The best books with amazing illustrations for your highly sensitive little one

Who am I?

I am an illustrator who has been captivated by the whimsy of children’s books since I was a child myself. The wonder and enchantment with the world of narrative illustrative has never worn off and I still love getting lost in a beautiful picture book. I hope my illustrations are able to inspire others the way they have inspired me. 


I wrote...

Max's Fuzzy Feelers

By Mary Angus,

Book cover of Max's Fuzzy Feelers

What is my book about?

Max’s Fuzzy Feelers is a light exploration into social emotional learning (SEL) and developing emotional intelligence and mindfulness techniques for young children. The main character Max has antennae or “feelers” that change their outward appearance based on Max’s internal emotional state. The universal message is to help normalize experiencing extreme emotions and help children to work with their feelings rather than fight against them. We go on a journey with Max to deepen his understanding of his feelers and how they work. After all, feeling can be healing!

The books I picked & why

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The Way I Feel

By Janan Cain,

Book cover of The Way I Feel

Why this book?

I am absolutely enamored with the illustrations by Janan Cain in this book. They give me the same whimsical feeling I would get as a child reading A Bad Case of the Stripes. There is a softness in the colors and visual elements that really lends itself to the content of the book. Each emotion is touched on without judgment, just presenting its qualities. It is almost like a dictionary of feelings, which can be helpful for parents starting discussions around emotions. I could also see this book being so helpful for neuro-divergent children in acting out and identifying their feelings and the way other feelings present in others. 

The Way I Feel

By Janan Cain,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Way I Feel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Feelings are neither good nor bad, they simply are. Kids need words to name their feelings, just as they need words to name all things in their world. The Way I Feel uses strong, colorful, and expressive images which go along with simple verses to help children connect the word and the emotion. Your child will learn useful words, and you will have many chances to open conversations about what's going on in her/his life. Recommended by parents, teachers and mental health professionals, The Way I Feel is a valuable addition to anyone's library. This book is ideal for children…


The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings

By Anna Llenas,

Book cover of The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings

Why this book?

If you are looking for a book to inspire the inner creative in your child (and maybe even in you), this is the one. The color monster is a fabulous resource for helping kids identify emotions and it is presented in this incredible pop-up book format. You and your child can really disappear into the story through these 3-D visuals and it might even allow for a deeper exploration into emotions from this imaginative space. 

The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings

By Anna Llenas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Color Monster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This sensitive book . . . encourages young ones to open up and discuss how they feel, even when their thoughts are confusing." —Parents

We teach toddlers to identify colors, numbers, shapes, and letters—but what about their feelings? 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. And kids will LOVE the bright illustrations and amazing 3-D pop-ups on every page!


The Sour Grape

By Jory John, Pete Oswald,

Book cover of The Sour Grape

Why this book?

If you are a parent on the search for children’s books, I’m sure you have already come across Jory John’s and Pete Oswald’s Food Group Series. I can’t help but to include The Sour Grape, the newest edition to the series, in this list. Their entire series has been so well written and illustrated, turning common colloquialisms into clever characters and illustrations. The Sour Grape is a beautiful message on empathy and compassion, and why it is important to see things from other people’s perspectives. If you have a little one that's always holding a grudge or thinks the world is out to get them, then this one is a must-have!

The Sour Grape

By Jory John, Pete Oswald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sour Grape as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller!

Don't miss the sixth picture book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Food Group series that's ripe with humor from Jory John and Pete Oswald!

The Sour Grape holds grudges for every reason under the sun. Lime never returned a scarf they borrowed Grudge! Orange never called back Grudge! But when a friend holds a grudge against the Sour Grape without listening to an explanation, the Sour Grape realizes how unfair grudges can be. Could a bunch of forgiveness and compassion be enough to turn a sour grape sweet

Jory John and…


Catching Thoughts

By Bonnie Clark, Summer Macon (illustrator),

Book cover of Catching Thoughts

Why this book?

Catching thoughts is an excellent book to introduce mindfulness to young children. This book touches on intrusive thoughts and how they are paired with feelings. It presents the idea of acknowledging thoughts and feelings, without getting carried away by them and then letting them pass on. I think this book is a great resource for any child and perhaps especially children with high anxiety. The illustrations feel quiet and introspective which is paired so beautifully with the verses. 

Catching Thoughts

By Bonnie Clark, Summer Macon (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Catching Thoughts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This bright tale of a girl determined to escape a negative thought that keeps following her around encourages mindfulness and equips kids with the tools they need to successfully manage their emotions.

Have you ever had an unwelcome thought that you just couldn't get rid of, no matter how hard you tried to push it away?

In Catching Thoughts, a girl is plagued by an unwanted thought. No matter what she does--ignore it, yell at it, cry about it--the thought won't go away. Frustrated and discouraged, she finally looks that bad thought in the face and says, ""Hello."" At last,…


Breathe Like a Bear

By Kira Willey, Anni Betts (illustrator),

Book cover of Breathe Like a Bear

Why this book?

Breathe Like a Bear is part of a series of seven books called Mindfulness Moments for Kids. I absolutely love this book as a way to immediately have real and effective tools to calm your toddler. The exercises in this book are simple, quick, and effective. Breathe Like a Bear is also illustrated so beautifully with vibrant colors to really keep young kids really engaged in the process. If you are looking to go further than identifying feelings and want to move into practices and tools to help regulate your child’s emotions, this is an excellent option. 

Breathe Like a Bear

By Kira Willey, Anni Betts (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Breathe Like a Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Breathe Like a Bear is a beautifully illustrated collection of movements and breathing exercises designed to teach kids techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions. Best of all, they can be performed anywhere: in the backseat of a car, at home, or even at a child's deskat school. Based on Kira Willey's Parents'Choice GOLD Award-winning CD, Mindful Moments for Kids, this is the first book of its kind and is the perfect tool to help children and parents develop a fun and consistent mindfulness practice.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in emotions, mindfulness, and self esteem?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about emotions, mindfulness, and self esteem.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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