Spotlight on Social-Emotional Learning Books

Social-emotional learning (SEL): is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. Children learn about identifying and managing emotions, coping with stress, positive motivation, building relationships, deepening their sense of self, and thinking critically and creatively.

Here are some books that help apply these everyday skills in their experiences at school, at home, and in the community.

Bear Outside
By Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Jen Corace
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446131 | Neal Porter Books
In this imaginative picture book by Jane Yolen, acclaimed author of many distinguished children’s books including Owl Moon and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, a girl explores the many ways she expresses herself by imagining that she wears a bear as her personal protective shell. They go everywhere and do everything together. The Bear is like a suit of armor and a partner all in one, protecting her from bullies and giving her strength to be bold when she needs it. In turn, she listens to and takes care of the Bear.

Big Feelings
By Alexandra Penfold
Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
42 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525579748 | Knopf BFYR
In their bestselling picture book All Are Welcome, Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman celebrate kindness, inclusivity, and diversity. Now with Big Feelings, they help children navigate the emotional challenges they face in their daily lives. What should we do when things don’t go to plan? We may feel mad, frustrated, or overwhelmed, but by talking it through, compromising, and seeing another point of view, we can start fresh, begin anew.

Carol and the Pickle-Toad
By Esmé Shapiro
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263987 | Tundra Books
In the big city, people wear all kinds of hats. Not everyone wears a toad as a hat, but some people do . . . and some of those toad hats can be VERY bossy! Carol has always followed the orders of her demanding toad hat at the expense of her own inner voice. But when her toad hat is plucked away by a pigeon, how will Carol know what to do? After spending so long being told what to eat and do and paint, Carol’s not sure what SHE wants, and nothing feels quite right. Feeling lost, she creates a new hat – a toad made out of pickles and eggs – to help guide her. Even though her new pickle-toad doesn’t make a sound, Carol can hear it loud and clear! But when a pigeon takes away THAT hat too, Carol begins to understand that there is a big, booming voice that lives inside herself . . . and that it’s well worth listening to! For any reader who’s doubted their own voice and talents, or felt like a bossy friend or family member is always drowning them out, Carol and the Pickle-Toad is an inspiring invitation to listen to your own heart and stand on your own two feet – even better if you’re wearing very tall boots.

Daisy
By Jessixa Bagley
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446506 | Neal Porter Books
“Daisies seem so simple on the surface, but when you look closely you see their hidden beauty.” That’s what Daisy the warthog’s mom always says, and it’s the reason she got her name. But when Daisy goes to school, she doesn’t feel like her name. The other kids, Rose, Violet, and Petunia, make fun of her and call her “Thistle.” Daisy spends a lot of time with her head down, but she doesn’t need her classmates to have fun. When she looks at the forest floor, she starts to find all sorts of treasures, beautiful things that were once special and have since been forgotten. The other kids might make fun of her pastime, but it turns out she’s not the only one who appreciates the hidden beauty of forgotten things when she meets a like-minded new friend.

Ellie’s Dragon
By Bob Graham
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536211139 | Candlewick
When Ellie is very small, she finds a lovable newborn dragon on a carton of eggs in the grocery store. Ellie calls him Scratch, takes him home, and moves him into her dollhouse. Her mother can’t see Scratch, and her teacher doesn’t notice when Ellie brings Scratch to preschool, yet her friends are amazed. Ellie is lucky to have an affectionate, house-trained dragon like Scratch! But dragons get quite large as they grow. And Ellie is growing, too, moving from dollhouses to dance parties, not noticing that Scratch’s brilliant green scales are beginning to fade a little. . . . A wistful, quietly thought-provoking tribute to the friends who appear when we need them most, even if it’s just for a little while.

I Do Not Like Yolanda
By Zoey Abbott
44  Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266513 | Tundra Books
When Bianca gets stuck in Yolanda’s line at the post office, she expects the worst: scowls, claws, teeth . . . This is what she gets for having a five-letter day. She might not survive . . . Or will Yolanda surprise her? This hilarious story explores fear and kindness, in that order, when Bianca decides to overcome her terror and ask Yolanda very nicely how her weekend was . . . and learns that Yolanda is not scary, she’s a delight! A truly lovely book about questioning your assumptions and reaching out to another person, no matter how scary they might be.

Jabari Tries
By Gaia Cornwall
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536207163 | Candlewick
Jabari is making a flying machine in his backyard! “It’ll be easy. I don’t need any help,” he declares. But it doesn’t work! Jabari is frustrated. Good thing Dad is there for a pep talk and his little sister, Nika, is there to assist, fairy wings and all. With the endearing father-child dynamic of Jabari Jumps and engaging mixed-media illustrations, Gaia Cornwall’s tale shows that through perseverance and flexibility, an inventive thought can become a brilliant reality.

Laxmi’s Mooch
By Shelly Anand
Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984815651 | Kokila
Laxmi never paid much attention to the tiny hairs above her lip. But one day while playing farm animals at recess, her friends point out that her whiskers would make her the perfect cat. She starts to notice body hair all over – on her arms, legs, and even between her eyebrows. With her parents’ help, Laxmi learns that hair isn’t just for heads, but that it grows everywhere, regardless of gender. Featuring affirming text by Shelly Anand and exuberant, endearing illustrations by Nabi H. Ali, Laxmi’s Mooch is a celebration of our bodies and our body hair, in whichever way they grow.

Mad, Mad, MAD
By Leslie Patricelli
26 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536203806 | Candlewick
Sometimes Baby is sad. And sometimes mad, mad, MAD! Baby screams and falls to the floor, and a spectacular tantrum follows, from furious crying to the final flop. What happens when Baby wants to stop, but even hugging a beloved blankie doesn’t dissolve the cranky? Maybe a walkabout is in order, with some mindful breathing to boot? Master of toddler expression Leslie Patricelli turns the focus to feelings in a relatable episode offering some tips for helping the mad go away.

Maya’s Big Scene
By Isabelle Arsenault
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267602 | Tundra Books
Maya is an imposing, burgeoning playwright and loves to have the kids in her Mile End neighborhood bring her scenes to life. Her latest work, about a feminist revolution, is almost ready for public performance. But as her actors begin to express their costume preferences, Maya quickly learns that their visions may not match hers . . . and as both Director and Queen, Maya demands obedience and loyalty in her queendom of equality! But she soon realizes – with the help of her friends and subjects – that absolute bossiness corrupts absolutely!

Mr. Mole Moves In
By Lesley-Anne Green
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918029 | Tundra Books
Mr. Mole is a very well-mannered fellow. He greets fence posts politely, he compliments watermelons and he generously gives children erasers to eat. The critters of Juniper Hollow are confused, but they befriend him anyway. After all, maybe this is just how things are done back in Moletown . . . and in Juniper Hollow, strangers are just friends waiting to happen! This hilarious story of compassion, friendship, and wacky misunderstandings will tickle readers, and the fuzzy artwork will delight fans big and small.

My Little Brave Girl
By Hilary Duff
Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593300725 | Random House BFYR
A poetic text encourages girls to reach higher, dream bigger, and approach the world with their hearts wide open. This love letter to little girls was inspired by Hilary Duff’s own experience as a mother as she considered all the ways her daughter had to be brave even as an infant. With lush illustrations and an empowering message, My Little Brave Girl is the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduation, and any time a girl – or woman – is embarking on a new chapter of her life!

Sometimes It’s Bright
By Annie Ruygt
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781684379828 | Boyds Mills Press
In this visually rich picture book, a girl discovers the joy of creativity, first on a walk through the city and ultimately within herself. As Ronan and her mother spend an afternoon together, the girl notices a sparkling brightness – flowing in the notes of a street musician, blaring from billboards, and flying from dancers on stage. Why does she sometimes feel bright – and where could she find that brightness when she wants it? Curious, she experiments . . . until she discovers the magic can come from her, too, when she dances, draws, and paints. Sometimes It’s Bright explores how being our most creative selves brings joy to us and to the world.

The Joy in You
By Cat Deeley
Illustrated by Rosie Butcher
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593181416 | Random House BFYR
Journey through a magical world where readers will find endless opportunities to be themselves and find freedom in expression, no matter where they are or who they’re with.  Kids will delight in the silly humor and undeniable spirit of this rhythmic picture book – and take to heart the message that they are enough exactly as they are! Cat Deeley’s debut is the perfect gift for new mom and baby, birthday celebrations, and any family in need of a spark of happiness.

The Purple Puffy Coat
By Maribeth Boelts
Illustrated by Daniel Duncan
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204971 | Candlewick
It’s almost Stick Bug’s birthday, and his fashionable friend Beetle can’t wait to give him his present – a purple puffy coat! The coat draws a lot of attention and makes Stick Bug really stick out in the crowd. Beetle thinks that’s terrific! He brings Stick Bug all over town, happily boasting and bragging (while Stick Bug waits behind a tree, in a pile of leaves, or under a bench). Oh, dear – maybe Stick Bug isn’t as wild about the purple puffy coat as Beetle is! What can the two friends do? Charming illustrations bring to life both characters’ endearing struggles in this warm and humorous story about learning to pay attention to what makes your friend happy rather than what makes you happy.

Toasty
By Sarah Hwang
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447077 | Margaret Ferguson Books
Toasty loves dogs – so much so that he’d like to be one. He knows there are some differences – most dogs have four legs, but Toasty has two arms and two legs. Some dogs sleep in dog houses, but Toasty sleeps in a toaster. All dogs have hair and fur, but Toasty has neither because he’s made of bread. In spite of these differences, he decides to go to the park to play with the dogs but runs into trouble when they want to eat him. Lucky for Toasty, he is rescued by a little girl who has always wanted a dog but can’t have one because she is allergic. Toasty is the perfect dog for her.

Will You Be My Friend?
By Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217476 | Candlewick Press
Little Nutbrown Hare is out exploring on his own. Off he hops along the path and through the grass until he reaches Cloudy Mountain, where something extraordinary happens: he discovers a new friend! Now the fun can really begin. Twenty-five years after we met the Nutbrown Hares, this enchanting new tale about friendship is bound to capture the hearts of Guess How Much I Love You fans – and everyone else – the world over.

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra is an ongoing series featuring our new releases. The following title is now available in stores and online!

I Do Not Like Yolanda
By Zoey Abbott
44  Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266513 | Tundra Books
When Bianca gets stuck in Yolanda’s line at the post office, she expects the worst: scowls, claws, teeth . . . This is what she gets for having a five-letter day. She might not survive . . . Or will Yolanda surprise her? This hilarious story explores fear and kindness, in that order, when Bianca decides to overcome her terror and ask Yolanda very nicely how her weekend was . . . and learns that Yolanda is not scary, she’s a delight! A truly lovely book about questioning your assumptions and reaching out to another person, no matter how scary they might be.

We can’t wait to see you reading this! If you share this book online, remember to use #ReadTundra in your hashtags so that we can re-post.