Books & Beyond

Picture Books: Big Changes, Big Feelings

By Lisa T.
August 21, 2021

Starting a new school year, moving, swimming in the deep end for the first time — big changes are often accompanied by big feelings. We’ve gathered some books for children about doing something new.  We looked for titles that address the inner thoughts and emotions of children.  We hope that that sharing one or two of these books will provide support for you and your children through times of change.  

A child’s life is full of new experiences, so we’ve included books to celebrate growing up, being brave and being you!

How can we help?  You can use our Library Bundle Request Form to get materials that focus on the specific needs of your child or family. 


Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari decides he’s ready to try jumping off the diving board, but when the big moment arrives, Jabari needs to work up the courage to take the leap.  His story will help kids facing fears about starting a new adventure. 

Lena’s Shoes are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma by Keith Calabrese and Juana Medina
Lena is excited about starting kindergarten, but her favorite shoes are very nervous! She convinces the shoes, and herself, to be brave.

The Magical Yet by Angela Diterlizzi
Each of us is accompanied by a special companion, the Yet. Can’t ride a bike? Yet! Yet is with us to offer encouragement in the face of obstacles and to remind us that learning something new takes patience and perseverance.

When you are Brave Pat Zietlow Miller
Encourages kids to find courage when starting something new.

The Day you Begin by Jacqueline Woodson; illustrated by Rafael López.
Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.

El Cucuy is Scared too by Donna Barba Higuera
Ramón and his monster, El Cucuy, who lives in his cactus, must confront their fears about living in a new place and beginning a new journey, in this unlikely friendship story that’s rooted in Mexican folklore.


The Color Monster by Anna Llenas
One day, Color Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through color.

I’m Worried by Michael Ian Black
Potato is plagued by worries about the future. His friends offer support and help him to cope with his anxiety.

Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival
A young girl’s sense of adventure and exploration vanishes when she discovers a Worry that grows and grows until she learns how to deal with it.

Worries are not Forever by Elizabeth Verkick
Explains what worries are, and how it feels to be worried; assures children that everyone, even grown-ups, feel worried, and offers strategies to cope with anxiety.

Ping by Ana Castillo
This sweet tale encourages emotional awareness, healthy communication, and kindness.


When Sadness Comes to Call by Manual De Usario
A young child experiences sadness as if it were a visitor, acknowledging the emotion and suggesting activities to do with it.


Life without Nico by Andrea Maturana, Francisco Javier Olea.
When Maia’s best friend Nico moves away, there is an empty hole in her life, and she experiences sadness of loneliness, uncertainty, and eventually the joy of new experiences.


Be You!  Peter H. Reynolds
Joyful encouragement to be yourself, to be kind and true to who you are, the newest offering by an author skilled at conveying emotional intelligence to kids. 

Sesame Street: Dream by Susanna Leonard Hill
Sesame Street friends encourage children to dream big, believe in themselves, and never give up!

You Matter by Christian Robinson
This beautiful and deceptively simple book repeats the refrain “you matter” validating the individuality of every child while also conveying our interconnectedness.

You are Ready! The World is Waiting by Eric Carle
Upbeat words of encouragement accompanied by images of animal youngsters “leaving the nest” and venturing out into the world, in Eric Carle’s signature collage style.