I'm kind of an expert on childrens' novels, but not so much on picture books. So I invited my new friend, Vanessa, to do a guest post on children's books that teach empathy. She has a great website devoted to childrens' books, Silly Eagle Books. (And for certain best friends born on another continent, she even has a couple book lists about Kenya!)
Books to Help Your Toddler Understand Emotions
Hi, I'm Vanessa from Silly Eagle Books. I write about children's books and how they inspire and influence my family's everyday life. I visit the library regularly and love using picture books to teach my two daughters. If you need a children's book about a particular subject--I can probably give you a few titles. So, when Katie asked me to share some of my favorite feelings books for toddlers, I jumped at the chance! Here are the ones I've enjoyed reading with my own daughter.
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain is probably my favorite. It covers a wide range of emotions and the illustrations are powerful. Even without being able to read the words, my daughter can feel the emotion depicted on each page.
When I Feel Sad (Way I Feel Books) I also like the Way I Feel books. There is a sad, angry, scared, and jealous book. Each one is dedicated to a single emotion and helps toddlers really understand all facets of the emotion.
A really great hands-on book/toy is Little Bear's Happy Face/Sad (First Book about Feelings) by Lynn Offerman. The book comes with four bear faces that your child can insert into a space (like a puzzle piece) in the book to match little teddy bear's emotion. (For example, when he falls off his bike, they can put the sad face in the spot.) My daughter enjoyed playing with the pieces and being actively involved in the story. It made it very easy to talk about the various emotions.
A few years ago, a friend of mine who has a child with Aspergers asked me if I could recommend a book about feelings with pictures of real children (as opposed to illustrations). She said her son could not relate to the illustrations, but that pictures of real children were what he needed. I found Everybody Has Feelings by Charles E. Avery--a beautiful collection of black and white photographs that depict the moods of children. I sent her the book and she said that it was perfect.
While searching the internet, I came across these Facial Expressions Learning Cards which look like another good source of images of real children. I also like that they are cards--which allows for more hands-on learning experiences with your child.
Todd Parr Feelings Flash Cards are another option if you like illustrated images. (Added by Katie: I totally love Todd Parr's illustrations!)
Everyone loves smiley faces, but kids can also have fun exploring emotions other than happiness with this I Feel Stamp Kit from Alex Toys. If you are really feeling crafty, you can make these funny faces feeling eggs from Happy Together. I've had them on my to-make list forever.
What about you? What are your favorite books, toys, or crafts to help your child understand emotions?