The Best Picture Books for Social Emotional Learning

Have you ever had a chid in your class struggle? Of course you have! We have all been there. Sometimes it can be super hard if we have a student in our class going through a tough time that we haven’t personally experienced. We so desperately want to help, but we don’t know how.

Read Alouds are an amazing tool to help students! Here are my top 6 picture books for social emotional learning.

1) “Red” by Michael Hall

This is a beautiful book about a crayon who is “supposed” to be red. But, on the inside, he is actually blue. Red goes through a lot of situations that students might experience if they are struggling with their identity. For instance, he is told that if he practices more, he can become more “red”. Eventually Red discovers that he is actually blue. Ironic enough, all of those same crayons now make comments such as “I always knew he was blue”. I love this book so much because to most of your students, it will just be a simple book about a crayon who felt like he didn’t belong. BUT… to that one kid in your class, it will be so much more!
Click HERE to find the book on Amazon. 

2) “ida always” by Caron Levis and Charles Santoso

This book is about two polar bears who live in a zoo and are best friends. One day, Gus is told that Ida is very ill and will die soon. The story follows Gus and Ida as they live out their last days together and continues to follow Gus as he grieves Ida’s death. Gus eventually learns that even though Ida is gone, she lives on through his memories of her. Students will be able to relate to this book super easily and the fact that it is about polar bears makes it accessible to younger students 🙂 Beware, I cried the first time I read it!
Click HERE to find the book on Amazon. 

3) “The Invisible Boy” by Patrice Barton

This heartwarming story is about the power of small gestures. It explains to children why some kiddos feel invisible, or as though no one notices them. It addresses lots of social scenarios like picking teams at recess time and talking about Birthday Parties at lunch. There is so much room for conversation in this book and there are even conversation prompts at the end! I love this book because it gives real tangible ideas that students can use to help everyone feel included. It also helps students who feel invisible to see themselves represented in literature, which is a powerful event in and of itself.
Click HERE to find the book on Amazon. 

4) “The Color Thief” by Andrew Peters & Polly Peters

This is a beautiful story about a young boy whose father suffers from depression. The Color Thief is filled to the rim with metaphors that make it easier for students to understand mental illness. The story starts by sharing the happy times that the boy and the father had. Then it describes his mental illness and how it affects him as well as his son. At the end of the story, he gets the help that he needs to be happy again and the little boy feels as though he has his dad back.
Click HERE to find the book on Amazon. 

5) “The Good Egg” by Jory John. 

This lovely story is about a very good egg. He is struggling to be good when everyone else is so bad. So he decides to make a change in order to live a happier life. Your perfectionist students will really relate to this one. Your kiddos will love it when you read this aloud to them!
Click HERE to find the book on Amazon. 

6) “The Bad Seed” by Jory John

I LOVE this book because it gives kiddos insight into how students in your class who may be labeled as “bad” must feel. It also shows those kiddos that they have the power to change their behaviour and in turn, their label. This is such a powerful book about identity and your upper elementary kiddos will LOVE it!
Click HERE to find the book on Amazon. 

I hope that you enjoy reading one or more of these stories with your students 🙂
Have a sweet week!

This blog post highlights the six best picture books for social emotional learning. These books will help elementary kids to learn about mental health, social skills, identity, kindness, perfection and labels. This blog post has my 6 must-have SEL books to add to your classroom library. These books are great for read alouds, Morning Meeting, classroom discussions, counselors, health class and more! Social-emotional intelligence can be taught through these stories! #fifthgrade #picturebooks

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