The world of children’s books is huge. Walk into any bookstore’s children’s section or the kids’ section of your local library and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of titles. As parents, grandparents, educators, we often gravitate to books that help us find ‘teachable moments’ that help kids learn about and understand the world as well as their own emotional development.

Of course, for these books to have an impact, they need a certain X-factor, that sense of delight that is so essential for capturing kids’ hearts and minds. If you’re searching for first-rate books to support kids’ emotional intelligence and dawning sense of morality and goodness, here are a few titles you don’t want to miss!

The Bad Mood by Moritz Petz

We all have our bad days and bad moods, but when one particular little badger wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, he takes his anger and disappointment out on his friends. How he changes his tune and wins back his friends is the poignant finale of this darling tale about how to cope with our moods without lashing out at others.

Big Moon Tortilla by Joy Cowley

When you try and try but the worst still happens, how can you manage to hold back your tears and anger? In Big Moon Tortilla, young Marta needs some of her grandmother’s wisdom to learn how to manage her overwhelming feelings. Will she be able to soar above them like an eagle? Children will enjoy this unique approach to emotional problem solving.

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

In Cookies, Bite-Size Life Lessons, the author uses the concept of cookies to provide minilessons about what it means to share, be generous, be patient, and so much more. Kids will relate to each bite-size take on human feelings.

Julius, The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

The new baby is definitely putting a damper on big sister Lilly’s life. Everyone cooing and praising Baby Julius, the “baby of the world,” grates on her. Somehow, this jealous little mouse must work through her envy to fall head over heels for her new baby brother.

Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

In Zen Shorts, a serene and lovely Panda Bear helps three siblings understand and rethink their emotions and emotional responses to life. This book shares so many profound insights, that many adults will find it inspiring too!

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Being different isn’t easy. In The Proudest Blue, two sisters learn to feel self pride is worth all– and having a sister to share in that pride is even better!

The Raft by Jim LaMarche

A young boy fully expects to have a miserable summer when he’s sent to stay with his grandmother. It isn’t long before his disappointment and approach to ‘fun’ is completely overturned.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Conquering our fear is so good when we’re able to do it. In this tale, children will relate to Jabari and his fear of the high dive. This is a great story to share with children to discuss their own fears and how they believe they might overcome them.

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

How do you get rid of an enemy? According to Dad, you make ‘enemy pie.’ In this tale, a young boy learns a valuable life lesson about how to cope with an enemy.

A Big Brave Heart by Joe Khoury

“A Big Brave Heart” is the first book in the children’ book series Mia & Anthony and the Hidden Treasures. The entire series is designed to help children explore their feelings and gain new insights into what it means to be brave, be kind, and to be a good person. In A Big Brave Heart, twins Mia & Anthony learn that courage is not in the realm of the superhero and that they, too, have hidden powers of courage that they can use every single day. Be sure to read the second installment in the series by author Joe Khoury called A Million Ways to Care; in this tale, the kids learn that it doesn’t take a lot of money to show kindness and generosity.