Four terrific picture books exploring difficult feelings

Picture book lover Bronte Coates shares four of her favourite recent releases that explore difficult feelings for small people, and how they can learn to manage them.


We All Have Feelings by Thereza Rowe, Claudio Ripol & Yeonju Yang

From unique children’s publisher Owl & Dog Playbooks, We All Have Feelings has been designed to promote empathy and self discovery. The book details a list of scenarios, each set around a mood or feeling, so that is can be approached in different ways, and it’s a terrific pick to get babies and toddlers thinking and perhaps talking about their feelings. We All Have Feelings is also a beautiful object in its own right, shaped like a face and featuring the vibrant illustrations of Brazilian illustrator Thereza Rowe.

For ages 0 and up.


Rabbit Bright by Viola Wang

When darkness falls, Rabbit Bright sets out to traverse its wild and exciting ranges, shining a light for others along the way. While this nighttime adventure is obviously excellent for reassuring children who are afraid of the dark, its themes of self-discovery, bravery and resilience are relevant for all readers and a multitude of scenarios. Viola Wang’s vivid, chaotic artwork is truly stunning, depicting a world children will long to explore themselves, and her book is also a loving and thoughtful acknowledgement of there being a place for darkness in our world.

For ages 2 and up.


Howl by Kat Patrick & Evie Barrow

Maggie has had a Very Bad Day. The sun was the wrong shape, the sky was too blue, the spaghetti was too long. And Maggie’s mother hasn’t fared much better. They both say goodnight angry – but then the moon rises and they each begin to have wolfish thoughts… In wolfish forms, Maggie and her mother are able to express their feelings in imaginative ways, ranging from howling to visualising their feelings flying into the sky. It can be very comforting to see people losing their tempers in books – just like the rest of us! – and the suggestions in this book for how to manage the aftermath are as applicable to grown-ups as they are to small people.

For ages 2 and up.


Finding François by Gus Gordon

Alice leads a happy, beauty-filled live with her grandmother in Paris but sometimes she does feel a bit lonely for a friend her own size. A message-by-bottle leads her to François, the son of a distant lighthouse keeper and a lively correspondence ensues, but then Alice’s grandmother dies. Alice stops sending messages and François starts to worry he’s been forgotten, that is until Alice realises that her friend might be exactly what she needs. As I commented in my review of this charmingly illustrated picture book, Gordon sensitively uses honesty and humour to help make this tough topic accessible for children. Finding François is an excellent pick for fans of Oliver Jeffers.

For ages 3 and up.

Find more of our best suggestions by browsing the collections below.

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Kat Patrick, Evie Barrow

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