Coping with Tough Feelings

We all feel tough feelings and coping with them is one important lesson. It’s a lesson I do every year in every grade. Here are a few books I used to talk about coping with our tough feelings.

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days  by Shelley Becker


Activity:  We practice some of the ideas shared in the book- like taking a mindful moment or “shaking it off.” We also get some exercise with our favorite GoNoodles!

I have an giant activity pack full of games, assessments, writing prompts and mindful activities. Get the set here.

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You can also partner with this game from Whole Hearted School Counseling

Even Superheroes Make Mistakes  by Shelley Becker

Tough feelings caused by perfectionism? Use this book to talk about growth mindset, apologizing, and accepting mistakes.


Activity: I have an activity pack full of cooperative learning games, assessments, writing prompts and more. Get the full set here.

Ruby Finds A Worry by Tom Percival

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Sometimes a worry finds you and takes over. Ruby finds this out and decides she wants to get rid of this worry! I love that in this book she also learns she’s not alone.

Activity:  Check out my activity packet 

Wemberly Worried by K. Henkes 


Activity:  Ask students to complete the prompt “Wemberly worried about…. I worry about….” and draw what they worry about.

You can also check out this activity from TPT or lesson plan from Scholastic.

Silly Billy by A. Browne

Activity: Draw or make your own worry dolls.

It’s Tough To Lose Your Balloon by J. Krosoczka

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Another book I use every year! This book helps students find the silver lining- it’s tough to get wet shoes, but it sure is fun go barefoot. There are so many patterns in the book (including that the background colors make a rainbow)- ask your students to find them all.

Activity: Make a positive mindset balloon. On one side right down something that is tough and on the other the silver lining. You can get this activity and many more in my activity set.


What’s Inside Your Backpack by Jessica Sinarski

Zoey our main character is dealing with a lot! Many of the same things are students deal with:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Worry over a change in a routine- having a substitute teacher
  • Feelings of shame
  • Family changes
  • Trauma- domestic violence and abuse
  • 1st day jitters
  • The body’s reaction to all of the above (tight muscles, headaches, etc.)
Read more about the book here.


Using my activity set have students create their own “backpacks” with tools for coping!


The What If’s by Emily Kilgore


This book is wonderful for introducing the idea of how our “What If” thoughts can cause us more stress and anxiety. CBT is a great way to tackle stress and changing unhelpful thoughts to helpful thoughts is a great coping skill.

Activity:  Use my activity packet to have students change their mindset and discuss helpful thoughts. 

Mindful Bea and The Worry Tree by Gail Silver

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Worries can grow like branches and before you know it get out of control. This book helps students understand they can take over their worries, before their worries take over them.

Activity: Use my activity packet to help students change unhelpful thought patterns.

Good News, Bad News by Mack

Sometimes it’s hard to see the good in the bad, but this adorable picture books gets kids to see the “other side” of the bad. A great way to introduce mindset.

Activity: Do you have virtual students that are struggling to be at home? Do you have in person students that hate wearing a mask. Use my game to help them find the “good” in this “bad” year.

The Boy With Big, Big Feelings by Britney Lee

Sometimes students want to stuff their feelings down. They are tempted to hide their true feelings or even pretend they aren’t worry. Sometimes the most important step is finding the courage to say you are having a tough feeling.

Activity: Play a feelings match game!

The Worrysaurus by Rachel Bright The Worrysaurus (9781408356135): Bright, Rachel: Books

Although this little dinosaur is a prepared dinosaur, he learns that things don’t always go according to plan. When rain may ruin his perfect day, negative thinking takes over. This little dinosaur learn the power of positive thinking and shares his “happy bag” of favorite things that calm him down.

Activity:  Have students create their own happy bag and ask them to practice changing their thoughts with my activity pack.


When Worry Takes Hold by Liz Haske


Often worries feel dark and all encompassing. This book helps students understand how worries can make us feel and how we can handle them.

Activity: Partner this with my feel better plan.

The Awfulizer : Learning To Overcome The Shame Game by Kristin Maher

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Just because we make a mistake, doesn’t mean we are a mistake. That is the theme of this book. The main character James learns just how powerful the tough feeling of shame is and how to overcome it. Read my book review here.

Books that are also guides with built in activities:

What To Do When You’re Scared and Worried by James Crist

What To Do When You Worry Too Much by D. Huebner

CBT Workbook For Kids


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Need more?

Find more books here:

See my personal list of books I own with categories and links to activities here. To Edit Click File  and “Make a copy”!

Find videos to partner with books here:

Pawsitive School Counselor You Tube Page


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