Looking for a gift that will keep your child entertained — and help them learn crucial social and emotional skills without even realizing it? Here are 10 engaging EQ books for kids that fit the bill. Read on!

do-unto-otters-260x340Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners
written and illustrated by Laurie Keller

Age level: 5-8

EQ skills it addresses: manners, empathy, integrity, good attitude, feeling identification, flexibility, taking turns

When a trio of otters moves next door to Mr. Rabbit, he’s worried. Will they be good neighbors? Mr. Owl tells him to just to keep in mind the old saying: “Do unto otters as you would have otters do unto you.” Kids love the hilarious examples (Otter to Mr. Rabbit: “I’m sorry I used your ear as a tissue.” Mr. Rabbit to Otter: “I’m sorry I called you ‘Snotter.’”) and the colorful, cartoonish drawings. Keller has managed to turn a book covering all the etiquette bases into a fun, entertaining romp.


qs-coloring-book-260x360Q’s Coloring Book, written by Sofia Dickens and illustrated by Brandon Jeffords

Age level: 3-6

EQ skills it addresses: feeling identification, focus, organization, confidence, humility, self-control, persistence

As they color in his wild adventures, kids learn to help the adorable monkey Q (and themselves) navigate social situations. Kids love the “What should Q do?” scenarios, which give them the chance to tell someone else what to do for a change. Plus, the book features activities including mazes, puzzles and games that build emotional intelligence, such as matching feelings to faces. And the perforated pages make it easy to tear out pages to share with siblings or friends.


llama-llama-time-to-shareLlama Llama Time to Share, written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney

Age level: 3-5

EQ skills it addresses: feeling identification, sharing, flexibility, friendship, collaboration, communication

Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu get along great until Nelly starts playing with Llama’s favorite stuffed animal, Fuzzy. Llama tries to snatch Fuzzy back in a tug-of-war that ends with Fuzzy’s arm being pulled off. While Mama Llama sews him back up, Llama and Nelly learn to make peace, share and have fun together again. Featuring expressive paintings that bring the story to life, this book is part of the wonderful Llama Llama series, all of which deal with emotional and behavioral issues.


have-you-filled-a-bucket-today-260x200Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, written by Carol McCloud and illustrated by David Messing

Age level: 4-9

EQ skills it addresses: helping, feeling identification, initiative, good attitude, service, empathy, generosity

According to this kids’ how-to-be-kind guide, “everyone carries an invisible bucket. You feel happy and good when your bucket is full… and sad and lonely when your bucket is empty.” When you’re nice to others, you fill their buckets — and your own. The illustrations, featuring characters of various ages, races and abilities, bring home the “everyone” message.

Note: Get the 10th anniversary edition of this book, updated to explain that you can fill your own bucket too. It also includes mentions of “bucket dipping” and “bullying” instead of “bucket dippers” and “bullies,” letting kids know that these behaviors don’t have to be permanent labels.


amos-boris-260x225Amos & Boris, written and illustrated by William Steig

Age level: 5-8

EQ skills it addresses: friendship, perseverance, grit, generosity, collaboration, flexibility, empathy

Amos the mouse sets sail in a boat he’s built himself, only to fall overboard and nearly drown before being rescued by Boris the whale. Thus begins a long journey across the sea, with Amos hitching a ride on Boris’s back to get back home. Along the way, the creatures become the best of friends, though they know they have to part ways eventually. Still, Amos is forever grateful to Boris for saving his life — and when Boris needs him, somehow Amos finds a way to return the favor. Illustrated with delicate ink and watercolors, this touching tale of resilience and selfless love stays with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

Note: The description of Amos’s near demise can be scary for young or sensitive kids, especially at bedtime.


a-big-guy-took-my-ball-260x360A Big Guy Took My Ball, written and illustrated by Mo Willems

Age level: 6-8

EQ skills it addresses: listening, friendship, collaboration, conflict management, flexibility, communication, innovativeness

Piggie is distraught — someone took her big ball! Best friend Elephant tries to get it back, only to discover a huge whale’s got it. Turns out it’s his “little” ball, but no one will play with him because he’s too big. Fortunately, Elephant and Piggie make up a new game they can all play together, and everyone lives happily ever after. This book is part of the all-around excellent Elephant and Piggie series, sure to tickle kids and adults alike with their simple drawings and silly storylines, even as the books deliver serious lessons about self-awareness, kindness and friendship.


qs-wild-ride-260x325Q’s Wild Ride Read-Along Storybook & CD
written by Sofia Dickens and illustrated by Brandon Jeffords

Age level: 3-6

EQ skills it addresses: initiative, innovativeness, helping, humility, listening, social maturity, good attitude

Q is a cute, lovable genius monkey with a lot to learn when it comes to behavior, social skills and self-control. Join Q on a wild hoverboard ride as he races to get to the ballpark on time for the game, learning to consider others’ needs along the way. This storybook/CD combo is a great way for kids to practice their reading and listening skills as Q’s adventure comes to life in the car, classroom or home. The CD includes narration, page-turn signals and fun sound effects.


It's Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr

It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
written and illustrated by Todd Parr

Age level: 3-6

EQ skills it addresses: resilience, flexibility, optimism, self-confidence

With bright primary-colored drawings and bold handwritten text, this book is a delight for little ones who are still learning to do things for themselves, but can’t stand messing up in the meantime. Parr lists common kids’ “uh-oh”s and reassurances for each one — for example, an illustration of a penguin jumping in the water upside-down promises “It’s okay if you are clumsy”; the next page shows more penguins following suit and says, “You might invite a new move.” The book ends with this reminder: “It’s okay to make mistakes. Everyone does. That’s how we learn.”


horton-hears-a-who-260x360Horton Hears a Who!, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss

Age level: 5-9

EQ skills it addresses: conscientiousness, helping, confidence, empathy, dependability, service, conflict management

This Dr. Seuss classic teaches kids to do what’s right, not what’s easy. When Horton the elephant hears a yelp for help coming from a speck of dust, he springs into action to save the tiny creature, since “after all, a person’s a person, no matter how small.” But Horton has to muster all his bravery and self-confidence to stand up for the speck’s inhabitants to the rest of the animals, who think he’s lost his marbles and aren’t afraid to tell him so.


frog-and-toad-are-friends-260x380Frog and Toad Are Friends, written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel

Age level: 4-8

EQ skills it addresses: initiative, helping, humility, self-confidence, listening, good attitude, friendship

With its charming drawings and sincere storylines, this collection explores the enduring affection between cautious Toad and happy-go-lucky Frog. The five stories within deal with patience, determination, self-assurance, kindness and more, concluding with “The Letter,” a bittersweet tale about waiting for the mail and the power of friendship that’s guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings. This is the first of the Frog and Toad series, all of which celebrate the loyalty and kinship between these two lovable amphibians.