5 Books about Big Feelings

Caroline Cook is a journalist, children’s book reviewer and a Bright Horizons parent! Caroline shares with us five fantastic books to help your little ones explore a specific feeling, or feelings more generally.

Happiness, anger, sadness, frustration, excitement - there are a LOT of big feelings which our little ones experience every day. Sometimes it can be tricky for children to understand or show exactly how they are feeling and books can help them identify their emotions, and find out how to express themselves.

Cover of Sometimes by Stephanie Stansbie and Elisa Paganelli1. Sometimes: A Book of Feelings by Stephanie Stansbie and Elisa Paganelli.
Published by Little Tiger, 2021.
Age 3-6.

This beautiful rhyming story follows a brother and sister as they go about their day and experience different emotions, some which lift them high, and others which bring them low. Using colours to reflect different feelings, it ends with a heart-warming message about the most powerful feeling of all, and there’s also a useful page of tips on how to deal with some trickier emotions too.

Cover of Ruby's Worry2. Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival.
Published by Bloomsbury, 2018.
Age 0-5.

Part of Tom Percival’s brilliant Big, Bright Feelings series, this story is about Ruby who discovers a small worry in the garden. As the worry grows Ruby tries to ignore it but it stops her doing the things she loves. It’s only when Ruby discovers a little boy with his own worry that she realises talking about your worries can help them disappear.

Cover of The Big Angry Roar3. The Big Angry Roar by Jonny Lambert.
Published by Little Tiger, 2019.
Age 3-6.

Cub and his sister are fighting and when Cub gets told off he feels really angry. The other animals tell him he needs to find a way to let his anger out but as he stomps and stamps he only gets more annoyed. It’s only when he meets Baboon that Cub discovers the best ways to let his anger go.

Cover of Let's Play Happy Giraffe4. Let’s Play, Happy Giraffe! A book of colourful feelings.
Published by Little Tiger, 2020.
Age 0-3.

An ideal book for the smallest of readers, this tactile board book uses colours to explore different feelings. Each spread features an animal and a scene in a specific colour with a focus on a different emotion, like orange for excitement or blue for sad. There are also felt tabs down the side which are great for engaging younger readers.

Cover of Howl5. Howl by Kat Patrick and Evie Barrow.
Published by Scribble UK, 2021.
Age 3-7.

Maggie and her mum are having one of those days where EVERYTHING is wrong. Maggie wants to howl but nothing comes out. Mum also wants to howl and, as she lets her feelings out, can she help Maggie release hers too? A clever book which shows children how their emotions can build up and it can feel good to let them all out. 

You can read more of Caroline’s reviews at @teenyreaders on Instagram and Twitter.