Recognizing & naming your emotions; having confidence and optimism
Ana Hibiscus’ Song, by Atinuke
The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz
A Gift from Papá Diego/Un Regalo de Papá Diego, by Benjamin Alire Saenez
How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods, by Saxton Freymann
In My Family, by Carmen Lomas Garza
I Love My Hair, by Natasha Anatasia Tarpley
Looking Like Me, by Walter Dean Myers
Lots of Feelings, by Shelley Rotner
Mama’s Sari’s, by Pooja Makhijani
Marisol MacDonald Doesn’t Match, by Monica Brown
Meet Danitra Brown, by Nikki Grimes
My Cold Plum, Lemon Pie, Bluesy Mood, by Tameka Fryer Brown
Too Many Tamales, by Gary Soto
The Way I Feel, by Janan Cain
The Three Names of Me, by Mary Cummings
Yesterday I Had the Blues, by Jeron Ashford Frame
Managing emotions and behaviors; working toward personal goals
Big Red Lollipop, by Rhuksana Khan
Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson (Novel)
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret, by Florence Parry Heide
Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan (Novel)
Grump, Groan, Growl, by Bell Hooks
The Heart of a Chief, by Joseph Bruchac (Novel)
Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream For Me, by Daniel Beaty
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes
Little Melba and her Trombone, by Katheryn Russell-Brown
Mouse Was Mad, by Linda Urban
My name is María Isabel, by Alma Flor Ada (Chapter book)
The Quiet Place, by Sarah Stewart
Rickshaw Girl, by Mitali Perkins (Chapter book)
Serafina’s Promise, by Ann E. Burg (Novel in verse)
Sky Sisters, by Jan Boudreau Waboose
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo, by Rachel Vail
Twist: Yoga Poems, by Janet Wong
Upside Down Boy, by Juan Felipe Herrara
Ability to take perspective of and empathize with others
Amelia’s Road, by Linda Jacob Altman
Back of the Bus, by Aaron Reynolds
The Colour of Home, by Mary Hoffman
Deep in the Sahara, by Kelly Cunnane
Goin’ Someplace Special, by Patricia McKissack
Halmoni’s Picnic, by Sook Nyul Choi
Here I Am, by Patti Kim
I Lost My Tooth in Africa, by Penda Diakité
I Love Saturdays y Domingos, by Alma Flor Ada
Indian Shoes, by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Short Stories)
Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai (Novel in verse)
Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt De La Pena
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match; Marisol McDonald No Combina, by Monica Brown
Mirror, by Jeannie Baker
Muskrat will be Swimming, by Cheryl Savageau
My Name is Bilal, by Asama Mobin-Uddin
My Name is Yoon, by Helen Recorvits
Nadia’s Hands, by Karen English
New Shoes, by Susan Myer
One Crazy Summer, Rita Williams Garcia (Novel)
Rain School, by James Rumford
Same, Same, But Different, by Jenny Sue Kostecki Shaw
Shades of People, by Shelly Rotner
Skin Again, by Bell Hooks
Suki’s Kimono, by Chieri Uekagi
Take Me Out to the Yakyu, by Aaron Meshon
The Ugly Vegetables, by Grace Lin
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
Building & maintaining positive relationships
Across the Alley, by Richard Michelson
Crossing Bok Chitto, by Tim Tingle
Danitra Brown Leaves Town, by Nikki Grimes
Dear Whiskers, by Ann Whitehead Nagda (Chapter book)
Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson
Extra Credit, by Andrew Clements (Novel)
Four Feet, Two Sandals, by Karen Williams
A Friendship for Today, by Patricia McKissack (Novel)
Grandfather Counts, by Andrea Cheng
Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, by Nikki Grimes
Margaret and Margarita/Margarita y Margaret, by Lynn Reiser
Matthew and Tilly, by Rebecca Jones
My Name is Sangoel, by Karen Williams and Khadra Mohammed
My Name is Bilal, by Asma Mobin-Uddin
My Way: A Mi Manera, by Lynn Reiser
Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi
The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson
Pink and Say, by Patricia Polacco
Sitti’s Secret, by Naomi Shihab Nye
Sumi’s First Day of School Ever, by Soyung Pak
Yo! Yes?, by Chris Raschka
Making decisions considering the well-being of self and others
Baseball Saved Us, by Ken Mochizuki
A Chair for my Mother, by Vera B. Williams
Crow Boy, by Taro Yashima
First Day in Grapes, by L. King Perez
Freedom Summer, by Deborah Wiles
Grandmama’s Pride, by Becky Birtha
Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, by Kathleen Krull
King for a Day, by Rhuksana Khan
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, by Gary D. Schmidt (Novel)
A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park (Novel)
Mama Provi and the Pot of Rice, by Sylvia Rosa Casanova
My Heart Will Not Sit Down, by Mara Rockcliff
Nasreen’s Secret School, by Jeannette Winter
New Shoes, by Susan Meyers
One, by Kathryn Otoshi
One Hen, by Katie Smith Milway
Rosa, by Nikki Giovanni
Sam and the Lucky Money, by Karen Chinn
Say Something, by Peggy Moss
Teammates, by Peter Golenbock
Unspoken, by Henry Cole
Wings, by Christopher Myers
2016 New Books to Spark Conversations
Books that have the potential to evoke strong feelings, broaden points of view, or raise questions for discussion.
Children's books: All Kinds of Courage
How can adults help children deepen children's understanding of the concept of courage? Sharing and discussing books with thematic ties to courage is certainly one way.
2016 New Children’s Books of Note
Recently published books for children, and one for educators and parents, with connections to SEL.
Children's Books Related to Gratitude
List of stories and poetry collections that describe characters who feel and express gratitude in different ways.
Children’s Literature that Supports SEL
Of the countless books that teachers use to shed light on such issues as friendship, inclusion, empathy, problem solving, or understanding differences, some titles stand out for being especially authentic and memorable.
Multicultural Children’s Literature that Supports SEL
This new literature list is organized by the five Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies, covers a range of ages, and includes books with multicultural themes.
Back to School: Different Perspectives
For students of all ages, "Back to School" is a phrase that evokes a wide range of emotions based on very different experiences. Check out Open Circle's 2014 Back-to-School Book List.
Getting to the Heart of Reading: Book recommendations for the summer
Social and emotional learning never takes a break! Check out this list of books to keep your students equipped with SEL concepts this summer.
Open Circle's Best of 2012 Children's Literature
Try the best books of 2012 to reinforce and teach social and emotional concepts.
Summer Book-Bag 2012: Stories That Spotlight Social and Emotional Themes
A list of books to read this summer that highlight Open Circle themes such as navigating relationships, handling conflicts and dealing with strong emotions.
Gifts of Goodwill: Books about Making a Difference
Demonstrate and reinforce compassion and acts of goodwill through this list of books!
Summer Reading for Heart & Mind
Check out this list of books for the summer to keep your children's minds active and filled with SEL concepts.
Novel Experiences — Bridges to Understanding
This list of books provides illustrations of how to accept differences and see situations from a more diverse and inclusive perspective.
A Call to Action: Bystanders in Children’s Literature
Start a healthy discussion about bullying and solutions for bullying using these books.
Illustrations with Impact: Books that Widen the Circle
Try illustrating Open Circle concepts with this list of picture books!
Teachers and Mentors in Literature
Try the skills these great teachers have succeeded with when trying to impact your students positively!
Problem-Solving Practice is an Open Book
Check out this list of books to demonstrate problem solving skills!
Literature that Connects to SEL and Academics
Here is a list of books that helps make explicit connections between social and emotional skills and academic learning!
Dimensions of Difference and Similarity in Literature
Realizing and learning how to respect differences can be just as important as finding similarities in a strong friendship. This list of books demonstrates how to create a strong friendship with differences in background.
Open Circle's "Top 25" List of Children's Literature
Help us celebrate our 25th anniversary by using these books to demonstrate Open Circle skills and concepts.
What's in a name? Everything!
Often, a name is more than just an identifier. This list of books explores what each character's name reveals about their personality and idenity.