Children’s Books for Teaching SEL

As we know, the first years – preschool and early elementary school ages – are critical for social-emotional learning (SEL) development. Identifying and regulating emotions, awareness of others and self, seeing and respecting different perspectives, making friends and developing relationships, and learning to walk in someone else’s shoes (empathy), and more, are developed in these years. That is why it is important that we begin teaching SEL right from the start.

Peekapak’s curriculum contains original stories and lessons featuring the Peekapak Pals that teach each of these concepts. You may not know, however, that in every unit, we have a list of other children’s books for you to explore with your students and to reinforce the skill being taught in that unit. These books are incredible tools for teaching SEL to young learners.

Here are some younger titles to introduce to your classroom:


  • The Feeling Book by Todd Parr
  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
  • My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss


  • Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  • Same Same, But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw


  • All the World by Liz Garton
  • An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton
  • Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood


  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead
  • Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein
  • The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney


  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
  • Flight School by Lita Judge
  • Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

What are some of your favorite books for the classroom?

To learn more about teaching SEL, log on to! There you will find 10 storybooks covering all of the skills mentioned above and more! We offer a platform for SEL in the classroom and at home.

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Ami Shah is a Co-Founder & CEO of Peekapak, an edtech startup that teaches social-emotional learning skills like self-regulation, empathy and team work in the class and home. Peekapak is backed by; Silicon Valley based accelerator, Imagine K12, the Edtech vertical of Y Combinator and; the Unreasonable Institute.