Summer Reading Guide for Social/Emotional Growth

May 21, 2021

Summer brings with it reading programs and learning in a different way than the school year offers. Many schools and libraries offer prizes for reading.  Fun and unique books are a great way to help your child grow and develop and meet their summer reading goals.  It is recommended from the Academy of Pediatrics to read daily to your child, what better way than to pick books that help them grow socially and emotionally as well as giving them a little independence in learning to make choices.  With all the options out there finding the best books for what you want to teach can be difficult.  We hope this gift list will help you find some titles to add to your library and add some fun to your summer reading schedule!

Self Esteem

Anxiety and self-doubt often lead to frustration, difficulties with emotion regulation, and frustrations in schools.  Books on self esteem can help build your child’s coping skills and help give them drive to push through difficult situations.

  • Find your Happy!: A Kid’s Self Love Book by Patricia May
  • The Shiny Bee Who Felt out of Place by Natalie Meraki
  • I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Incredible You 10 Ways to Let Your Greatness Shine Through by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  • Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
  • Affirmation Weaver By Lori Lite
  • The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out! By Troy Cummings

Books on Understanding Emotions

It is imperative that children understand feelings, what they are and that everyone has them.  Books are a great way to open up a conversation about healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with emotions.  The below listed books are a great place to start learning and exploring emotions.

  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
  •  In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek
  • The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
  • Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Anne Miranda
  • My Many Colored Days by Dr. Suess
  • Today I feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis
  • When I Feel Angry by Cornella Maude
  • Listening to My Body by Gabi Garcia
  • The Great Big Book of Feelings by Mary Hoffman

Self-Regulation and Changing Emotions

The next step in helping your child with big emotions after understanding is teaching them how to appropriately change their emotions.  Knowing what the emotions are will help them learn how big they are at what to do at different levels.  These books will help them start to learn about changing them and strategies that can help.

  • Lizzy’s Ups and Downs by Jessica Harper
  • Sometimes I feel Like a Storm Cloud by Lezlie Evans
  • Double Dip Feelings by Barbara Cain
  • I Hate Everything by Sue Graves
  • When Miles Got Mad by Sam Kurtzman-Counter
  • When Sophie Gets Angry-Really,Really Angry by Molly Bang
  • Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker

Dealing with Behaviors

Learning what behaviors fit a situation is important to learning to self-regulate.  These books will hep children learn how their behaviors effect themselves and others and then provide strategies and appropriate responses.

  • David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon
  • David Goes to School by David Shannon
  • No, David! By David Shannon
  • What Were you Thinking? By Lisa Griffin
  • It’s Hard to be a Verb by Julia Cook
  • Soda Pop Head by Julia Cook
  • What Should Danny Do? by Adir Levy
  • What Should Danny  Do? School day by Adir Levy
  • What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick
  • Do Unto Otter by Laurie Keller
  • I Can Do That by Kayla Marhach
  • I’m in  Charge of Me by David Parker
  • The Way I Act by Steve Metzger

Books about Problem Size

Another step in teaching children to control behaviors and emotions is learning how big a problem really is and how to gauge their response.  These books will help children learn how to identify, size, and react to a problem.

  • Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook
  • Don’t Squeal Unless It’s a Big Deal by Jeanie Franz Ransom
  • Bumps, Hills, and Mountains by Julie Balderston
  • Of Course It’s a Big Deal by Bryan Smith

Books about Calming Strategies

When your child is recognizing emotions, learning how to adjust them and identify the size of them they can choose strategies to calm and regulate.  These books will help them learn strategies to have a flexible brain and calm their body and mind.

  • My incredible Talking Body by Rebecca Bowen
  • My Incredible Talking Body; Learning to be Calm by Rebecca Bowen
  • I am Peace by Susan Verde
  • I am Yoga by Susan Verde
  • Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey
  • The Lemonade Hurricane by Licia Morelli
  • Charlotte and the Quiet Place by Deborah Sosin
  • Anh’s Anger by Gail Silver
  • Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee Maclean

Books about Thinking Strategies

After learning to calm it is important that children learn that thoughts affect feelings and behaviors to improve self regulation.  These books will teach your child to develop positive self talk, mantras and flexible thinking.

  • I Will Be Okay by Laurie Wright
  • Of Course It’s a Big Deal by Bryan Smith
  • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Joann Deak
  • Ish by Peter Reynolds
  • The Dot by Peter Reynolds
  • My New Best Friend by Sara Marlow
  • Listening With My Heart by Gabi Garcia
  • There’s a Bully in My Brain by Kristin O’Rourke
  • That Rule Doesn’t Apply to Me by Julia Cook
  • My Day is Ruined by Bryan Smith
  • What’s In It For Me by Julia Cook

Books about Empathy and Perspective Taking

Learning how to see a problem from multiple points of view can help children learn to choose a response that respects everyone.  It can help them start to learn to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and increase mental flexibility.

  • Stand in My Shoes by Bob Sornson
  • You, Me, and Empathy by Jayneen Sanders
  • Just Because by Amber Housey
  • Hey Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose
  • They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
  • I am the dog I am the Cat by Donald Hall
  • The Other Side of the Story: Fairy Tales with a Twist
  • Sally Sore Loser: A story about Winning and Losing by  Frank J Sileo

Books About Self Control

Learning that decisions are within their minds is imperative to help improve self-regulation and decrease behavioral outbursts. 

  • How to save the Dragon: Instrument Book for Teaching Impulse Control to Children by Madeleine Matthews
  • What Were You Thinking Learning to Control your Impulses by Bryan Smith
  • Train Your angry Dragon: Teach Your Drago to be Patient by Steve Herman
  • Teach your Dragon to Understand Consequences by Steve Herman
  • When I am Angry by Michael Gordon
  • Cami Kangaroo Has Too Many Sweets! A Story about Honesty and Self Control by Stacy Bauer

Books About Mindfulness

Learning to stay calm and develop a higher boiling point is helpful to children and parents alike.  The books in this list will help teach straightforward strategy to improve self-regulation.

  • I am Peace a Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde
  • My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing by Nick Ortner
  • Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey
  • The Mindful Dragon by Steve Herman
  • Listening to My Body by Gabi Garcia
  • Positive Ninja: A Children’s Book about Mindfulness and Managing Negative Emotions

Learning Books

Many other great book exist learning to be flexible thinkers, dealing with perfectionism, dealing with anxiety, and being a leader.  Here are a few more great books to help your Children.

  • It’s My way or the Highway Turning Bossy Into Flexible and Assertive by Julia cook.
  • Jilly’s Terrible Temper Tantrums: And How She Outgrew Themby Martha Heineman Pieper
  • Lying Up a Storm by Julia Cook
  • Nobody’s Perfect: A Story for Children About Perfectionism by Ellen Flanagan Burns
  • Don’t Feed the WorryBug by Andi Green
  • What do Do When You Feel Too Shy by Clair A. B. Freeland
  • Even Monsters Get Scared: Help Kids Overcome Their Fears by Sigal Adler
  • Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff: An Empowering Children’s Book About Responsibility by Stacy Bauer

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