This refers to a set of skills to help children to cope with and tolerate uncomfortable feelings (e.g., sadness, grief, frustration) in a safe, healthy way. What counts as Self-Soothing varies from person to person, but it can include activities like drawing or art, hugging a stuffed animal, snuggling with a pet, and asking for a hug.
Age range: Kindergarten through 5th grade.
Age range: 2nd grade through 5th grade.
Recommended for: This book is ideal for an older, verbally-oriented child who is scared of their anger and/or feels embarrassed or ashamed by their behavior when they’re angry. The book destigmatizes anger by presenting it as a valuable feeling that shows us when we’ve been hurt or that something is unfair. It teaches children strategies for managing the feeling in healthy ways (e.g. deep breaths, talking about it with someone they trust) so that they can use their anger to motivate positive change.
Age range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Recommended for: This book is a really great introduction to anger management and would probably be best received by a child who has expressed some interest in getting a better handle on their anger (maybe they want to get in trouble less, or they’ve expressed sadness about hurting someone’s feelings while they were angry). Importantly, it teaches children to listen to their anger (e.g., maybe a child needs a rest or someone needs to stop being unfair) as well as to calm down using a handful of impactful coping strategies (e.g., taking a break, deep breaths, exercise, talking with a trusted person).
Age range: Preschool through Kindergarten.
Recommended for: Young children who are anticipating missing a caregiver or who are currently missing a caregiver will benefit from the validation this book provides as well as the gentle suggestions for ways to soothe the ache of missing a loved one. This would be a great read prior to a first day of school or to a caregiver going on a trip, or before a child is left with a babysitter. Anyone who ever watches a child while they’re separated from a parent/ caregiver (e.g., relatives, teachers, babysitters) may want to have this book on hand for moments of missing mom or dad (or any other important caregiver). Although divorce isn’t specifically addressed in this book, a child with separated parents might also benefit from reading this book when they are staying with one parent and missing the other.

Grumpy Pants

Written and illustrated by Claire Messer
Age range: Preschool through 1st grade.
Recommended for: This is a great read for a grumpy day. It destigmatizes feeling grumpy, and in a silly way, helps a child to see how Penguin’s self-soothing (primarily centered around getting undressed and taking a bath) sets him up to have a less grumpy day tomorrow.
Age range: Preschool through 1st grade.
Recommended for: Great for a kid whose days are often ruined by worry. It’s cute and non-threatening, and has a relatable dinosaur protagonist. Worrysaurus promotes insight into the way that worry ruins days (by making bad outcomes seem more likely or real than they probably are), encourages the creation of a coping box of favorite items to help a child to feel better when they’re worried, and gently introduces the idea that focusing on the present is an antidote to worries about the future.