Call me old school, but I love children’s books. Some of life’s most complex topics can be easily understood through a well-written children’s book. It’s never too early for kids to start developing good thinking habits, have a sense of self-worth, and some might also need to learn how to process anxiety and grief. Storybooks give them a platform to explore these ideas, process big feelings, and understand themselves and their world a little more.
We’ve carefully curated these five delightful books for kids aged 5 and up. We’ve included links to the Read Aloud Videos for each so that you can vet through before purchasing. You’ll be able to find most of them on Book Depository. Just click on the title for the link.
Ready? Here we go!
By Libby Walden
Explore a world of emotions with this stunning peep-through picture book. Richard Jones’ enchanting illustrations and the lyrical text make each and every feeling come to life to help children understand the emotions they experience.
“Feelings is a beautifully presented book. On each page, a separate emotion is detailed. Softly coloured multi-part illustrations are visually interesting, and a cut-out section of each page lets the reader peek through to see an image of a young child. The general message that everyone has feelings and that we should attempt to understand one another is a good one.” – A Good Reads Review
Why we love it: Great illustrations of course. The author uses imagery to help describe certain feelings with colours, patterns, and elements around us. This might be useful for children who may not have the vocabulary to express the intricacies of their emotions as they can use the same examples given in this book. It also reminds children to be mindful that other people have feelings too and hopefully in doing so, they will learn to care for the mental health and emotional wellbeing of their peers.
2. I Am Enough
by Grace Byers
A #1 New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Choice Awards picture book winner! This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation. This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo. We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.
“I Am Enough is a picture book of girl empowerment. The illustrations are diverse; representing girls from all walks of life. I’m not sure if the poem will resonate with everyone, but the last seven pages are meaningful. This book teaches self-respect, respect for others and kindness.” – A Good Reads Review
Why we love it: It uses simple but creative ways to describe how we might pick out positive attributes or characteristics from nature and people around us. It sparks imagination, and encourages children to appreciate what is around them for more than what meets the eye. It also paints a very real picture of everyday struggles and how we might overcome them one step at a time, which may contribute to building resilience and confidence in a child.
By Patrice Karst
Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they’re all connected by an invisible string. “That’s impossible!” the children insist, but still they want to know more: “What kind of string?” The answer is the simple truth that binds us all: An Invisible String made of love. This heartwarming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us, and opens up deeper conversations about love.
“A wonderful storybook for children experiencing separation anxiety.”- Today’s Parent
Why we love it: Children learn that we are connected to each other and how to appreciate that connection. Some of the examples given might also help as a good conversation starter to help children understand why they might feel a certain way (eg. death of a family member) and that by understanding why they feel that way, they can start to learn how to manage their emotions with guidance from their parents.
by Trace Moroney
The Feelings series has been carefully designed to help children better understand their feelings and shares examples of ways to express those feelings in a way that is both appropriate and acceptable to themselves and others. Feeling nervous is uncomfortable, but it can mean that you’re about to do something really, really brave! What do you do when your child feels nervous? Helping our young children develop skills to identify and manage their feelings leads to an increase in confidence, self-esteem, and an optimistic and hopeful state of mind – creating a healthy emotional foundation. Each book features a page of parents’ notes written by a child psychologist.
Why we love it: It’s a such a simple way to acknowledge a child’s big feelings. I’d imagine that by reading this, it would give parents and their kids the opportunity to talk about these feelings and so that kids know that these feelings are valid. But it doesn’t stop there, kids also learn how to process their own feelings eventually.
By Dawn Huebner
What to Do When You Worry Too Much is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used in the treatment of generalised anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change. It includes a note to parents by psychologist and author Dawn Huebner, PhD.
“I have a 6 year son with paralyzing anxiety, it began right away as an infant and snowballed out of control by age 5, he started therapy twice a week just to be able to go to school, it was exhausting for our whole family to deal with all his worries. One day his counsellor began to read from this book and it led to major life changes for him. There are stories in this book that turn on that light bulb in a child’s head to make them understand it’s not necessary to worry so intensely about their insecurities. I am so incredibly grateful for the authors of this book. It honestly changed my child life and made the woke family happier as a result. I highly recommend this book if your family is struggling with anxiety issues.” – A Google review
Why we love it: If your child really struggles with anxiety and worry, this book is more of a 8-chapter series to help them understand their situation better, and develop coping mechanisms. We recommend reading it with them if they are very young as there are some complexities which they may not be able to understand yet. However, its a book that children can grow up with, reading over and over again. After all, these issues do not go away overnight. It something that they will learn to manage and overcome as parents gently acknowledge their concerns and help them through the process.
In general, I think a good children’s book would have a storyline that can easily be understood by children, lessons that speak to adults too, and thoughtful illustrations that bring the words to life. Perhaps I feel a certain affinity towards books because my parents are both bookworms. They would give me books to help me gain a better understanding of the meaning of life at a young age. I really appreciate that they never thought I was too young to be curious about something, and that they always took my questions seriously even if they were not ready to answer all of them at once.
Likewise, you would know your own child best, and when would be a good time and place to address many of these issues through books like this. We think a great way to do it is to just treat these books like any other storybook, so that kids get the idea that being in touch with their feelings and learning how to manage their thoughts is just a very normal part of life. Enjoy story time!