, when the burden gets too heavy. In her absence he turns to a therapist, who helps him process his thoughts and feelings.

The Sad Book is significant because it emphasises that sadness is a part of human life, one that has to pass through us. It is normal to feel sad and miss people or places. Sometimes it is okay to feel sad for no reason at all, too, the author reassures the reader.

A Reading List for Parents to Help Children with their Emotions

Worry and anxiety:

My Monster and Me, by Nadiya Hussain is an award winning picture book about a boy and a monster that seems to get bigger as he worries more. It feeds on his anxiety and grows larger by the day.

A very good book that encourages children to talk about their concerns with someone they trust, so that they may manage their monster.

A Reading List for Parents to Help Children with their Emotions

The following set of books can be used as a parenting tool to help children work through their feelings or develop certain qualities, which will help them understand themselves and others better.

Talking About Feelings: A book to assist adults in helping children unpack, understand and manage their feelings and emotions.

This book has a series of questions that parents can ask the children over time. The child can take their time to answer the question or choose not to answer it even. Smaller children with a limited vocabulary can point to emotional picture they relate to. It is important parents do not rush the child but use this book for meaningful conversations and to understand how the child may be feeling.

Resilience: A book to encourage resilience, persistence and to help children bounce back from challenges and adversity

Emmi is a resilient, independent and courageous child. Author Jayneen Sanders uses story and verse to talk about building resilience in the face of adversity. Resilient children are brave, curious, confident and problem solvers, all great qualities as they go through life and face a variety of situations.

You, Me and Empathy: Teaching Children about Empathy, Feelings, Kindness, Compassion, Tolerance and Recognising Bullying Behaviours

Jayneen Sanders writes about developing empathy in children in her book You, Me and Empathy. Quinn, the central character in the book is compassionate, kind and understanding towards others. Children can learn that they too can develop empathy like Quinn by practicing it on a daily basis. The book has Discussion Questions for parents, caregivers and educators, and suggested activities to promote empathy and kindness.

Get a copy of these books here:

A Reading List for Parents to Help Children with their Emotions