Teaching About Relationships: SEL Books for Kids
Reading books aloud to children is a fun bonding experience that also builds important literacy skills. And, depending on the stories that you choose, books teach really important lessons. The focus of this month is on relationships and second to practicing relationship skills in real life is learning about them through stories. Having positive relationships take practice and social and emotional (SEL) skills. Books are a great way to make SEL topics concrete for kids.
How SEL skills connect common relationship themes in kids’ books:
- Self-awareness – Being aware of your emotions and how they may impact other people
- Self-management – Being able to control emotions so that they don’t negatively impact other people
- Responsible decision-making – Making decisions that are best for you and others around you
- Social awareness – Being able to empathize with others
- Relationship skills – Being able to solve interpersonal problems
Questions to ask kids after you read books about relationships:
- What did the character do to show that they cared about their friend?
- How did the characters solve their problem?
- What would you do if you were that character?
- What can you say or do if you see someone being unkind to another friend?
The books below highlight some of the most common and relevant themes for children as they form relationships with their peers and with adults. They are fun to read aloud and inspire rich conversations. Snuggle up and enjoy reading together!
Early Childhood, PreK – 3 Grade
Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems
Elephant and Piggie books explore themes such as compromise, communication, and self-awareness.
A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker
Mouse and Bear form an unlikely friendship and kids learn about loneliness, acceptance, and happiness.
BEAR book series by Karma Wilson
Bear and his friends navigate through common kid issues such as feeling sick and scared, losing teeth, and celebrating.
Upper Elementary, 4-5 Grade
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
The Recess Queen teaches children about assertiveness, empathy, and conflict resolution.
Millie Fierce by Jane Manning
Through Millie’s decisions and interactions with her family and friends, kids learn about empathy, assertiveness, communication, self-control, and self-awareness.
That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell
Kids learn about an expanded definition of relationships to include special objects and how to teach others to find things to love.
Moshi Stories that teach important relationship lessons:
Looking for more book options for your children? Check out these blogs:
Our Favorite Books About Mental Health Written by Female Authors
The Best Mindfulness Books for Kids
5 Insightful Books about Neurodiversity
Our Favorite Books for Aspiring STEM Girls