Books to Promote Social Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) has always been a significant part of a child’s development. Last week the Wall Street Journal published an article about the importance of SEL which is “the process by which children learn to understand and manage feelings, develop empathy for others and acquire problem-solving skills.”  With remote learning and the ever changing reality, teaching and practicing social and emotional skills are both extremely challenging and vitally important.

 There are many books that address SEL skills. Here are few that we have at the library. 

Books for Preschool – 3rd Grade

The Power of One by Trudy Ludwig

“Acts and words of kindness DO count, and it all starts with ONE.” This is the last line of a beautiful book that illustrates the impact of one act of kindness. At the end of the book the author gives children easy ways to make a difference in the world around them. She also has a list of books and websites to further help kids (and adults) see how their words and actions influence others.

Kitten wants to learn Tae Kwon Do and she wants to learn it right now! She soon discovers that she will need to focus, have patience and work hard for her goal. From the publisher: Catkwondo encapsulates the qualities of respect, discipline, and mindfulness that encompass Tae Kwon Do. Readers will appreciate and relate to the main character’s journey of trying and failing – before ultimately succeeding – at a new activity.”

Catkwondo by Lisl H. Detlefsen

More titles to promote social emotional learning in young readers: All Kinds of Friends by Norma Simon, Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland, What Should Danny Do? by Ganit and Adir Levy, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away by Meg Medina and Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall.

Books for 4th – 8th Grade

Beyond Me by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

If you have never read a novel-in-verse then this is the place to start. Beyond Me tells the story of the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan in 2011 through the voice of 11 year old Maya. From the publisher: “In the wake of such devastation, what can she do that could possibly make a difference? But the smallest moments of kindness can lead to seismic change.” This is a story of determination and hope that will encourage readers that even when circumstances are overwhelming there are small, significant things that can be done to make a difference.

Isaiah is a 10 year old boy dealing with the death of his father, the loss of his home and having to grow up far to soon to help his little sister and his grieving mother. This book deals with with the subjects of homelessness, death, bullying, friendship, cooperation, empathy, and love. Isaiah finds strength in poetry, he finds hope in the caring of community and he finds courage while reading his father’s stories about a super hero named “Isaiah Dunn.” This is a moving story of facing adversity and finding resilience.

Isaiah Dunn is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist

More titles to promote social and emotional learning in older readers: Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Can I Touch Your Hair by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender, Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian, and Farah Rocks Fifth Grade by Ruaida Mannaa.

Books for Teachers and Caregivers

Growing Up Mindful by Christopher Willard

From the publisher: Introducing mindfulness into the lives of our children and teenagers is perhaps the greatest gift we can offer. Mindfulness builds emotional intelligence, boosts happiness, increases curiosity and engagement, reduces anxiety and depression, soothes the pain of trauma, and helps kids (and adults) focus, learn, and make better choices. This is a guide to introducing mindfulness into the lives of children and teenagers. Growing Up Mindful helps parents, educators, and counselors learn how to embody and share the skills of mindfulness that will empower children with resilience throughout their lives. Includes more than 75 accessible exercises and practices.

More books for adult readers: Happy Teachers Change the World by Thich Nhat Hanh and Katherine Weare, The Strength Switch: How the New Science of Strength-Based Learning Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish by Lea Waters, and Activities for Building Character and Social-Emotional Learning by Katia Petersen.

If you are interested in reading the article from the Wall Street Journal about SEL click HERE. Digital access to the Wall Street Journal is provided by the library. To login, use the username: reference@ofpl.info and the password Wallstreet1.

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