This post is all about the best books about feelings for toddlers.
25 Best Books About Feelings For Toddlers
Help your little one navigate through their big emotions with the support of books about feelings for toddlers.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I might earn a small commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
What are the best books about feelings for toddlers?
One thing is certain, toddlers experience big emotions and have temper tantrums. That’s perfectly normal. It’s us parents and caregivers who can help them weather the storm, lead by example and teach them how to cope with their loud and soft emotions in a healthy way. Books about feelings for toddlers can be a great introduction to the world of feelings and moods for little ones.
All the kids I’ve taken care of as an Au Pair (for 5 years total!) as well as my own two-year-old now, absolutely love books. I’ve been to the children’s section of multiple libraries countless times and have read more kids’ books than I have anything else.
I can confidently, from the top of my head recommend books for kids on various topics.
In this post, I put together a selection of 25 best books about feelings for toddlers.
Best Books About Feelings For Toddlers, Examples By Category
Before we move on to the full list and short book reviews, here’s a quick selection by category in case you’re looking for something specific.
A great introduction to feelings, toddler-friendly explanations:
For the youngest:
Real photographs of facial expressions representing emotions:
Some of the most engaging books about feelings for toddlers:
How Do You Feel? By Lizzy Rockwell
Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney
Mentioning the biggest spectrum of emotions:
Most beautiful and interesting design:
Featuring a boy (main) character:
Featuring a girl (main) character:
Best about temper tantrums and calming down:
Calm-Down Time by Elizabeth Verdick
25 Best Books About Feelings
For Toddlers & Little Kids
Before we begin, just one last thing. Please take the age range with a grain of salt, every parent might have a different opinion on that one and various different online bookstores also show different age ranges. It all depends on the child, I think. If you’ve talked to your child about emotions since they were very little, a 22-month-old might be ready for some of the books supposedly meant for 3+ year-olds. Same as a 5-year-old who can’t manage their emotions in a positive way yet or just recently became interested in books can benefit from a book that was put in the category for 1-4-year-olds.
Ok, so this book basically tells your kid in a child-appropriate way what you’re trying to explain to him or her. It talks about what feelings and emotions are, that it’s important to express them, how our body feels when we’re experiencing them, and how we can manage them in a positive, healthy way.
The feelings described are anger, fear, sadness, joy, disgust, and surprise.
I find this book talks about feelings in a very healthy way, normalizing them, encouraging kids to express them, and asking for support when they feel “too much”. Plus it’s a bit of a cheat sheet for parents. The simple phrases in which all that is explained are definitely great ones for parents to keep in mind and repeat to their children.
“Telling people about your emotions let’s them know how you feel.”
“ When you’re happy your body feels light and warm. You might smile, clap, and say “Hooray!” What makes you happy?”
“When emotions feel too big, tell a grown-up. They can help you!”
“We don’t feel happy all the time.”
“Not getting what you want might make you feel angry. This emotion helps us relieve stress. Instead of getting loud, try talking nicely. “
Age range: 2-5
A very visual book, showing photos of human facial expressions versus abstract drawings of emotions. It can definitely be a great conversations starter about feelings for you and your toddler. It will also help your child recognize other people’s feelings.
In this book feelings are shown through photographs of 3 different kids expressing a particular emotion with a simple, short text saying for instance “We feel angry at times and loving other times.”
Age range: 1-4
The girls I took care of while being an Au Pair absolutely loved this book about feelings for toddlers and I highly recommend it.
A charming book exploring a lot of our feelings and emotions. Therefore, it’s great if you want to help you child understand and express a wide variety of emotions. It’s not focusing on a particular feeling, like some of the other books mentioned in this post are.
It starts with “My heart is full of feelings. Big feeling and small feelings.”
The books describes feeling happy, brave, mad, calm, broken, sad, hopeful, afraid, silly, shy, and proud.
The design with the cut-out heart in the middle makes it extra special and interesting for young kids.
The character in this book is a girl hence the only downside of this book might be that it will speak more to girls than it does to boys. However, in my opinion, the colorful cut-out hearts are the center of attention, not the black-and-white drawings of the girl.
In this book, feelings are named and described in a beautiful and almost poetic way, which in my option, makes the book more suitable for “older” toddlers rather than the youngest ones. Or at least for kids who are already familiar with the concept of emotions and talking about feelings is not that new to them. It’s just more creative and detailed than some other, more simple books mentioned in this post.
“Sometimes my heart feels like a big yellow star, shiny and bright.
I smile from ear to ear and twirl around so fast,
I feel as if I could take off into the sky.
This is when my heart is happy.”
Age range: 2-7
A colorful and silly book for toddlers about moods and feelings.
It features kids’ or kid-like drawings and consists of one sentence per page.
“Sometimes I feel like making mudpies”
“Sometimes I feel cranky”
It simply mentions a mood or a feeling, it doesn’t go deeper by giving examples or trying to describe a certain emotion. But it will definitely make your kiddo giggle.
Hence, this could be a perfect book to start introducing the names of feelings to your child and encourage them to talk about their moods.
Age range: 1-3
A very colorful book about emotions. Each two-page spread focuses on a different feeling.
The feelings mentioned are silly, scared, disappointed, happy, sad, angry, thankful, frustrated, shy, bored, excited, jealous, and proud.
There is no emphasis on one feeling over the other, they all simply just are. The book ends with the following phrase “Feelings come and feelings go. I never know what they’ll be. Silly or angry, happy or sad- They are all a part of me!”.
The illustrations are very vibrant and portray the feelings described quite well.
Age range: 2-6
A very colorful and engaging pop-up book about feelings for toddlers. It’s telling a story about a monster and his mixed-up feelings.
Described are happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and calm plus one extra pop-up picture portraying another feeling, which the reader is supposed to guess.
This really is a piece of art and I suggest you read it with your toddler so he or she won’t rip the intricate pop-up pictures apart.
I feel like it being such a visual, vibrant pop-up book will really help your child remember the emotion described.
Age range: 2-5
A book of feelings for toddlers featuring various animals.
The book is written in the first person. The author pairs different emotions with animals, saying for instance “On BEAR days I go lumbering, feelings o big and strong. No matter what the day might bring, I feel I could do anything”.
The pictures are bright and colorful, nonetheless quite minimalistic as most pages consist of a solid colored background with one drawing of an animal, representing the day’s mood or feeling.
The following feelings are mentioned: wild, fierce, feeling (acting) slow and fast, shy, big, strong, sad, silly, full of rage, stubborn, brave, loud and bright, and love.
“Who will I be tomorrow? How will I feel inside? I guess you’ll have to wait and see which animal comes out in me.”
Age range: 2-5
8. Find Out About: Feelings by Pat-a-Cake
One of the most engaging books about feelings for toddlers.
A colorful and engaging lift-the-flap board book for toddlers.
First, a short story is told about a child. The next page is the “flap” page where the question is being asked, “how do you feel that person felt?”. So there’s a drawing of a head, where the face area is the “flap” giving the reader the option of choosing between two facial expressions and therefore two feelings.
For instance, it talks about a boy named Sam who was playing with his friends, who got ice cream, etc. and then the feelings one can choose between are happy or sad.
Feelings mentioned are: happy, sad, nervous, calm, disgusted, delighted, frightened, brave, feeling well, poorly, embarrassed, proud, angry, and pleased.
Age range: 0-3
A set of books about feelings for toddlers.
A collection of five colorful board books covering the following:
– How Am I Feeling?
– I Feel Happy
– I Feel Angry
– I Feel Sad– I Feel Proud
Age range: 3-5
Book with lots of colorful drawings showing kids in various scenarios, mentioning the following feelings: bold, mad, happy, sad, hopeful, tired, frustrated, inspired, excited, nervous, scared, prepared, hopeless, low, and feeling like wanting to quit.
The book is focused on ways to express feelings and to cope with them, rather than on explaining or describing them. Therefore, it would be good for the child to either already know what those feelings mean or for the parent/teacher to explain further and maybe give some examples.
“I have big feelings. You have them too. How can I help? What can we do?”
Age range: 4-8
A charming, interactive, and humorous board book about feelings and moods.
Different animals represent different emotions. The author asks the reader for instance “Are you happy as a hippo or angry as a duck?”.
The following feelings are mentioned: happy, angry, sad, grumpy, excited, worried, contented, amused, and confused. The feelings are not further described.
I really like the illustrations as they’re colorful yet not overwhelming. Most pages have a white or a solid-colored background with just a drawing of the described animal or animals representing a given mood.
“And a difficult mood is not here to stay. Everyone’s moods will change day to day.”
Age range: 0-3
This is no doubt a perfect book about feelings for young kids. It is a very colorful, interactive, straightforward, illustration-focused book.
Every two pages focus on one emotion. On the right side, we have a picture displaying a situation, a child doing or seeing something that makes them feel a certain way. On the left side, we have just one big illustration of that kid’s face portraying a certain emotion. There’s a single question below “Do you feel…?” (for instance sad, mad).
It’s great for kids to learn what kind of emotions we can experience in what situations and what facial expressions may show those feelings. Here, the input of the parent/teacher is important as there is no storyline written down. It’s good to describe to the child what is happening in each picture and how that situation can cause someone to feel a certain way.
The feelings mentioned in this book are happy, sad, silly, mad, sorry, scared, calm, shy, and friendly.
Age range: 0-4
Ok, I need to mention some books by Mo Willems. The whole collection was an absolute hit with the kids I took care as an Au Pair. We were always on the lookout for new book series in the library and man were we excited when we found that one. I must admit it quickly became one of my favorites to read to the kids and I was at least as excited as they were whenever we found another book by Mo Willems. Anyway…
The book has very little text that is accompanied by quite minimal and simplistic illustrations, so at first, you might think it’s a book for the youngest ones. However, you will be positively surprised by how witty, fun, and unexpected the stories turn out to be. So much so, that the actual joke or resolution might not be understood by young kids.
This particular book talked about feeling sad and happy (or rather showing a happy or sad face) so it can be a conversation started about feelings for kids of any age. I also think that it can grow with a child. In the sense that, at first, your toddler might enjoy it for the drawing and the character, and as they get older they will understand the storyline better and enjoy reading the books all over again.
If you’re trying to actually teach your child about their feelings, how to talk about them, and how to positively manage them. This is not the book you’re looking for. However, I do recommend it to anyone, anyway. You will enjoy it as an adult for sure and there will be a time and place when your child will love it too.
Age range: 3-100+
Another one by Mo Willems. In this one, the focus definitely lies on the drawings so it might speak more to younger kids.
It’s about two friends, a piggy and an elephant. The elephant is sad and so piggy is trying various funny things to cheer his friend up and make him happy. Piggy’s attempts are portrayed in a humorous way through drawings and they’re sure to make your kiddo giggle.
However, once again in just a few words the story takes twists and turns and is humorous in a way that the youngest audience will not be able to grasp.
Age range: 4-100+
Yes, you have guessed it. This book is about feeling grumpy.
It has a continuous storyline and does not mention one feeling after another as many other books on this list do. So if you’re looking for a book for a toddler who wakes up grumpy on occasion (like we all do), this one is for you.
It’s a story about friendship and how with good company we can have fun again and even forget that we were grumpy in the first place.
It’s not a deep book teaching kids about feelings, yet it’s a cute story that can be a fun way of making your toddler a little less grumpy.
Age range: 2-5
As made clear in the title the character of this book is a boy, which is quite refreshing.
He struggles with experiencing a lot of big, negative feelings, which at this point are described, not named. Eventually, he meets a little girl who is experiencing the same feelings saying that sometimes she feels sad. The boy is pleasantly surprised that he’s not the only one feeling like that and that’s when he says he feels sad, silly, and mad at times.
The book teaches kids that feeling big feelings affects all of us, that they are not alone, and that they can express their emotions.
Spoiler alert quote:
“ The two became pals who shared their big hearts, not feeling they had to pretend when they needed to cry or laugh big and loud, since feelings have helped make them friends!”.“Emotions might feel big and scary sometimes, but that is no reason to hide them!”
The book has quite a lot of text compared to other books on this list so it’s best for kids who are already able to focus on and understand longer stories.
Age range: 3-7
A classic. The beloved Llama Llama book series.
I guess most of you are very familiar with this book, but if you’re not here’s a quick summary. This book focuses on feeling mad and to be more precise it’s about a toddler tantrum at a grocery store. Llama Llama gets whiny, wants to go, gets mad, and makes a mess. Mama Llama stays calm, shows love, and decides to switch the mood around by making the experience more fun for Llama Llama. It’s about teamwork and going through a tantrum together, with love.
The book features beautiful drawings and is written in rhyme.
In my opinion, it can be fun and helpful for kids of all ages.
Age range: 2-5
Cute, and simple, with little text, perfect for the youngest ones. It’s a very colorful yet minimal book about a monkey going through big feelings. It teaches kids how to cope with a meltdown, with feeling sad and angry.
The monkey dropped his ice cream and feels sad, mad, and angry. Then we read the lines “Calm down little monkey. It’s okay to cry.”, “Come down little monkey. Cuddle with your blankie.” etc.
Different coping techniques for calming down are proposed to the monkey until he in fact calms down and has fun again.
Every two pages feature one big picture of the monkey feeling a certain way, (on a solid colored background), plus one to two sentences. It’s a short, straightforward story.
Age range: 1-3
A colorful book about feelings for toddlers written in the first person. It gives very practical tips on how to calm down.
A child expresses how he/she is feeling.
“Sometimes I start to scream and shout. I want to get my feelings out”.
Then the mom says it’s “calm-down time” and proposes breathing as a coping technique.
Next, the kid is explaining what they can do to deal with their feelings and how to calm down, several examples are given.
“I might say ‘hug me please’, or ‘hold me please’.”
At the end of the book, you’ll find additional calm-down tips for parents and caregivers.
Age range: 1-3
Kids experience a wide spectrum of big emotions. They sure can get mad and think something isn’t fair. This is what the bear in this book is going through as well.
Definitely a book for the little ones. There is little text and the sentences are short. At times it’s just one or two words per page. The illustrations are colorful and perfectly show what the bear is going through.
The story takes us through an entire “cycle of emotions”. From getting upset, and having a temper tantrum, to using coping techniques to calm down, to eventually feeling better and having fun again.
Age range: 0-8
A charming read-aloud picture book about joy, the relationship between parent and child, and how a hug and a kiss can make us feel better again.
The little kitten is playing with her favorite toy, but then she falls down and is sad. The mommy comes to comfort her and says:
“I think you’re going to be just fine. Give yourself a little time. Now, look at me. Are you alright? Did you get a little fright?”
Yes, toddlers have temper tantrums and need our help to navigate their big emotions. Yet toddlers are also extremely playful, and we can often make them feel better just by being present.
This sweet read-aloud book is a great reminder of that for both the child and the parent.
Age range: 3-6
One of the sweetest board books about feelings for toddlers and for the youngest audience.
On every page there’s an illustration and one adjective describing how duck and goose are feelings in the given situation.
The feelings mentioned are hopeful, selfish, proud, frustrated, scared, patient, sad, happy, angry, and loving.
Let’s be honest most kids younger than two years old don’t want you to actually read a book. They like to flip the pages and oftentimes want you to briefly tell them what’s happening in the picture. 2+ year olds may listen to a short story but are still more interested in a dialouge with you. This book gives you the chance to show your kid what feelings can look like. It’s beautifully illustrated.
Age range: 0-3
A colorful, simple, and amusing board book about feeling happy and feeling sad.
On every two-page spread, there are two illustrations of a baby, one showing a situation that makes the baby sad and one that makes the baby happy. There is no text other than “baby sad” and “baby happy” (and the occasional “boom” or “splat”).
Keep in mind that the examples given are not always so…well, exemplary. Such as that being dirty makes the baby happy versus taking a bath makes the baby sad.
The illustrations are easy for young kids to decipher so they’ll definitely have a lot of fun with this book. And that’s why I’d recommend it, for the entertainment factor, not as a great educational tool.
Age range: 0-3
Just ordered this one for my almost two-year-old as he just entered the phase of using his hands for hitting and teeth for the occasional shoulder bite.
A beautifully illustrated, colorful board book that teaches young kids what hands are meant to do, such as “Hands are for greeting and communicating.”, as well as what they are not for “Hands are not for hitting. Hitting isn’t friendly.”
It also explains why people might hit, that there’s a feeling behind it. Someone might feel sad, jealous, angry, or scared. And that there are better ways to express those feelings and the book tells us what they are.
In general, there’s quite a bit of text and many examples. This is great, but a two-year-old might not want to sit and listen to you read the whole book in one sitting. However, the language is very young-kid-friendly so you can read it to them part by part and they will understand the points conveyed in the book.
It’s also a great resource for parents (like myself) whose kiddo just entered a hitting phase. We can definitely use the examples given in this book to help our kids learn that hands are not for hitting. But even more so it’s a great reminder to be patient with your child and to go beyond saying “don’t hit”. It’s important to acknowledge your child’s feelings and help them find healthy ways to express them.
Age range: 2-5
That’s another must-have for toddlers from the best behavior book series, like the book we just talked about (#24).
This time, this sturdy, vibrant book explains to young readers what teeth are meant for and what not. Why they might want to bite someone and how they can express their feelings in a healthier and friendlier way. A child might bite when they feel tired, frustrated, angry, hungry, bored, cranky, or distressed.
I’ve included both books (#24 & #25) on this list of the best books about feelings for toddlers as they’re perfect for explaining to kids that there are certain feelings behind their actions. That it’s ok to feel a certain way and that there are positive ways to express those emotions.
Age range: 2-5
25 Best Books About Feelings For Toddlers