Guidance Counseling - Book Recommendations

Read Aloud Book Recommendations (Social-Emotional Learning) From Youtube 

The following are some of many options of read aloud books on social emotional learning (SEL) found on You Tube, free to view. The selections in this section pertain more to lower grades.

*Author book summaries are edited to be shortened for this page.

  • “What Do You Do With a Problem?” By Kobi Yamada

This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn’t so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared.

  • “The Color Monster”, By Ana Llenas

By illustrating such common emotions as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and calm, this sensitive book gently encourages young children to open up with parents, teachers, and daycare providers. Illustrations and 3-D pop-ups on every page.

  • “Even Superheroes Have Bad Days” By Shelly Becker

Colorful action-packed illustrations and a dynamite rhyming text reveal the many ways superheroes (and ordinary children, too) can resist the super-temptation to cause a scene when they’re sad, mad, frustrated, lonely, or afraid. From burning off steam on a bike or a hike, to helping others, this energetic picture book has plenty of fun ideas to help kids cope when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

  • “Grumpy Monkey” by Suzanne Lang

A case study in the dangers of putting on a happy face and demonstrates to kids that they are allowed to feel their feelings (though they should be careful of hurting others in the process!).

  • “Confidence Spot”, by Diane Albert

Confident children are better equipped to deal with peer pressure, challenges and negative emotions. A little SPOT of Confidence is a story that uses an orange spot to help a child visual there confidence spot growing or shrinking. It shows a child real world situations on how they can grow their confidence SPOT.

  • “Stand Tall” by Molly Lou Mellon

Be yourself like Molly Lou Melon no matter what a bully may do.  Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart. But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that.

  • “In My Heart Book of Feelings” by Jo Witek

In My Heart explores a full range of emotions, describing how they feel physically, inside. With language that is lyrical but also direct, readers will be empowered by this new vocabulary and able to practice articulating and identifying their own emotions.

  • “My Strong Mind”, by Neils Van Hove

Kate applies techniques like goal setting, positive self-talk, accept failure as learning, visualization of a problem, breathing or mindfulness exercise, gratitude, and controlled distraction. These tips to build a strong mind in children are presented in an easy to read, fun and practical way.

Book Recommendations (SEL) from Milwaukee Public Library


Below are some options on Social Emotional Learning/ wellness themed books for kids and summaries (edited and shortened for this list) found at MPL. The listing is separated into three categories:  K4-1st, 2nd-4th, and 5th-8th, and chosen based on author summaries, sneak peaks viewed online (such as on Amazon), or read aloud videos researched.

*Please check out the books before handing them to your child to ensure they are appropriate for their individual maturity level and your values.  (Keep in mind you can always skip certain parts of books.)

If you do not have a library card, you can enroll for one online for free!

Did you know that you can search for and request any books from the MPL system online to be held for you and taken to the library closest to you? Expect this service to be available within in the coming days for curbside pick-upfree!

Don’t forget to check the MPL calendar for uplifting programs, including through Zoom.

K4-1st Grade:

  • “I’m Gonna Like Me”, by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell

A young girl learns to like herself every single day, no matter what.

  • “It’s Okay to Make Mistakes”, by Todd Parr

Presents a series of situations in which taking chances and trying new things can lead to good results, even if there were mistakes along the way.

“Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children”, by Carol Mcloud

The concept of a full bucket is an effective metaphor for a child’s healthy self-concept and happiness, most often the result of the encouraging words and actions of parents and others who help a child know they are loved, valued, and capable.

  • “Remarkably You”, by Pat Z. Miller

Rhyming text encourages young readers to discover what they are good at and use it to make a difference in big ways or in small ones.


  • ”I Am Enough”, by Grace Byers

Shares a story of loving who you are, respecting others and being kind to one another.

  • “I’m Fun Too”, by Jonathan Fenske

What happens when a classic, ordinary Lego minifigure meets a crew of extraordinary minifigures, with their elaborate vehicles, colorful clothes, and wild accessories? He thinks he’s no fun at all! LEGO toys.  Individuality. Self-Esteem.


  • “You Are Special, Daniel Tiger!”, by Angela C. Santomero

Daniel Tiger’s school is putting on a special talent show and everyone is performing their special talents. O learns that he doesn’t have to sing or do magic tricks to be special. He is special just the way he is!”


  • “Be you!”, by Reynolds, Peter H.

Discover a joyful reminder of the ways that every child is unique and special, “be your own work of art.” To be patient, persistent, and true. Because there is one, and only one, YOU.


  • “Brave”, by Stacy McAnulty

Every kid faces unique challenges, fears and pressures. Every kid can be brave. This book encourages kids to trying new things, speaking their mind, confronting bullies, and more.



  • “The Crown on Your Head”, by Nancy Tillman

A story in rhyme, lovingly expressing that every child is born with a crown of features that gives him or her unique value.


2nd-4th Grade:

  • “Believing in Me:  A Child’s Guide to Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem”, by Poppy O’Neill

This guide combines methods with simple activities to help your child grow their self-esteem.  A lot happens in these years that can impact a child’s sense of self-worth, not just now but for years to come. Your child will be guided through fun and engaging activities interspersed with useful tips, inspirational statements, and practical information for parents.


  • ”Being Me: A Kid’s Guide to Confidence and Self-Esteem”, by Wendy Moss

Offers ways to explore your strengths and feel more confident in school, with your friends, and when facing life’s other challenges. Explore: What really is confidence? Get through the tough stuff! Expand your comfort zone! Stand up for yourself! Meet new kids! Hang out with a group.


  • “Stick Up For Yourself! : Every Kid’s Guide to Personal Power and Positive Self-Ssteem”,  by Gershen Kaufman

Using simple words and real-life examples, this book shows kids how to be assertive with other kids–and with adults. Kids will learn to feel better about themselves, stronger and more secure inside, and more in charge of their lives. They’ll read about effective ways to deal with intense feelings and to build self-esteem and self-confidence. In addition, they’ll learn strategies for building inner security to cope with powerlessness and uncertainty and discover ways of protecting themselves when using social media.


  • ”Not Quite Snow White”, by Tameka Franklin

Tameika is excited to audition for the school’s Snow White musical, but when she overhears her classmates say she is too tall, chubby, and brown to play Snow White, she questions whether she is right for the part.


  • “Dear Girl”, by Amy Krouse Rosethal

Dear Girl, is a celebration of girls everywhere. It teaches girls to be themselves, be generous and kind, and to dance like no one is watching. Told from the point of view of a girl’s guardian, this book delves into the life lessons we all hope to teach the strong girls in our lives.


  • “Magnificent Homespun Brown : A Celebration”, by Samra Cole Doyon

Joyful young narrators celebrate feeling at home in one’s own skin.


  • “Too Nice”, by Marjorie White Pellerino

While gardening with her grandfather after a rough first week of fourth grade, Amy learns that it’s sometimes better to stand up for herself, rather than just trying to be nice.


  • “You’re Here For a Reason”,  by Nancy Tillman

Shows how each of us fits into life’s big picture, and how the world would be incomplete without each person in it


  • “Nobody! : A Story About Overcoming Bullying in Schools”, by Erin Frankel

In school Kyle’s persistent bullying is making Thomas feel like a nobody, and he needs help from his classmates and adults to understand and recapture his self-esteem–but Kyle needs help too. Includes activities for children and information on recognizing and preventing bullying for adults.



  • “Better Than You”, by Trudy Ludwig

Tyler’s friend Jake continually boasts about his abilities, making Tyler feel bad about himself until his Uncle Kevin and new neighbor Niko help him see that Jake is the one with the problem.


5th-8th Grade:

  • “Quiet Power : The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids”, by Cain, Susan,

Being quiet isn’t a weakness. It’s a superpower. Too quiet to change the world? No such thing. Introverts throughout history have accomplished increadible feats because of their quiet personalities, not in spite of them. From class presidents to musical theater performers to video gamers to explorers, introverted teens are often able to use their quiet nature to their advantage. Find out how you, too, can inspire those around you.


  • ”The Survival Guide for Making and Being Friends”, by James J. Crist

“Helps kids improve their social skills and friendship skills. Advice covers topics such as breaking the ice, developing friendships, overcoming problems, and more”.


  • ”Be Fit, Be Strong, Be You ”, by Rebecca Kajander

Teaches young readers how to take a positive, holistic approach to their health, providing tips on developing good self-esteem, eating properly, and exercising regularly.


  • ”How To Deal with Insults”, by Julie Fielder

What is an insult? — Insults hurt — Self-esteem — Did someone insult you? — Do you insult others? — Apologizing — Talking it out — Taking a break — Walking away — No more insults.


  • “Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends: Dealing With Bullies & Bossiness and Finding a Better Way”, by Patti Kelley Criswell

Presents information about bullies, with advice on how to stand up to a bully, how to help friends who are being bullied, and how to get support from family and other adults.


  • Liking Herself”, by Laura E. Zelliger

Even on the bad days: the secrets to trusting yourself, being your best & never letting the bad days bring you down.


  • “The Confidence Code for Girls”, by Katty Kay

This is an empowering code to becoming bold, brave, and fearless. Girls are achieving like never before, yet they’re consumed with doubt on the inside. The book teaches girls to embrace risk, deal with failure, and be their most authentic selves.


  • “The Self-Esteem Habit for Teens: 50 Simple Ways to Build Your Confidence”, by Lisa M. Schab:

Quick tips to help you focus on strengths, learn from mistakes, practice gratitude, build healthy relationships and more, while discouraging self-criticism. 


  • “The Little Book of Self-Esteem”, by: Anita Naik

50 positive tips and plenty of advice, this sassy and inspiring guide will help girls to accept who they are, deal with peer pressure, aim high in life, and generally feel a whole lot better.


  • “The Middle School Survival Guide”, by Arlene Erlbach

A guidebook to help deal with changes in school, families, social lives, and bodies that come during the middle school years, with specific advice for a variety of situations.


  • “The Boy’s Body Book”, by Kelli S. Dunham

Discusses the physical and emotional transitions that boys undergo during puberty, including growth spurts, voice changes, sexual development, peer pressure, dating, and new relationships within the family.


  • “The Girl’s Body Book”, by Kelli S., Dunham

Discusses the physical and emotional transitions that girls undergo during puberty, including growth spurts, sexual development, peer pressure, dating, and new relationships within the family.



Books from Amazon


Under each grade level group, is a selection related to anger management, anxiety management, friendships, self-esteem, and mindfulness (Social Emotional Learning). *Book Summaries have been edited to be shortened and selections are based on reviews and sneak peaks.


  • “Angry Ninja”, by Mary Nhin

Angry Ninja gets upset a lot. He’s like a ticking time bomb. Until one day, a buddy shows him a simple strategy to control his hot emotions.

    • “Don’t Feed the Worry Bug”, by Andi Green

    At first the WorryBug is small and non-threatening, but the more Wince Worries the more his WorryBug grows. Don’t Feed The WorryBug is great story to start the conversation on worry and anxiety. We all worry, it happens, but the key is to not let those worries aka the WorryBug grow to the point that it ruins your day.

    • “How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?”, by Jane Yolen

    Humorous as it is instructive, packed with rhymes that will show children that “playing nice” can be easy and fun.


    • Listening with my Heart by Gabbi Garcia

    We talk to kids a lot about how to be friends to others, but not much about how to be friends to themselves. Yet self-acceptance and positive self-talk help them build emotional resilience, happiness and well-being.

    • “Mindful Games for Kids”, by Kristina Sargent

    Engaging activities help teach kids to calm themselves, focus more easily, and even be kinder to others―all using the principles of mindfulness-showing kids helpful techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, meditation, and more.

“The Survival Guide for Kids with Behavior Challenges”, by Thomas McIntyre2nd-4th

Practical strategies, and sound advice to help kids learn to make smarter choices, make and keep friends, get along with teachers, take responsibility for their actions, work toward positive change, and enjoy the results of their better behavior.

    • “Worry Says What”, by Allison Edwards

    Gives a glimpse into the ways worry whispers to young minds, and offers a powerful tool all children can use to silence those fears.

    • “Social Skills Activities for Kids”, by Natasha Daniels

    Social Skills Activities for Kids gives children the confidence to successfully navigate social situations at home, school, and the world in between. From keeping the conversation ball moving to learning to compromise to practicing good table manners, these engaging activities help kids develop and use their social skills super powers.

    • “The Magic Inside You”, By Karen Davis

    Introduces children and parents to the power of regaining control over their inner-dialogue and transforming it in to a powerful mindset which sets them up for success.

    • “Ultimate Mindfulness Activity Book”, by Christian Bergstrom

    Give kids lasting life skills to de-stress and calm down, navigate difficult emotions, control impulses, focus on what matters, and nurture empathy, kindness, and joy.

How I Can Control My Feelings In 30 Days by Alex5th-8th

Made to tackle the basics like anger, disappointment and happiness to more complex emotions like resilient, overwhelmed.


    • “Outsmarting Worry”, by Dawn Huebner

    Smart, practical, proven techniques are presented in language immediately accessible to children with an emphasis on shifting from knowing to doing, from worried to happy and free.

    • “Friendship Troubles”, by Patti Kelley Criswell

    Even best friends have trouble getting along sometimes. This guide will help girls deal with the pitfalls of interpersonal relationships, from backstabbing and triangles, to other tough friendship problems.

    • “The Ultimate Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens”, by Megan Maccutcheon

    Sometimes, feeling self-confident and secure seems impossible. This workbook helps make it possible by giving you practical tools to boost your self esteem, work through insecurity, and be content with who you are. 


    • “Mindfulness for Teens in 10 Minutes a Day”, by Jennie Maria Battistin

    Mindfulness for Teens in 10 Minutes a Day features simple and effective exercises―that fit perfectly into your daily routine―making it easy to keep yourself in the here and now, tackle challenges one at a time, and make the most of every minute.

Check out these very resonably priced books selections that are uplifting and inspiring!

Here are some more feel-good books selections: