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!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Way I Feel

Mary Angus Why did I love 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. 

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…


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

Mary Angus Why did I love 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. 

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. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

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!


Book cover of The Sour Grape

Mary Angus Why did I love 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!

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. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

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…


Book cover of Catching Thoughts

Mary Angus Why did I love 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. 

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. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

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,…


Book cover of Breathe Like a Bear

Mary Angus Why did I love 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. 

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. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

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.


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Hayley and the Hot Flashes

By Jayne Jaudon Ferrer,

Book cover of Hayley and the Hot Flashes

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer Author Of Hayley and the Hot Flashes

New book alert!

Who am I?

I grew up in a small town, with wonderful librarians who introduced me to books I remember fondly to this day. The Flicka, Ricka, Dicka series, the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, and, of course, Little Women shaped my love for stories about relationships and the simple pleasures of daily life. Whether it’s a mystery or a memoir, I want interesting interactions between the main characters, meaty descriptions of daily activities and affairs, and, of course, a happy ending. As I’ve gotten older, I like books with older protagonists; those are hard to come by—one reason I wrote a novel about the adventures of five middle-aged girlfriends!

Jayne's book list on entertaining stories about relationships

What is my book about?

Country music diva Hayley Swift has fallen off the charts and into a funk. Desperate to regain her place in the limelight, she agrees to a low-budget tour of Southern venues, starting with her 35th high school reunion.

There, in an unexpected but fortuitous reconnection, The Girls Next Door —who sang together in their teens--become Hayley and the Hot Flashes as they embark on a road trip that will forever change their lives. You'll laugh out loud as the ladies deal with stage fright, stalkers, attitudes, egos, harmonies, hormones, and more. Middle age has never been moodier—or more melodic!

Hayley and the Hot Flashes

By Jayne Jaudon Ferrer,

What is this book about?

When five middle-aged girlfriends trade in carpools and casseroles for microphones and music halls, look out!

Hayley Swift, a country music diva who has slipped out of the limelight, gets more attention when she's mistaken for Taylor Swift's mom than for her former glory days. When she's invited to perform at her 35th high school reunion, a bus accident puts her back-up singers in a hospital, Hayley begs her long-gone-domestic quartet from high school to join her onstage for the gig. They're such a hit that she invites the women to fill in on a low-budget tour for a couple…


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