Books to explore Social Emotional Learning using...

Emotion Statues, The Emotion Mapping Tool, 5 shapes many expressions, 2-face puppets
  • Illustration on person hanging upside down making a silly face

    The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

    Kinder, 1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Teaching Artist Rima Fand says: “Each page of this book reveals a different feeling, with a few lines of text that create a scenario for the emotion, and wonderfully expressive artwork. We looked at a few pages of this book each day, right before doing the emotion statue warm up, to help give students a sense of emotion words that may have been less familiar to them.”

  • Graphic illustration of two, half circle shaped monster faces. The top face looks happy and bright while the bottom face looks sad and blue.

    Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberly and Anne Miranda

    Kinder, 1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Teaching Artist Sarah Provost says: “Kindergarten and 1st graders had fun making monster masks or puppets with feelings that don’t have to be realistic or  human looking. I’ve also used this book to inspire non-realistic torn paper collage faces.”

  • An illustrated figure standing in a floor length dress, leans their head back and multicolored squiggles burst out into the air.

    The Queen of Colors By Jutta Bauer

    Kinder, 1st gr., 2nd.

    Teaching Artist Ron Sopyla says: “Jutta Bauer explores the connections between colors and feelings. The book is a  good introduction for art projects designed to connect color and  emotion.  Simple, but wacky illustrations.”

  • Four circle shaped faces are grouped in a square. Each face is drawn to depict a different emotion- happy, sad, scared and mad.

    The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

    Pre-K, Kinder

    Teaching Artist Sarah Provost loves “…the simple, colorful pictures and uses this book with Pre-K and Kindergarten.”

  • Illustration of a little girl wearing a crown and a mean grin on her face stomping the word

    The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill

    1st gr., 2nd gr.

    The Bridges Team says:“Familiar to children using scenarios that evoke big emotions and emotional shifts in the characters.  The emotion vocabulary in the book itself is limited but you can introduce advanced vocab for what the characters are feeling. Also lots of fun words and sounds to make in this book. Students loved the visuals in the book!  The facial expressions of the characters stimulated lively vocabulary responses. Students also liked the surprisingly loving ending the book had.”

  • Illustration of a small black boy wearing goggles and swim trunks, standing at the edge of a diving board and peering over, with trees and a city skyline in the background.

    Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

    Kinder, 1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Teaching Artist Erin Orr says: “A wonderful exploration of all the emotions that come up when you are learning something new and taking a risk!”

  • Illustration of rosy-cheeked girl in a polka dot shirt grinning and holding a large red lollipop that covers her left eye.

    The Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan

    1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Teaching Artist Erin Orr says: “Deals with familiar emotions having to do with siblings, sharing, the need for independence and the challenges of reconciling home culture and school culture.”

  • Collage of a girl standing outside of the door of a busy diner.

    A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams

    1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Teaching Artist Ron Sopyla says: “What I really love about this book is its portrayal of a blue collar family, coping with adversity with courage and nickel and dime resilience,  and with the help of their community of family and friends, finding joy in simple pleasures. . Growing up in a blue collar family, I rarely saw images of my life in literature. But these are often the families Vera B Williams portrays. The prose is simple and strong. It feels like home.”

  • The word more stacked three times on top of itself. In each O of the word more, there is a different baby illustrated in the middle.

    More More More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams

    Pre-K, Kinder.

    Teaching Artist Ron Sopyla says:“In simple prose that borders on poetry, Vera Williams explores the love families, fathers, mothers, and grandparents  have for their babies. The characters come from diverse backgrounds that reflect the cultures of NYC. The people look like us.”

  • An illustrated elephant with round glasses sitting, staring ahead with drooping ears and trunk. A little pig sits behind him looking concerned.

    My Friend is Sad (Elephant & Piggie #2) By Mo Willems

    Kinder, 1st gr.

    Recommended by classroom teachers who participated in the bridges research.

  • An illustrated elephant with round glasses with wide eyes staring straight ahead and ears and trunk stretched down looking impatient.

    Waiting is Not Easy (Elephant & Piggie Series #22)

    Kinder, 1st gr.

    Teaching Artist Ron Sopyla says: “What is so much fun about this book are the expressions on Elephant’s face.  They express an entire range of emotions, from pleased, to overjoyed, anxious, despairing, furious, exasperated,  petulant.  These provide wonderful words to be acted out, and some context for these feelings. I would love to see the expressions on Elephant’s face printed out, then mounted on the Emotional Mapping Tool.  They could , of course, be acted out by the children. Challenges could be set to express these faces using the 5-shapes many emotions activity.”

  • An illustration of a demure mouse wearing a dress and bow standing next and holding onto the stem of a not yet bloomed chrysanthemum flower.

    Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

    1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Bridges Team says:“Deals with familiar but BIG emotions about going to school.  It is also a wonderful entree into an exploration of character traits.”

  • A mouse named Lilly in a dress, cape cowboy boots and a crown holding a purple plastic purse depicted in a variety of exuberant poses.

    Lilly’s Plastic Purple Purse by Kevin Henkes

    1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Teaching Artist Ron Sopyla says:“The children could do a series of Emotion Statues charting Lily’s changing emotions through the story, adoration, pride and pizzazz, frustration, anger, malice, shock, shame, contrition, pride, glee. The children could write or illustrate, or dramatize with puppets a series of emotions wrapped around a favorite object of theirs. What would their corresponding object to a purple plastic purse be? Could they make a puppet or a setting of it? What stories does it evoke?”

  • Illustration of a kid wearing a big yellow hat and other costume pieces with arm outstretched, grinning ear to ear.

    Today I Feel Silly & other Moods that Make My Day By Jamie Lee Curtis

    Pre-K, Kinder, 1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Teaching Artists Ron Sopyla says:“A funny book! Wonderful, detailed illustrations about a child experiencing a variety of moods from frustrated to full of pizzazz. Each mood is described and given a rich context that helps explain the feeling and can elicit conversation. The book is written as a series of poems about each mood, but unlike many children’s books written as poetry, THIS poetry is good, rollicking and funny.”

  • Circle of concentric ombre with eyes and a smile, holding up a magnifying glass to one of its eyes. It stands on the text,

    A Little Spot of Feelings by Diane Alber

    1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Teaching artists SJ Munford & Ron Sopyla say:

    In this book, little scribble SPOT helps the reader learn to be an emotion detective! This book helps children recognize feelings in themselves and others, focusing on facial expression and physical experience. Great for deepening descriptive language around feelings and emotions.

    There is a sample of an Emotional Mapping Tool and a wide array of vocabulary that can be used to describe feelings. The mapping tool in the book differs from the Bridges tool in that it is color coded (You may or may not agree with the color coding) and lacks the levels of feelings used on the Bridges chart.

    The physical descriptions of emotional expressions can serve as a very basic springboard for the teachers to use when describing the acting choices the children make when creating Emotional Statues.

  • Illustration of a girl holding a pig next to a sheep and goose. They all stare up at a spider hanging by a thread, suspended from the letter C in the title above their heads.

    Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

    2nd gr. or older

    Bridges Team says: “Beautiful descriptive writing about a variety of settings: farmhouses, farmyards, barns, fairgrounds. Full of advanced emotion vocabulary with lots of context to make it meaningful.   We used this book with 2nd graders and explored settings and story sequence through sensory journey games and drawing. Once the settings and puppets were finished we put them together and explored a variety of problems that could happen in them. For example – what can happen when the farmer doesn’t wake up to feed the animals?  This book was also a perfect book for a class to explore group work. The settings, relationships and seasons change.  Groups made their settings, puppets and explored the storyline and then shared their puppetry creations.”

  • Illustration of a child and rabbit embracing with their eyes shut tight.

    The Rabbit Listened By Corie Doerrfeld

    Pre-K., Kinder.

    Teaching artist Ron Sopyla says:“After a flock of birds swoops through and destroys a boy’s amazing block construction, he closes down emotionally. An array of animals comes and each advises the child on how to respond. He remains closed down until a rabbit gently approaches and just sits next to the child. Then the child opens up, and expresses all the different responses the other other animal suggested. The rabbit just listens,  then the boy calms down, and decides to rebuild his structure, in an even more amazing way.  This book could be used as a spur for Emotional Statues, as the children act out the emotions felt by the boy, from resignation to rage. They could use the shapes to create faces expressive of the different emotions. They could map the emotions on the emotion chart. The book would also be useful just as a way of opening up a discussion on fe

  • Illustration of a boy with his pockets turned out and a slanted, unfortunate look on his face.

    Alexander Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viortst

    2nd gr.

    Recommended by classroom teachers who participated in the bridges research.

  • Painted closeup of girl with blonde hair, blue eyes and an angry expression.

    When Sophie Gets Really Really Angry By Molly Bang

    Pre-K., Kinder.

    Teaching Artist Ron Sopyla Says:“The story contextualizes anger, it gives reasons for getting angry and the stages of anger, from upset to rage. Then it continues exploring the emotion in decline, from despair to content. The exploration of emotion fits perfectly with Emotion Statues, the emotional mapping tool. The kids could also explore using shapes to show the different stages of Sophie’s emotions. And even make corresponding two faced puppets, raging on one side and content on the other. It could be fun and interesting to have the kids ponder their own emotional journeys into and out of anger. What makes them really angry? How do they calm themselves? The same activities suggested for Sophie’s emotions could be applied to theirs.”

  • Painted closeup of girl with a discouraged and frustrated look on her face.

    When Sophie Thinks She Can’t...

    Teaching Artist SJ Munford says:“Discouraged Sophie thinks she can’t do anything- especially puzzles and math! With the help and encouragement of her teacher, Sophie and her classmates learn to work from and rely on their own unique points of view to solve a math puzzle. In the end, everyone’s answer looks a little bit different but all are correct. This book highlights how the different ways we think and what we love to do help us to grow and learn and should be celebrated in the classroom and beyond! Watch Ms. Mulry notice, describe and value all the different ways her students found the answer to her math puzzle. Much like the artistic process Bridges engages, there is no one right way in Ms. Mulry’s classroom!”

  • Painted closeup of girl with a sad, disappointed and forlorn look on her face.

    When Sophie’s feeling Are Really, Really Hurt

    1st gr., 2nd gr.

    Teaching Artist SJ Munford says: “Artistic Expression is unique to each artist and represents what is most important to them. What makes something right for an artist may be very different from another, and while there may be “no wrong answers” in art, some forms of expression may feel “right” to some artists while that same form may feel totally “wrong” to another artist. When giving feedback to artists, it is important to remember to reflect what is there, rather than giving an opinion. In this book, Ms. Mulry makes space for Sophie to speak about her work, just like in the Notice, Describe, Ask protocol. In describing her choices, Sophie becomes more and more confident about her work and then her teacher affirms and reflects her choices, offering a new kind of space for everyone in the classroom to inhabit together with equal value and curiosity.&#