In recent years, social emotional learning has been a major buzzword. Not only in the elementary education bubble but in the real world as well. More and more people are beginning to realize the importance of mental health and the critical importance of teaching the following social emotional skills to children. I’ve compiled a list of 19 books about social emotional learning that I believe should be a part of every elementary classroom library. Although we are surrounded by helpful apps, videos, and other digital lessons, there aren’t many things I find more powerful than a good book.
What is Social Emotional Learning?
Before we jump into the books, I believe it’s important to give a brief overview of what social-emotional learning really is. This way, we can understand the great learning potential that is held inside each book.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) for elementary students refers to the process of learning and understanding how to manage both their emotions and their social skills to thrive in and out of the classroom. Its main purpose is to promote emotional intelligence.
To me, teaching these social-emotional skills is just as important as teaching the academic curriculum. Students need both in order to be successful in the real world.
SEL programs in elementary schools often include various activities and lessons integrated into the curriculum, as well as dedicated time for discussions and reflection on emotions and relationships.
These programs/lessons can positively impact students’ academic performance, classroom behavior, and overall well-being (it’s truly a win-win for all).
SEL Skills to Teach in Your Elementary Classroom
The core components of social-emotional learning for elementary students often include:
- Self-awareness: Helping students recognize and understand their emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. It involves developing a sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy.
- Self-management: Teaching students strategies to manage their emotions, handle stress and challenges, and practice self-discipline. This includes goal-setting and time-management skills.
- Social awareness: Fostering empathy and perspective-taking, enabling students to understand and respect the feelings and perspectives of others. This helps promote a sense of community and belonging.
- Relationship skills: Equipping students with effective communication, cooperation, and conflict resolution skills. These skills are essential for building and maintaining healthy relationships with peers and adults.
- Responsible decision-making: Encouraging students to think critically and make responsible choices, considering the well-being of themselves and others.
Helpful Books About Social Emotional Learning
Children’s books are SO helpful in teaching so many different aspects. Students can relate to the characters and colorful pictures while you are given a straightforward method to get a message across.
Here are my favorite books about social emotional learning in the classroom!
Books to Help Teach About Emotions
- The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
- The Calm Down Jar by Jennifer Jones
- Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival
SEL Books to Help Students With Goal-setting
Best Books to Teach about Friendship & Kindness
- How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath
- The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
- We Are All Wonders by R. J. Palacio
- Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
Best SEL Books to Teach about Problem-Solving
- What Do You Do With A Problem by Kobi Yamada
- The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
- The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Social-Emotional Books about Responsibility
- What If Everybody Did That? By Ellen Javernick
- But It’s Not My Fault by Julia Cook
- What Should Danny Do? By Adir Levy
- Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers
…and the list could go on and on! I recommended starting with one from each category and growing your SEL library from there! I hope you’ve found this post helpful and gained some ideas for books about social emotional learning to add to your classroom library.
Do you have a favorite book that you use to teach social-emotional skills? I’d love to hear it and add it to my collection!
For more book recommendations, visit these posts!