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The Zones of Regulation were created by Leah Kuypers; it’s another great tool to help kids learn self-regulation skills. This framework is designed to help kids notice what they are thinking and feeling, how their thoughts and feelings affect their behavior and learn to self-regulate. I absolutely love teaching the Zones of Regulation to kids. It’s such a great visual for them to see what zone their feelings are in and learn ways to get back to the green zone.

The Incredible 5-Point Scale by Kari Dunn Baron and Mitzi Curtis is a great resource for people to use in a school setting or a social group setting. It can be used to address a number of different issues, and it’s a great resource for working not only with kids on the spectrum, but for all kids who need a little extra teaching around social and emotional concerns. Read my review here.

You are a Social Detective is a great introduction to Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking, written especially for kids who struggle in social situations. The book is divided into 3 different sections. Whenever I use this book as a teaching tool, I read one section at a time.

It’s So Much Work To Be Your Friend - I LOVE this book. It is full of so much helpful and practical information for teachers working with kids struggling with social aspects of life. The social skill autopsy is such a great resource to help kids that I would highly recommend it if you are working with a child struggling in social interactions.

The Unwritten Rules of Friendship - Another great book for teachers with some practical advice for understanding what’s happening with children and with some advice for what to do to help support them. It’s divided into different personality traits/behavior characteristics (the shy child, the little adult) so you can just pick what you need to focus on and read that section. Read my review here.

Best Friends, Worst Enemies by Michael Thompson, PhD and Catherine O'Neill Grace. This book is a thorough examination of children’s social lives, from infancy through dating.  The authors explore more specifics of how children develop friendships, manage and work through conflict, group dynamics, teasing and bullying.

A Volcano in My Tummy by Eliane Whitehouse - One of my favorite books to help kids identify and manage their anger. I used this all the time when I was a school counselor and kids found the worksheets very helpful.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud - A great way to visualize the impact one person's behaviors can have on another. Some school districts use this book to encourage kind and respectful behavior. 

Books for Kids


For the younger crowd

Join in and Play by Cheri J. Meiners  - A simple to understand book about how kids can join the group and play with others.

How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends? by Jane Yolen - This is part of a books series (How Do Dinosaurs Clean their Room, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?, etc) The images of the dinosaurs make kids giggle!

How To Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson - Cute, tongue-in-cheek book that describes how to lose your friends, and helps kids understand what they should (and shouldn’t!) do to make and keep friends.

How To Be A Friend by Laura Krasny Brown and Marc Brown - This book is actually divided into several different sections on different parts of friendship including how to handle some of the more challenging aspects of friends like manage arguments, how to handle bullies, etc. Sometimes what I’ve done is just read certain sections of the book at a time to focus on a particular friendship skill.

For the late elementary/early middle school crowd

How to Make and Keep Friends by Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea - This book is quick and easy to read. There are 10 quick tips for 50 common social situations, like playdates at your house, joining in a group or staying on topic in a conversation. Read my review of the book here.

Girls Q&A book about friendship by Annie Fox, M.Ed - A great book about some of the more complicated situations that arise for tween girls. Annie Fox, M.Ed answers real girls questions in a relatable and practical way. Read my review here.

Making choices and making friends by Pamela Espeland and Elizabeth Verdick. - This book is a part of a series focused on social competencies for kids, which I think is a great series. I find this book to be empowering for kids, letting them know that they have the power to be thoughtful and make decisions, and resolve issues in a respectful way.

Cliques, Phonies & Other Baloney by Trevor Romain - I love this author, he tackles serious issues like bullying and anger in a way that kids find humorous and relatable. I used to have kids borrow his books all the time from my office because they wanted to read more. This book is focused on managing cliques and the importance of being yourself.

Friends: Making Them & Keeping Them by Patti Kelley Criswell -This is an American Girl book, and it’s got some fun quizzes in it that kids enjoy taking. It even has craft project ideas for kids to do as a positive way to interact with one another, which you know I love.

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles by Patti Kelley Criswell - This is another  great American Girl book. I would often recommend this book to girls when I was a school counselor to help them understand that friendship troubles are common and there are things that can be done to help manage those difficulties. It helped kids focus on what a good positive friendship looks like and how to get there.


Get Organized Without Losing It - this is a great book to help kids who struggle with executive functioning tasks. This book covers setting up a homework area, managing school areas like your locker or desk, using an agenda, and managing time. It's really helpful to start these habits early in the year!!

Bullying is a Pain in the Brain - I used to read part of this book to all of my 4th grade classes as part of our anti-bullying program. This book covers the importance of assertive body language in bullying situations and different ways to deal with bullies. I love the use of humor in this book, the kids always giggled even during the small section I read.

What to Do When You're Scared and Worried - This is a wonderful resource for kids experiencing anxiety. There's sections that help you identify what kind of anxiety the child is experiencing. Chapters go through specific activities and strategies to manage the feelings.

Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands by Tamara Levitt. This is a beautifully illustrated book all about growth mindset and resilience. Leela wants to do headstands and is getting frustrated, and believes the only way she can be happy is if she does headstands. With the help of a friend, she shifts her focus from what she can’t do to what she can and focuses on the journey, not the singular goal is doing a headstand.

The Secret to Clara’s Calm by Tamara Levitt. This is another beautifully illustrated book that demonstrates the power of mindfulness in managing big feelings. Clara has a bad temper and has big reactions to small problems, but then that leads to kids not wanting to be around her anymore. She works on learning how to be mindful and manage her big feelings with the help of a bird named Brodhi. You can pre-order this book now - it will be available in November 2017!


For Early Elementary

When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang  Poor sophie has a hard time managing her anger when she has to share gorilla with her sister. It’s a visually interesting book to show how big her feelings get and how it looks when she calms down again.

When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman This is part of “The Way I Feel” series. It explains how different things can make you angry, and that feeling angry is an expected part of life, but it’s what you do when you’re angry that matters.

Cool Down and Work Through Anger by Cheri J. Meiners M.Ed. Another great book that talks about how anger affects your body and suggesting safe ways to express yourself.

Angry Octopus by Lori Lite and Max Stasuyk A great book that actually is a progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing script for kids. It’s wonderful!

Late Elementary School/Early Middle School Crowd:

Don’t Rant and Rave on Wednesdays by Adolph Moser  It mentions the consequences of having unchecked anger, and acknowledges that adults struggle with this too. A large part of the book explains different strategies kids can use to express anger in a safe way, which I think is great.

How to Take The Grrrr Out of Anger by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis  I love using this book for kids who are having a hard time managing being angry. I typically read one chapter at a time with the kids and work on some of the strategies listed in the book.

What to Do When Your Temper Flares by Dawn Huebner  This book has lovely illustrations and goes through “anger dousing” methods.

Chillax!: How Ernie Learns to Chill Out, Relax and Take Charge of His Anger by Marcella Marino Craver  This is a graphic novel, perfect for the tween set.


Dealing With Anxiety

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn Classic about managing separation anxiety when kids start school. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher read this on our visit to school the first day.

When I miss you by Cornelia Maude Spelman This is perfect for little ones who have a hard time dealing with the fact that they are away from their parents during the day. It suggests a couple of things they can do to help and reassurance that parents will come back at the end of the day.

Wemberley Worried by Kevin Henkes (Kevin Henkes also wrote Chrysanthemum, one of my favorite books!) Poor Wemberley worries about everything, and then she gets really worried when she is about to start school.

Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook I love that when Wilma Jean’s physical reactions are described, they’re also illustrated. When is says she has knots in her stomach and her knees lock, her stomach really looks like it’s tied in a knot and there’s a real lock around her knees. I love the activity she does with her teacher, going over worries she can control and worries she can’t, it’s a great way to help kids manage their anxiety.

David and the Worry Beast by Anne Marie Guanci David’s anxiety is a beast, and the more anxious he gets, the bigger it grows. David learns to control his thoughts, and his beast shrinks. There’s also a couple of pages for parents and kids in the back.

When My Worries Get Too Big by Kari Dunn Buron This book is wonderful! There are several pages where kids can add in their own thoughts, worries and what helps them relax. This book also uses the 5 point scale to talk about stress and different ways to manage it.

What To Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner, PhD This book goes through several ways that can help kids manage anxiety, including setting a time for worries, thinking about things that make you happy and resetting your body with activity or relaxation. There are some interactive places in this book, where a child can write down their worries, draw some images of things that might help, etc.

What To Do When You’re Scared and Worried by James J. Crist This is one of my favorite books for kids to help them deal with anxiety. Near the beginning of the book is a checklist that helps kids narrow down what they are anxious about. The beginning of the book covers the basics of what anxiety is and how to help manage with coping skills. The next section of the book goes into detail about different types of anxiety kids might experience, including Separation Anxiety, Phobias and Panic Attacks.

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