In today’s climate of fear and uncertainty, children need to feel a sense of security especially when away from home. Schools have taken more measures to ensure student safety and are also beginning to embrace pedagogical programs such as Social Emotional Learning. Emotional intelligence is important for children to understand their emotions, show empathy toward others and form healthy relationships. Providing our youth with the skills necessary to navigate their world and make sound decisions will help them feel safer and more confident. One venue to share encouraging messages and model positive emotional skills is through children’s literature.
Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban
Grades: PreK – 2
Mouse is mad, really mad. His failed attempts at expressing his anger cause more and more frustration and irritation. By the end of the story, however, Mouse finally discovers a positive way to express his anger which also helps him to let go of it.
Ishi: Simple Tips from a Solid Friend by Akiko Yabuki
Grades: All grade levels
Ishi is a simple, little rock who has bad days like all of us but its optimism always finds a way to make it feel better and look on the bright side. This is a wonderful book to teach mindfulness and may be supplemented with the Ishi website.
Mama Panya’s Pancakes: A Village Tale of Kenya by Mary Chamberlin
Grades: K – 3
When Adika accompanies his mother to market to buy ingredients for pancakes, he invites several friends he sees along the way to join them for dinner. Mama becomes increasingly concerned because her two coins will not be enough to buy the ingredients needed for so many pancakes. And although Mama tries to gently discourage Adika from inviting so many, it is clear that she loves her son and his generosity.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Grades: 1 – 5
Maya, a new girl in school, is not accepted by her new classmates. They ignore her and make fun of the way she is dressed in hand-me-down clothes. Although Maya tries and tries to befriend the other girls, they continue to pay her no notice. At the end of the story, Maya moves away and one classmate realizes she has missed an opportunity to be kind.
The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble
Grades: 2 -5
Delly Porter who comes from a poor farm family, doesn’t have a pair of shoes that fit her so she walks to school barefoot. This elicits teasing from Prudy who has no shortage of shiny shoes. When Delly’s father finds enough money to buy his daughter a beautiful pair of soft orange shoes, the reader thinks everything will turn out just fine. But that is not the case when the other girls at school see Delly’s new shoes. What happens forces Delly to rethink what is important to her.
12 Tips for Staying Safe by Jamie Kallio
Grades: 2 – 5
Part of the Healthy Living series, this informative book provides tips on staying safe indoors, outdoors, at school and online. The photos and interesting facts makes this book engaging for students.
Kindness and Generosity: It Starts with Me by Jodie Shepherd
Grades: PreK – 3
This book is part of the character education series Rookie Talk About It from Scholastic. It is full of ideas and interactive activities that highlight how the qualities of kindness and generosity can strengthen your character.
For other literature suggestions, this link has several titles organized by emotions and character traits.
Submitted by Louise Prescott
Library Media Specialist
Mills Pond Elementary Library
Louise Prescott is the Mills Pond Elementary Library Media Specialist. In 2010, the Western Suffolk BOCES School Library System named her the 2010 School Library Media Specialist of the Year for integrating new technology into the curriculum. Prescott started her career as a speech pathologist. Due to her love for children’s books, she pursued a career in library science and continues to bring children and books together. You can follow her on Twitter @libraryprescott. To learn more about Mills Pond Elementary Library, visit, www.mpelibrary.com.