Books That Teach Kids Social-Emotional Intelligence

17 Books That Teach Kids Social-Emotional Intelligence: Empathy, Growth Mindset, Feelings, Self-Regulation and more!

Homeschooling a hyper ADHD boy, I often feel overwhelmed and drained, as if there is infinitely more to accomplish than there are hours in a day, as if I am living in a perpetual fog of “to-dos” as I run-around putting out the “fires” behind my son. As a hyper ADHD boy with low executive functioning skills, I’m fairly certain my son feels disproportionately inadequate, that adults expect too much of him, that he can’t do much “right”, and he lives in a nagging fear of “getting in trouble”; all of which lead to embarrassment, shame, and lowered-self esteem.

When I find our family leaning too far towards the serious, less-optimistic, nagging side of life, I remind myself to check in with our learning priorities. When frustrations flair, I shift our learning focus to the non-academic growth areas, especially social-emotional intelligence. Books that teach kids social-emotional intelligence have been a great starting point and ongoing learning tool in our family. I believe these books are just as much a reminder for me as they are for my son.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission should you click through and make a purchase. This in no way impacts your cost nor my recommendation of any products or services.

Books That Teach Kids Social-Emotional Intelligence

Below are some of the books we have been reading to help in this non-academic area of Our Home Learning. What books do you enjoy for helping children with Social-Emotional Intelligence concepts? Are there any you’d suggest adding to this list?

Books That Help Kids Understand Emotions and Feelings

The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions by Ana Llenas: One day, Color Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad, and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through color. As this adorable monster learns to sort and define his mixed-up emotions, he gains self-awareness and peace as a result. Everyone will enjoy sharing this concept book that taps into both socio-emotional growth and color concepts in a simple, friendly way.

What Should Danny Do by Adir Levy: With 9 Stories in 1, the fun never ends! What Should Danny Do? is an innovative, interactive book that empowers kids with the understanding that their choices will shape their days, and ultimately their lives into what they will be. Written in a “Choose Your Own Story” style, the book follows Danny, a Superhero-in-Training, through his day as he encounters choices that kids face on a daily basis. As your children navigate through the different storylines, they will begin to realize that their choices for Danny shaped his day into what it became. And in turn, their choices for themselves will shape their days, and ultimately their lives, into what they will be.

How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath: Felix begins to see how every interaction in a day either fills or empties his bucket. Felix then realizes that everything he says or does to other people fills or empties their buckets as well.

Follow along with Felix as he learns how easy it can be to fill the buckets of his classmates, teachers and family members. Before the day is over, you’ll see how Felix learns to be a great bucket filler, and in the process, discovers that filling someone else’s bucket also fills his own.

Even Superheros Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker: All kids have trouble getting a grip on their emotions, sometimes—even young superheroes! But what do they do when they’re having a bad day? Colorful action-packed illustrations and a dynamite rhyming text reveal the many ways superheroes (and ordinary children, too) can resist the super-temptation to cause a scene when they’re sad, mad, frustrated, lonely, or afraid. From burning off steam on a bike or a hike, to helping others, this energetic picture book has plenty of fun ideas to help kids cope when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Books That Help Kids Understand ADHD And Executive-Functioning Skills

My Whirling, Twirling Motor by Merriam Saunders: Charlie feels like he has a whirling, twirling motor running inside him all the time, and sometimes he just can’t settle. When his mom wants to talk to him, he figures he’s in trouble…but she has a surprise for him instead! Includes a Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers with more information on ADHD, behavior management, and helping children focus on the positives.

All Dogs Have ADHD by Kathy Hoopman: This delightful revised edition of All Dogs Have ADHD takes an inspiring and affectionate look at Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). With all-new images from the canine world, it explores a variety of traits that will be instantly recognizable to those who are familiar with ADHD. Charming color photographs of dogs bring to life familiar ADHD characteristics such as being restless and excitable, getting easily distracted, and acting on impulse. It combines humor with understanding to reflect the difficulties and joys of raising a child with ADHD and celebrates what it means to be considered ‘different’.

But It’s Not My Fault by Julia Cook: This first book in the new Responsible Me! series, follows Noodle through a very rough day at school. It just isn’t his fault that his brother’s game ran late and he didn’t finish his homework. Or that his mom forgot to remind him to turn in his library book. Or that Mary Gold got in his airspace and hit his arm with her head…

Join Noodle on his journey as he learns not to blame others or try to find fault; but instead practices accepting responsibility, and turns his very rough day into a very good NEW day! Tips for parents, counselors, and teachers are included.

Baxter Turns Down His Buzz by James M Foley: Every child can benefit from learning strategies that teach them to be more mindful of their surroundings and to regulate their behavior. Children who have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may especially benefit from learning these skills.
Baxter Turns Down His Buzz is the story of a high-energy rabbit who learns to control his activity level. Baxter was the fastest bunny in the forest. His mind buzzed with thoughts and his body wanted to zoom! But sometimes he lost control of his buzz and his zoom, like when he rammed into the raccoons during the annual forest race. His uncle Barnaby guides Baxter through the steps necessary to “turn down his buzz” through behavioral strategies like mindfulness, progressive relaxation, and visualization.

Books that emphasize compassion, empathy, and kindness

I Am Human by Susan Verde: Being human means we are full of possibility. We learn, we dream, we wonder at the world around us. But we also make mistakes and can feel fearful or sad. I Am Human affirms that we can make good choices by acting with compassion and having empathy for others and ourselves. When we find common ground, we can feel connected to the great world around us and mindfully strive to be our best selves.

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller: When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering: What does it mean to be kind?

Thank You Omu! by Oge Mora: Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu’s stew, with an extra serving of love. An author’s note explains that “Omu” (pronounced AH-moo) means “queen” in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean “Grandma.” This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora’s life.

Last Stop On Market Street by Matt De La Pena: This Newbery Medal-winning book follows a boy and his grandmother as they witness beauty, kindness, and joy on the bus on their way to spread their own kind of kindness at a local soup kitchen.

Books that foster a growth mindset and self-esteem

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires: Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. She gets mad and quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.

What To Do With A Problem by Kobi Yamada: This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn’t so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared.

What Do You Do With a Problem? is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It’s a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it’s here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem… and yourself.

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey: For the Seven Oaks friends, there is always something to do. Whether they’re singing along with Pokey Porcupine’s harmonica or playing soccer with Jumper Rabbit, everyone is having fun and learning all sorts of things. These seven stories show how practicing the 7 Habits makes this possible for the whole Seven Oaks Community.

My son loves this book and I just discovered the Ready-To-Read collection with the same Seven Oaks friends featured in different stories.

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett: Beatrice Bottomwell has NEVER (not once!) made a mistake. She never forgets her math homework, she never wears mismatched socks, and she ALWAYS wins the yearly talent show at school. In fact, the entire town calls her The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes! One day, the inevitable happens: Beatrice makes a huge mistake in front of everyone! But in the end, readers (and perfectionists) will realize that life is more fun when you enjoy everything—even the mistakes.

Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak, PhD: Educator and psychologist Dr. JoAnn Deak offers a fun and engaging introduction to the anatomy and functions of the brain that will empower each young reader to S-T-R-E-T-C-H and grow their fantastic, elastic brain!

Looking for award-winning picture books for curious kids? Your Fantastic Elastic Brain is the perfect fit. Dr. Deak shares information in ways that are accessible for parents, teachers, and children alike.

What are your favorite ways to teach social-emotional intelligence? We would love to hear from fellow elementary home learners!


How To Start Homeschooling in 2021
Our Relaxed Hom
eschool Curriculum
Educational Board Games We Play

11 Family Read Alouds For Elementary Learners And Their Parents
Homeschool Books That Will Change How You Homeschool
10 Ways To Help Your Child Effectively Set Priorities And Manage Their Time
7 Types of ADD
Nutrition and ADD
7 Ways I Help My ADHD Son Prepare For Sleep
Your Home Based Learning Road Map

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *