At times, children may find it difficult to express their emotions in a productive way. These books about emotions can provide a positive model and lead to a discussion about emotions with a caring adult.

“When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt” by Molly Bang, 2015, Blue Sky Press, ages 4-7.

Art can be a positive way to express emotions. Sophie paints a tree with a blue trunk and orange sky, but her classmates giggle and whisper because Sophie’s painting is wrong. Ms. Mulry helps the students to understand how Sophie’s color choices show her feelings and creativity. Bright paintings and full-page illustrations depict the children as budding artists.

“Wild Feelings” by David Milgrim, 2015, Henry Holt, ages 3-6.

At some point each of us may let our emotions get out of control and feel as stubborn as a mule or as clumsy as an ox, or we may get really angry and lose control. “Wild Feelings” seeks to depict the natural feelings that make us human. Cartoon-style illustrations use color, lines, and shapes to create tone for the various emotions expressed throughout the book.

“I Used to Be Afraid” by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, 2015, Roaring Book Press, ages 3-6.

In this simple text with bold illustrations, a child describes the fears she has overcome – spiders, shadows, the dark – and a fear she still encounters. Award winning author and illustrator, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, received the Caldecott Honor Book distinction for “Green” and “First Egg” for outstanding illustrations in a picture book. In “I Used to Be Afraid”, Seeger uses vivid color, paint textures, and cut-outs to create striking interactive illustrations.

“Emily’s Blue Period” by Cathleen Daly, 2014, Roaring Book Press, ages 5-7.

In school, Emily wants to be an artist. At home, Emily feels blue and wants to understand why her dad is living in a new place. Art becomes a way for Emily to express her feelings about herself and her family. This touching story about a family’s emotional struggles during a difficult time emphasizes the value of art as a therapeutic act.

“Wait” by Antoinette Portis, 2015, Roaring Book Press, ages 3-6.

Patience is not an easy emotion for people of all ages. As his mother experiences the hustle and bustle of getting to the train, a young boy wants to wait and enjoy the sights, slowing down to pet a dog, feed a duck, and admire the sweet treats. This nearly wordless book depicts the city sights in illustrations of pencil, charcoal, and ink.

“You’re a Crab: A Moody Day Book” by Jenny Whitehead, 2015, Henry Holt, ages 3-6.

Delightful poetic language takes readers through an underwater journey of moods and feelings. One day may bring feelings of being a friendly dolphin or funny clown fish. The next day may bring feelings of being a mean shark or a crabby crab. Various sea creatures express a myriad of feelings, reminding readers that moods are not lasting, and their feelings are a natural part of life. Illustrations created from tissue paper, paint, and Photoshop create water and beach scenes of interesting colors and textures.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler