5 Social Emotional Books for Preschoolers

5 Social Emotional Books for Preschoolers - Playgarden Online

With the majority of little ones being “pandemic babies,” social-emotional learning and development is critical as they begin to explore classrooms, playgrounds, and even their home. Preschool books are one of the best tools we have to teach children about the importance of being kind, respecting others, and believing in themselves. The best books for preschoolers will incorporate these social emotional learning concepts in a way that is entertaining, yet impactful. These kinds of books can help with making friends, bullying prevention, and simply teaching your child the value of recognizing their emotions. Invite your little one to explore social-emotional skills with these 5 stories.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is ready to take the leap off the high dive for the very first time! Or is he? With the encouragement of his dad and fellow swimmers, Jabari works to overcome his fear of a new experience. Teaching your little one to recognize and validate the scary feelings can help them learn how to manage those feelings. As your little one watches and roots for Jabari, they may be inspired to face their fear with courage and excitement as well.

Find Jabari Jumps here. (Or, if you are a Playgarden Online Preschool member, you can find Jabari Jumps + more preschool books on Letter J Day 5, during Storytime in the Book Nook with Miss Trinity!)

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad

It’s Asiya’s first day of wearing a hijab, a head covering in a beautiful shade of blue. Her sister, Faizah is in awe of her sister’s new hijab, however, other kids at school make fun of Asiya because she looks different. Faizah stands by her sister and is reminded by words from her mom: “some people won’t understand hijab, but if you understand who you are, one day they will too.” This preschool book teaches inclusion and encourages little ones to embrace and celebrate peers that are different.

Find The Proudest Blue here.

Kindness is My Superpower by Alicia Ortego

Lucas has a tough day at school and says something mean to his classmate. His mom explains why it’s important to be kind, even when we’re not feeling our best. She also expresses how it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as we remember to say “I’m sorry.” Lucas decides to practice kindness and finds how much of a superpower it can be! Kindness is My Superpower includes a page of random acts of kindness that you can share with your little one, encouraging them to make kindness their superpower!

Find Kindness is My Superpower here.

I Can… Just Try by Theresa Smith Hickman

As the smallest in her class, Terri struggles to feel like she can do anything. Like a lot of kids, she has a hard time believing in herself. Through the support and love of her family and friends, Terri learns that she can do anything; all she has to do is try. As your little ones are introduced to new experiences, it’s totally normal for them to be afraid. In this preschool book, Terri shows that having the courage to “just try” something new is something to be celebrated.

Find I Can… Just Try here.

In My Heart, A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings uses imagery and illustrations to describe the many, many feelings our hearts experience. Each emotion is explored by describing what it feels like and what it may look like. For example, our lead character describes what it looks like when her heart is happy by equating her heart to “a big yellow star.” This preschool book inspires your little one to identify new emotions and encourages communication when big feelings are being felt.

Find In My Heart, A Book of Feelings here.

The colorful characters and illustrations in these preschool books inspire conversations about emotions and social dynamics, normalizing big feelings and setting your little one up for social interaction in the classroom, at the playground, and wherever they may go! For online read-alongs of even more of the best books for preschoolers, join the Playgarden Online community! Playgarden’s robust curriculum places a strong emphasis on social emotional learning through their lessons and activities—Take a peek with a free trial today!


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Miss Julia Pencil

Hi, I'm Miss Julia!

Miss Julia has been an early childhood educator for 5 years, with over 10 years of experience working in childcare. She has been teaching at Playgarden Prep since 2017, and is happy to share ideas on some of her favorite early education topics with you! Miss Julia has a BA from UC Irvine, and uses her experience in performing arts to inspire little ones every day in her enrichment classes at Playgarden. In her free time, Miss Julia loves enjoying nature, cooking, and creating with friends.

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