Books on Emotions for Children with Autism

Children with autism are often very poor at identifying, understanding, and regulating emotions.  They are usually especially deficient in empathizing, or understanding that other people have emotions.  It’s an area that doesn’t get enough attention.  I’ve been meaning to post some of these on my website,, but for now I’ll list them here in this blog along with my ratings.  I’ve listed the levels as beginner, intermediate, and advanced just for simplicity.  For kids who can’t read you can still read the books to them and break them down into simple terms.  These books are great for neurotypical kids as well, of course. 

These books on emotions are different than ones on social stories or social skills.  There are a lot of great books on learning to share, having good manners, and being safe and careful.  Those are all necessary and great but books on emotions take it a step further.  “When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry,” by Molly Bang is a great example that shows a girl getting mad and then getting over it.  Another great book is “Proud of Our Feelings” by Lindsay Leghorn, which shows each child with a different feeling and asks the reader, “When do you feel _____?” 

For teaching children about emotions, when in doubt, I advocate the philosophy of John Gottman in “Raising the Emotionally Intelligent Child.”  The main idea of the book is that it’s best to validate a child’s emotions by telling him or her, “It’s ok to be upset.  I know you’re upset.  Everybody gets upset sometimes,” then offer a strategy, rather than to just say, “Don’t be upset.”  





How are You Peeling?

Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

Fruits and vegetables are made to look like facial


The Feelings Book

Todd Parr

Colorful, simple concepts on emotions.


When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry

Molly Bang

Sophie gets angry, then cools down.


If You’re Angry and You Know It

Cecily Kaiser

Strategies for what do do when you get angry


On Monday When It Rained

Cherryl Kachenmeister

A boy experiences emotions, the reader guesses which ones.


When Lizzie was Afraid of Trying New Things

Inger Maier

Lizzie is afraid, tries things, then gains confidence


Proud of Our Feelings

Lindsay Leghorn

Each child has a different feeling


Having a Conversation/Feeling Happy, etc.



Customized books for kids with autism


When I’m Feeling Scared

Trace Moroney

A rabbit feels scared in different situations


When I’m Feeling Sad

Trace Moroney

A rabbit feels sad in different situations


I’m So Mad!

Robie H. Harris

Girl goes shopping with Mommy, is mad, then happy.


Sometimes Bad Things Happen

Ellen Jackson

Bad things happen, you can do things to feel better


Timothy Tugbottom Says No!

Anne Tyler

He says no, then tries things and likes them


The Boy Who Didn’t Want to Be Sad

Rob Goldblatt

A boy realizes the same things that make him sad also make
him happy.


When I Feel Angry

Cornelia Maude Spelman

Rabbit feels angry and uses strategies to cope


When I Feel Scared

Cornelia Maude Spelman

Bear feels scared and uses strategies


When My Worries Get too Big

Kari Dunn Buron

Strategies for anxiety


What to Do When You Worry Too Much

Dawn Huebner

In-depth explanation of worrying and what to do about it


Andy and His Yellow Frisbee

Mary Thompson

A girl has a brother with autism


The Bear Who Lost His Sleep

Jessica Lamb-Shapiro

Story about worrying too much


The Penguin Who Lost Her Cool

Marla Sobel

Story about controlling anger


Stop Picking on Me

Pat Thomas

Explanation of bullying


I’m Scared

Elizabeth Crary

Several situations about being afraid and what to do


I’m Frustrated

Elizabeth Crary

Several situations about being frustrated and what to do




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