Becoming a person can be a mystifying experience – what are all these feelings rolling around inside? What, exactly, does it mean when someone smiles or cries? Introduce your little one to joy, sorrow, worry, and the sillies with one of these 12 books about feelings.

Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton

Toddler fave Sandra Boynton offers this adorable take on a wide range of emotions, from grumpy to contended. Vibrant, bubbly illustrations show each mood. In a sturdy board book format, this one is sure to stand up to kids who are just as excited as the emotional animals on the pages. Plus, the book ends on a sweet, uplifting note that’ll make readers smile.

Available at amazon.com, $4.79.

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Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama channels every toddler in this story about a frustration-packed outing that morphs into a full-on tantrum. Smooth rhymes show little ones that everyone gets mad sometimes, and the book will give both kids and parents ideas about how to prevent future meltdowns.

Available at amazon.com, $8.90.

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

The evocative language of In My Heart illuminates all sorts of feelings, from sorrow to joy, that will help little ones identify and understand emotions. The bright illustrations, including the friendly girl guiding readers through the layers of her heart, pop off of white pages. Consider this book a good basic overview of moods.

Available at amazon.com, $13.56.

Elmore by Holly Hobbie

Porcupine Elmore longs for friends, but he’s feeling just a bit too, well, prickly for buddies. This sweet tale of friendship shows that loneliness is a universal feeling. Holly Hobbie’s charming illustrations make this heartwarming story one you'll return to again and again at bedtime.

Available at amazon.com, $13.61.

Making Faces by Abrams Appleseed

Making Faces is a short board book that gives babies, who love to look at pictures of other tiny, adorable people, an engaging first introduction to feelings. The book encourages little ones to find and then mimic photographs of children who are surprised, happy, sad, angry and silly. Plus, it’s small and super-portable for on-the-go reading at the park or coffee shop.

Available at amazon.com, $7.95.

Love, Mama by Jeanette Bradley

Cuddly Kipling the penguin misses his mama desperately when she’s on a trip. This lovely story explores the universal experience of feeling sad when you miss someone, and the comfort that a heartfelt message and a long-awaited reunion can bring. Toddlers will learn about sadness, longing, joy and love through Jeanette Bradley’s story.

Available at amazon.com, $13.59.

Brave Enough for Two by Jonathan D. Voss

Olive and her buddy Hoot follow in the grand tradition of heartfelt stuffed animal & child tales that show little ones the power of friendshipthink Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin. Explore fear and bravery as you read about Olive and Hoot’s imaginative adventures.

Available at amazon.com, $14.58.

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

Grumpy Bird wakes up, well, you guessed it: grumpy. Follow along as he slowly but surely cheers up and breaks into a smile. The bright illustrations communicate Grumpy Bird’s feelings to toddlers listening to this one during story time. Choose from hardcover, paperback or board book editions.

Available at amazon.com, $6.99.

The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas

Swirling, whirling emotions can make anyone feel like a monster. Luckily, The Color Monster is here to walk little ones through a description of all different kinds of feelings with the help of eye-catching pop-up illustrations.

Available at amazon.com, $13.96.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

In Wemberly Worried, award-winning author-illustrator Kevin Henkes leads kids on an exploration of anxiety and worries of all sizes. Everyone gets a little worried sometimes, and, with any luck, we too will find a friend to walk with us through our anxiety just like Wemberly the mouse does.

Available at amazon.com, $6.99.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

A little girl gets an amazing, wonderful idea for a project, but it's not easy to bring her idea into reality. In Ashley Spires’ inspiring, relatable book, a budding inventor goes from excitement to frustration and, finally, pride. The Most Magnificent Thing is a charming, funny introduction to emotions, creativity and perseverance.

Available at amazon.com, $14.01.

My Friend Is Sad by Mo Willens

Exuberant Piggie and worried Gerald the elephant are best friends. Each of Mo Willems' award-winning Elephant and Piggie books introduces little storylovers to emotions, from jealousy in My New Friend is So Fun to crankiness in I Will Take a Nap! In My Friend Is Sad, Piggie does her very best to cheer up her sad buddy. As always, Mo Willems’ clever illustrations, from Gerald's droopy trunk to Piggie’s eye-popping antics, show the characters’ feelings.

Available at amazon.com, $7.99.

— Oz Spies

featured photo: Picsea via Unsplash