Books that explore feelings for preK to 1st grade
The Most Magnificent Thing
by: Ashley Spires - (Kids Can Press, 2014) 32 pages.
A little girl wants to make something magnificent. She and her dog scheme and plan and hammer and glue, and then meet with frustration — her creation is not what she envisioned at all! If your creative child has ever had a big idea that didn’t come out the way he or she wanted, they will relate to this story of frustration and perseverance.
Perfect for: Makers and visionaries.
Find The Most Magnificent Thing at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Frustrated
by: Kevin Henkes - (Greenwillow Books, 2000) 32 pages.
Many children will relate to Wemberly, a little mouse who has many worries. Wemberly frets about faulty playground equipment at the park, whether she’ll spill grape juice on her doll Petal, and whether she’ll fit in on the first day of school. By the time the frightening day arrives, Wemberly is full of dread. At school, the teacher introduces her to another girl mouse, Jewel. Making a new friend doesn’t magically fix things, of course, but it helps — a lot. When Jewel plays with her, Wemberly still continues to worry, “But no more than usual. And sometimes even less.”
Perfect for: Getting excited about starting school.
Find Wemberly Worried at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Worried
The Salamander Room
by: Anne Mazer - (Random House Children's Books, 1991) 32 pages.
In this lovely, gentle book, a little boy finds an orange salamander in the forest and takes it home. When his mother asks, “Where will he sleep?” The boy imagines a home suitable for a salamander, transforming his bedroom into a forest glen with trees to provide shelter and stumps to play on. The story is fanciful but the message is clear: we all have a responsibility to try to understand and nurture the creatures that inhabit our world.
Find The Salamander Room at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Empathy
by: Genevieve Cote - (Kids Can Press, Limited, 2008) 32 pages.
When George tells his friends that there is an elephant in his house, no one believes him — even he begins to have doubts himself. Everyone insists that the elephant isn’t there, even as the creature flattens George’s couch and snoozes in the flowerbed. When the elephant’s trainer comes looking for the runaway animal, George is reassured that the elephant is real. A playful look at the power of peer pressure, and the importance of thinking for yourself.
Find What Elephant? at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Relieved
The Beckoning Cat
by: Koko Nishizhuka, illustrated by: Rosanne Litzinger - (Holiday House, Inc., 2009) 32 pages.
Yohei, a young boy who sells fish door to door, is very poor, but that doesn’t stop him from sharing his skimpy dinner with a bedraggled white cat. When Yohei’s father falls ill, he must figure out how to care for his father and continue selling fish. When Yohei’s father falls ill he must figure out how to care for his father and continue selling fish. The cat returns his kindness by beckoning potential customers to his door. Soon Yohei and his family are prospering. Based on a popular Japanese folktale, the story shows the power of generosity and friendship.
Find The Beckoning Cat at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Generous
The Sorely Trying Day
by: Russell Hoban, illustrated by: Lillian Hoban - (Harper & Row, Publishers, 1964) 48 pages.
When Father gets home from a difficult day at work, he finds his family in mayhem. Children and pets are squabbling. Everyone is angry but no one takes responsibility for what’s gone wrong. Even the pets get in on the blame game: when the dog scolds the cat, the cat turns on the mouse. Who’s to blame? Some of the language and illustrations in this classic are old-fashioned, but the message is timeless.
Find The Sorely Trying Day at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Blamed
by: Jane Bahk, illustrated by: Felicia Hoshino - (Lee & Low Books, Inc., 2015) 32 pages.
Juna and her best friend, Hector go on adventures and collect the treasures they find in an empty kimchi jar. One day, Hector moves away without getting the chance to say goodbye, leaving Juna sad and lonely. With the support of her older brother, Juna finds comfort in her special jar, which she dives into at night to go on adventures in search of Hector. As Juna swims the depths of the ocean and swoops over the city, she gets the chance to mourn her missing friend and make new friends. Young readers will love the chance to help Juna in her search, as there is a secret tribute to Hector hidden on every page. A moving look at friendship and loss.
Perfect for: Any child who misses a friend.
Find Juna’s Jar at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Supported
Guess How Much I Love You
by: Sam McBratney, illustrated by: Anita Jeram - (Candlewick, 2008) 24 pages.
How do you say “I love you” at bedtime? As evening approaches and Big Nutbrown Hare gets ready to tuck Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves, each tells the other how much he loves him. As high as I can hop! As wide as I can reach! The two long-eared hares bound around the forest finding ways to describe their love in the river, mountains, and sky. The soothing story of their sweet bedtime ritual has been translated into 53 languages.
Perfect for: Celebrating your bedtime ritual.
Find Guess How Much I Love You at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Loved
A Chair for My Mother
by: Vera B. Williams - (Greenwillow Books, 1982) 32 pages.
Little Rosa doesn’t miss much. She is particularly perceptive about the adults in her close-knit family who work hard and don’t complain. After a fire destroys all the furniture in her home, Rosa’s mother is left without a place to relax after work. Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins to buy her mother, “a wonderful, beautiful, fat, soft armchair.” Little Rosa is as eager as ever to get her mom her much-needed easy chair.
Find A Chair for My Mother at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Eager
Ira Sleeps Over
by: Bernard Waber - (Houghton Mifflin, 1972) 48 pages.
When Reggie invites Ira for his first sleepover, the boy is over the moon — until his sister asks (with older sisterly malice) if he plans to bring his teddy bear. Ira always sleeps with his beloved bear, Tah Tah. He’s embarrassed to bring the stuffie &mash; but also worried about not bringing him. “Reggie will laugh,” his sister tells him. “He won’t laugh,” his parents say. In the end Ira decides for himself, and learns he made the right choice.
Perfect for: Kids who like humor stories.
Find Ira Sleeps Over at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Embarrassed
Yoko Writes Her Name
by: Rosemary Wells - (Hyperion Books for Children, 2008) 32 pages.
When Yoko writes her name on the first day of school, she proudly writes in Japanese. But her classmates call her writing scribble. “She won’t graduate from kindergarten!” they tell each other gleefully. At first, Yoko is hurt and doesn’t want to go back to school. But in the end, her classmates realize they have a lot to learn, and that Yoko can help them. Readers will get a lesson on tolerance. Plus, the book has common words on the corner of each page in English and Japanese.
Perfect for: Kids learning how to make friends and get along with others in school.
Find Yoko Writes Her Name at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Hurt
by: Mary Hoffman, illustrated by: Caroline Binche - (Penguin Young Readers Group, 1991) 32 pages.
Grace loves stories and play-acting. So when she learns that her class will put on the play, Peter Pan, she’s thrilled. Grace is determined to win the lead role. But her classmates inform her that she can’t play Peter Pan because she’s a girl and she’s black. With encouragement from her family, she practices all weekend, aces the audition, and gets the part.
Perfect for: Kids who like to challenge the odds.
Find Amazing Grace at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Thrilled
Julius, the Baby of the World
by: Kevin Henkes - (Greenwillow Books, 1990) 32 pages.
Before her baby brother was born, Lilly was a doting big sister: she sang songs to him and told him secrets. But when her parents bring Julius home, Lilly decides “Babies are dreadful.” But when her cousin echoes her disdain for the baby, Lilly’s loyalty and love get the better of her jealousy.
Perfect for: Kids who like humor stories.
Find Julius, the Baby of the World at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Jealous
by: Patricia Polacco - (Philomel Books, 1990) 32 pages.
A little girl is so frightened by an impending thunderstorm that she runs and hides under a bed. Her grandmother comforts her by promising to make Thunder Cake. As the storm gets closer, the girl and her grandmother get busy preparing the cake, and the girl realizes that storms aren’t so scary after all. The book, based on the author’s own experience as a child on her grandmother’s Michigan farm, includes a recipe for the special cake.
Find Thunder Cake at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Fearful
by: Sarah Stewart, illustrated by: David Small - (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1997) 40 pages.
During the Great Depression, poverty forces Lydia Grace Finch’s family to send her to the city to stay with her grumpy Uncle Jim, a baker. In her suitcase she brings seeds and bulbs from her family’s farm, and the flowers she grows brighten Uncle Jim’s bakery — but not his mood. Lydia hopes that her secret project, a rooftop garden, will make Uncle Jim happy once and for all. The story is told through Lydia’s short letters, which express her appreciation for life, even during the toughest of times.
Perfect for: Kids who are optimistic or need to see optimism.
Find The Gardener at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Ecstatic
The Kissing Hand
by: Audrey Penn, illustrated by: Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak - (Child & Family Press, 1993) 32 pages.
School is about to start and Chester, a small raccoon, is afraid. He tells his mother he doesn’t want to go to school and wants to stay home with her. So she tells him about a family secret about the kissing hand — and it makes school as cozy as home. A sweet, reassuring story that shows kids how to comfort themselves and reminds them that no matter where they are, their parents love them.
Perfect for: Kids who worry.
Find The Kissing Hand at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Terrified
How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad?
by: Jane Yolen, illustrated by: Mark Teague - (The Blue Sky Press, 2013) 40 pages.
When kids get frustrated, they can feel like there is a prehistoric beast inside of them! That’s why this book, part of a series about young impulsive dinosaurs with human families and human surroundings, is so appealing. These dinosaurs start out behaving delightfully badly. Imagine a velociraptor throwing a tantrum in the living room! But as the rhyming story progresses, they learn how to stay calm and behave politely. Future paleontologists will love these books for the detailed illustrations of real dinosaurs, with their names included on each page.
Perfect for: Kids who love dinosaurs.
Find How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? at your local library.
Feeling word explored: Frustrated