Picture Book Authors Who Explore Social Emotional Issues

Some picture book authors seem to specialize in social emotional issues that impact children.

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC,) children with positive social emotional skills demonstrate that they:

  • Are usually in a positive mood
  • Listen and follow directions
  • Have close relationships with caregivers and peers
  • Care about friends and show interest in others
  • Recognize, label, and manage their own emotions
  • Understand others’ emotions and show empathy
  • Express wishes and preferences clearly
  • Gain access to ongoing play and group activities
  • Are able to play, negotiate, and compromise with others

Why does this matter?  Children who are mentally healthy are more receptive to learning!

The following picture book authors understand the importance of social emotional skills and incorporate these skills in the majority of their works.  I feature one of each author's titles, but you will find many other titles under their works that incorporate social emotional skills.  One of my favorites is the local author from Berkeley, Todd Parr!

Picture Book Authors Specializing in Social Emotional Skills

The Feelings Book, book cover

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

Local author Todd Parr focuses his stories on the social and mental well-being of children.

Colorfully illustrated so as to be attractive to the toddler and preschool set, I like how relatable Parr makes his illustrations to young children.

Parr's many titles focus on feelings, family, love, and how we are all unique.

I Am Love, book cover

I Am Love by Susan Verde

Susan Verde is a certified yoga and mindfulness instructor, like another author on this list, Mariam Gates.  She incorporates mindfulness themes into her picture books.

In her "I Am" series, you will find topics including empathy, compassion, resilience, mindfulness, and action.  In her "Fairy Tale" series, you will see topics about falling asleep and feeling better about yourself.

Other topics include: energy, art, music, balance, and being thoughtful about the environment.

Be Kind, book cover

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

Pat Zietlow Miller, both an author and illustrator, writes vibrantly colorful illustrated books.

Zietlow's works cover various social emotional topics including: empathy, courage, self-esteem, appearance, friendship, family, and being different.

Her "Be Kind" series shows children how they can show kindness to others and how they can find the inner strength to do what seems impossible.

Chrysanthemum, book cover

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is a prolific children's picture book author.  He has written about the seasons, animals, and other stories.

I like his "Mouse Series," for their social emotional themes.  He has over 20 Mouse books, so there are a lot of books to read to your child(ren.)

Some topics include: bravery, being different, liking yourself, coping with marriages and new babies, anxiety, sharing, and learning how to wait.

Good Morning Yoga, book cover

Good Morning Yoga by Mariam Gates

In addition to including books about social-emotional skills, this list would not be complete without an author who specializes in mindfulness, a way to alleviate stress brought on by social emotional problems!

Mariam Gates, creator of Kid Power Yoga, has titles both in our picture book collection and in our juvenile non-fiction collection.

One of my favorite mindfulness books for kids is her Meditate With Me book, which is illustrated with attractive animal characters that immediately draw the eye!

Check out her morning and night yoga picture books!

The Book of Mistakes, book cover

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luykin

Corinna Luykin's The Book of Mistakes is an important title to add to this list.

Many children often are deeply impacted in their self-esteem by mistakes.  Learning that mistakes are natural and that we learn more from mistakes is an important skill to learn in childhood.

In this book, an artist incorporates errors into their artwork.  This idea can be easily generalized to include all mistakes.  Mistakes are not bad!  It is human to make mistakes.  Learning to use mistakes productively is the key to learning.