Talk about emotions while reading new picture books

How many emotions can you identify in yourself? And in your kid(s)?

According to a research conducted by Brené Brown, a Social Work Professor at the University of Houston, shockingly the mean number of emotions that people can identify in themselves and others is three: commonly bad, sad, and glad.(1) However, there are actually 30 core emotions one can feel.(2)

The findings of Marc Brackett, a professor at Yale University’s Child Study Center and the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, also demonstrate that people are neither in touch with their emotions nor properly equipped with the tools to regulate them if they are. This is very dangerous because we get our own or our kids’ emotions wrong.  

For example, if you’re observing that your kid is yelling that they hate you for not being able to visit a friend, you must understand that the underlying cause is likely disappointment, so you must respond by regulating their disappointment, not by punishing them for their anger.(1)

Thus, Brackett has created a system called RULER (Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating) to help kids to manage and regulate emotions. The first three - Recognizing, Understanding, and Labeling - help us to accurately identify and decode what we and others are feeling. The two remaining skills - Expressing and Regulating - tell us how we can manage those emotions to achieve desired goals.(3)

There are many excellent picture books you can read together with your kids to recognize, understand and label the emotions of the characters.

In this two-part blog, we’ll recommend the new picture books in Pima County Public Library’s collection with each of them focusing on one emotion. Happy emotion-ing!


Rita and Ralph's Rotten Day

Have you been angry at your beloved siblings, friends or parents? What do you usually do when you’re angry at someone? Would you do something that you’ll feel sorry for later?



I’m always anxious before Show-and-Tell day. What about you?


Goin' Someplace Special

Is there a place that you feel you belong? Is there another place that you feel otherwise?

What can you do to help other people feel they belong?


I Wonder

Do you have a lot of questions for this world? Who would you turn to ask?


Ten Cents A Pound

Empathy is such a delicate yet powerful emotion. It’s to feel what others are feeling. When your best friend cries, can you feel the pain/frustration/grief/disappointment…?


When Father Comes Home

What would you do when you fear something? What would you do when your mom fear something?


What I Like Most

What would bring you joy?


Mom's Sweater

Have you experienced a loss of your loved ones? The emptiness in your chest, heavy weight of your heart? If not, have you witnessed someone in grief?


The Breaking News

Things don’t always go like what we want. What would you do if you are not happy? What would you do if your mom is not happy?


Cat Likes Red

“Joy is an inner feeling. Happiness is an outward expression. Joy endures hardship and trials and connects with meaning and purpose. A person pursues happiness but chooses joy.”4 Can you still stay joyful when there’s nothing making you happy?


Ginger and Chrysanthemum

When someone is different from you, would you judge them being different or accept and embrace the difference between you two?


The Old Man and the Penguin

Who do you love? How do you love them? Who are you loved by? How are you loved?


Scarlet's Tale

We’re all different from one another. Well, what if you have a tail? Would you feel lonely being different? What would you do when you feel lonely? What would you do when you see someone feel lonely?


Hoo Hoo Who?

Do you like surprises? Do you enjoy being surprised? Would you surprise someone?


I'm Worried

Are you worried about the unknown? What would you do when you’re worried? What would yo udo when you see someone worried?

-Xuan, Children's Librarian, Eckstrom-Columbus Library


  1. Brené Brown and Marc Brackett On Emotional Intelligence During A Pandemic
  2. List of core emotions by Brené Brown
  3. Permission to Feel: A practical evidence-based approach to managing our emotions
  4. What's the Difference Between Joy and Happiness?

Read, Write, Talk, Sing, Play!

The day children are born, their brains are primed for language. Talking with your child about anything and everything helps them build oral language skills, which are critical to early literacy!

Read more about early literacy and how you can make a difference in your child's life.