Sensitive Kids in Sensitive Books (For ages 4 – 12)
All the books in this list explore the experiences of sensitive kids, from their joyful awakening to the treasures they discover in the world around them, to the problems and challenges super sensitive kids encounter in an aggressive, overstimulated world. Read these books for sensitive kids with your child. Talk with your child about the experiences the characters in these books enjoy or dread and what these characters learn from their experiences as sensitive kids.
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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz~ Nothing—absolutely nothing—goes right for Alexander from the moment he wakes up with gum in his hair to his bedtime when he’s forced to sleep in his railroad train pjs. He wonders if he might be better off moving to Australia. How he comes to recognize that everyone has a lousy day from time to time is a very entertaining development in his story. Cruz’s perky illustrations capture Alexander’s drama and his testy temperament. Ages 5-9.
All Too Much for Oliver by Leila Boukraim, illustrated by Barbara Moxham~ A very quiet boy, Oliver steers clear of noise and crowded places and prefers playing alone in the privacy of his room. Will Odile, a new friend, be successful at getting Oliver to take a risk and accompany her to the playground? What if it’s noisy there? Delicate line drawing capture Oliver’s changing moods. Ages 6-8.
The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr~ A grieving goldfish moves through a range of emotions triggered by loss, including confusion, sadness, anger, and lack of joy. The hope is that a loving person will always be there to offer comfort and assist with healing deep feelings. Does that hope become a reality? Illustrations in bold, bright colors provide a sense of an emerging recovery through comforting memories. Ages 4-6.
The Great Big Feelings: A Story for Sensitive Children by C. M. Tolentino~ Wake up to the idea that it’s absolutely okay to feel many feelings strongly. Lively rhymes and vibrant illustrations point the way to a child’s sensitivity to noises, bright lights, stressful situations, and feeling others’ emotions. The author offers practical advice for how to recognize, accept, manage, and celebrate the special gift of sensitivity. Ages 8-12.
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, illustrated by Geoff Stevenson~ Which child or adult has not had to face loneliness and separation at some point in their life? Twins Jeremy and Liza begin to understand that whether they are separated by distance or even death, love is the connection—the invisible string—that joins them with the people they care for as well as with everyone the world over. We aren’t ever really—truly—alone. Child-like drawings add to the tender message. Ages 4-8.
Master of Mindfulness: How to Be Your Own Superhero in Times of Stress by Laurie Grossman~ The kids in Mr. Musumeci’s 5th grade class offer their peers the guidance needed to use mindfulness activities to deal with strong emotions. Mixed media drawings by real kids, stories about how mindfulness can help you cope in different stressful situations, and links to audio recordings produced by Mr. Musumeci’s students illustrate ways for kids to feel better, make good decisions, and face the issues and problems they meet on any given day. Ages 5-12.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.~ When the story’s unnamed girl fails at making the most magnificent thing, her anger causes her to abandon the project. Can her faithful dog encourage her to learn about patience and perseverance and get her to take up her project with renewed determination? The author’s use of action words in groups of three provides an opportunity for language enrichment through verb searches that can be used to extend the girl’s story. Ages 3-6.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats~ For Peter, the first snowfall is a good time to experience the wonderful sights and sounds discovered on a snowy day. Peter marvels, romps, and closely observes as he sets his imagination in motion and gathers first-snow impressions. Such a sensitive kid! A perfect story for encouraging kids to write nature poems. For practical plans to guide kids to write poetry, try: Teaching 10 Fabulous Forms Of Poetry: Great Lessons, Brainstorming Sheets, and Organizers for Writing Haiku, Limericks, Cinquains, and Other Kinds of Poetry Kids Love (Teaching Strategies) by Paul Janeczko. Another type of poetry kids like to write is a memory poem. Encourage kids to recall fun times they had in nature with friends, parents, and siblings. Have them draw on their memories to develop memory poems. Directions for writing a memory poem can be found at https://anthonymannabooks.com/poetry-for-teens.
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall~ It’s not always easy to find the courage to be true to your inner self. Red’s problem is that he’s a blue crayon with a red label. It doesn’t matter that his caregivers try to convince him to be red; he just can’t be swayed. What should he do? What does he do? Observe what happens when a new friend enters Red’s life. Surprise awaits. Hall’s colorful illustrations convey a range of strong emotions. Ages 4-8.
I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H.Reynolds~ An unnamed boy of color proves that it’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s just as important to understand the power of making good choices, including offering the gift of a kind word, a peaceful gesture, and an apology, when it’s appropriate to do so. Empathy and compassion thrive here to affirm the possibility of connectedness among all of us. The “wellness series” by Verde and Reynolds continues with I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness and I Am Yoga. Ages 4-8.