Mental Health Awareness Month | Children's Book Recommendations & Literacy Activities
Comprehension Questions to Ask Throughout a Story
Reading with your child is one of the best ways to explore social emotional learning. Keep these general comprehension questions in mind when reading with your child, and check out our featured list of social emotional children's books featuring Black main characters below.
5 Social Emotional Children's Books With Black Main Characters
1. Jabari Jumps, written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
He's good at jumping, so he's not scared at all. But when his father takes his hand, Jabari pushes back. Either way, he'll need to figure out what specialty jumps to do and he'll need to stretch before climbing the diving board. Cornwall captures the moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined boy who can't help but cheer in a sweet and charming tale of overcoming fear.
What a live read-aloud of 'Jabari Jumps' read by Sheryl Lee Ralph
2. Allie All Along, written by Sarah Lynne Reul
Have you ever felt mad enough to stomp around and turn red? Allie has! With the understanding of her big brother, Allie uses different tools to shed her strong, angry emotion and calm down bit by bit.
Watch a live read-aloud of Allie All Along by Sarah Lynne Reul
3. B Is For Breathe: The ABCs of Coping with Fussy and Frustrating Feelings, written by Melissa Boyd
An inclusive, unique, and fun ABC book, B is for Breathe highlights many tools children can use to process big emotions while recognizing letters. Eye-catching illustrations and easy strategies to cope with fussy and frustrating feelings, B is for Breathe is a great go-to book for kids to take a moment to soothe themselves.
Watch a live read-aloud of B Is for Breathe here.
4. My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood, written by Tameka Fryer Brown
Jamie uses color and rhythmic text to capture the mood of the day as he transitions from a "loose green vibe" when he's drawing to his sister to a "gloomy black vibe" when he's teased. What does it take to get Jamie back in the mood? Jamie teaches young readers to explain their emotions in a unique way.
Watch a live read-aloud of My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood
5. Ruby Finds a Worry, written by Tom Percival
Ruby is a cheerful, curious and imaginative girl. But one day she discovers something unexpected. She is worried It's not a big concern at first. But everyday it got bigger and bigger, and eventually her worries grew and she could only think about it. But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she learns that everyone has trouble, and that there are great ways to get rid of it. . . She just needs to share her feelings.
Watch a live read-aloud of Ruby Finds a Worry
3 Mental Health Awareness Activities for Kids
Incorporate multi-sensory activities into your exploration of social emotional learning with these fun ideas:
1. Retelling Feelings Dance - Makeup dance moves to show moods during a read-aloud. For example, in "Allie All Along," Allie is raging RED once she breaks her crayon. An angry dance is stomping around and clenched fists!
2. Picture Reading Faces - Skim through magazines or picture books and have young readers point out different illustrations of faces with strong emotions. Talk about these emotions together, what do they feel and look like in real life.
3. Building Feelings Vocabulary Survey - Download a free printable feelings vocabulary survey to use with your child.
Read to Succeed Asheville/Buncombe (R2S) is a local, independent nonprofit on a mission to help close the