The best children’s picture books dealing with emotions and change

The Books I Picked & Why

Buster the Little Garbage Truck

By Marcia Berneger, Kevin Zimmer

Buster the Little Garbage Truck

Why this book?

Loud noises often cause children to cover their ears but sometimes it scares them into a corner.  Buster wants to be the best garbage truck and work with his father. He practiced every skill he would need and mastered them all, except one. He was afraid of loud noises, especially air horns! Buster tried not being afraid, but it just didn’t work. He finally broke his fear when his friend was in danger. One of my favorite parts of this book showcases that sometimes fear isn’t rational. It just is. Another is when Buster took his thoughts off his fear to help his friend, he found he could become a great garbage truck.


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The Day We Danced in Underpants

By Sarah Wilson, Catherine Stock

The Day We Danced in Underpants

Why this book?

Embarrassment is a big emotion that can grab a child with hands of steel. In this beautifully rhyming book, an invitation to picnic with the King calls for new clothes. Told through the eyes of a child the very festive occasion takes a turn when Papa’s pants rip. Papa turned red but one can imagine the embarrassment this child had for her family. Fortunately, the King not only saves the day but makes it better. I think this kind of action is a good example of easing an awkward situation.


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Much Too Much Birthday (Maud the Koala)

By J. E. Morris

Much Too Much Birthday (Maud the Koala)

Why this book?

The title explains the way children often feel…much too much! We tend to overdo it when wanting to give our children too much of most things. Children become overwhelmed as Maud did. This book is a wonderful way to show children how this can happen and help them understand more isn’t always better and sometimes a break is best. I especially like the note to caregivers in the back.


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The Star in the Christmas Play

By Lynne Marie, Lorna Hussey

The Star in the Christmas Play

Why this book?

“I wish I was any animal but a giraffe,” said Raffi. Disappointment melts through this little(or not so little) guy like butter in the sun. When children set up hope for something and it doesn’t work out, they are devastated. Raffi realizes that while he is not suited for some things, he is just the right answer for another. Where there is a will there is a way.


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Catch a Kiss

By Deborah Diesen, Kris Aro McLeod

Catch a Kiss

Why this book?

It’s a special sadness children have when they lose something given to them by someone they love. Izze misses a kiss blown to her by her mother. No matter how hard she tries to catch it, she can’t. Her mother is wise and doesn’t just tell her it will be alright. Instead, she tells Izze a story and soon Izze is blowing kisses into the wind. The interaction is heartwarming.


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