What is Social Emotional Learning?

You have probably heard of SEL which means Social Emotional Learning. Why is it important for children to learn SEL? Emotions are important and it is important to be aware that our students and our children have big emotions. I feel like as parents and educators we have become more empathetic to others feelings, especially helping children learn how to express those feelings. The process begins at a very early age, even in infancy, because children are developing important cognitive connections and it sets them up to have emotional awareness.

5 Pillars to Emotional Awareness

  1. Self-Awareness:  The ability to recognize our emotions.
  2. Self-Regulation:  The ability to control our reactions to our feelings.
  3. Empathy:  The ability to understand the emotions of other people. 
  4. Social Skills: Using emotional intelligence to build strong social relationships.
  5. Internal Motivation: The ability to think about an identify what’s causing us to feel the way we do.

Support the 5 Pillars

  1. Make time for Read Alouds
  2. Give kids time to process information
  3. Ask kids reflection questions
  4. Emphasize new vocabulary words

There are many SEL Picture Books available that are English, Spanish, and Bilingual. The following list is only 9 of the many SEL Picture Books out there. Enjoy!


El Monstruo de Colores

Type: Hardcover

Have you met the Color Monster? It’s a monster that has multiple colors all over his body fur because he has mixed up all of his emotions. Watch how a little girl helps the Color Monster understand each emotion related to each color.  Yellow = Happiness, what do you feel when you are happy? Blue = Sadness, how do you feel when you are sad? Read this book in Spanish to learn how to help your little ones understand what each emotion may feel like.    

Watch the Read Aloud Here: Youtube.com


El Pez Pucheros

Type: Board Book

A Pouty fish swims in the deep ocean, always being pouty and always lets everyone know that he feels very sad and that’s just the way he is. Everyone he encounters tries to suggest something to try so he can feel better, but he feels like there is nothing to be done that’s just the way he is, Sad. Until the very end when he has an AHA! Moment. This book teaches littles that it is okay to feel sad, and people may ask you what is wrong as well as try to cheer you up, that it’s never too late to turn your frown upside down. 

Watch the Spanish Read Aloud Here:  Youtube.com


Mi Cuerpo Me Envia Una Senal

Type: Paperback

Why do our bodies send us signals? This book explains some of the signals our bodies send us when we get exciting news, spend quality time, showing others our projects, when we feel scared and many more events that may happen. Kids can learn vocabulary about how they may feel after our bodies send us signals. They can learn how to describe how and what they feel. At the end of the book, you will find different questions that give kids an opportunity to share how they feel  and invites parents to engage in conversations with their kids. A great addition to your SEL Picture Books Collection.

Watch the  English Version of this Read Aloud: Youtube.com


Te Amo Cuando Estas Enojado

Type: Paperback

Sometimes kids don’t know that we love them no matter what kind of day they are having or what mistakes they have made. They need to learn that we all have emotions that come up and that no matter what they are feeling, they are still loved. It is also important to help kids understand those feelings come up as well as identify the reason they came up. I like how this book has questions that you can ask kids about their day and how they felt about those events. 

Watch the Spanish Read Aloud Here: Youtube.com


Encuentra Tu Calma

Type: Paperback

Identifying our feelings and emotions is important, but helping kids find their calm is also as important. How do we help kids healthy coping skills that will help them self-regulate? This book gives really good tips on helping kids find their peace. Imagine how proud kids will feel when they can regulate their own feelings? Even though they are able to do this for themselves, remind them that it is still ok to ask for help when they feel overwhelmed and need help finding tools to help them process their feelings. 

Find the Spanish Read Aloud Here: Youtube.com


Cuando Estoy Enfadado

Type: Hardcover

What to do when you are very upset? You can takirae deep breaths, go to a safe place, talk to someone you trust, sometimes you forget what you made you upset. At the end of this book you will find a message about Self-Esteem and how parents and caregivers can nurture that for childre under their care. 

Watch the Spanish Read Aloud Here: Youtube.com


Cool Down and Work Through Anger // Calmate y supera la ira 

Type: Paperback

In this Bilingual Book, we follow a little boy during different events that he goes through at school and at home with his family.  This is great book to help kids learn what to do in different scenarios that they may find themselves in, like if they want to play with a group of kids and that group says no. What should you do instead? What feelings come up? What are some other options they can choose? It’s important to talk about because these things can happen at school with their classmates or at home with their siblings. Let’s watch the Read Aloud Here: Youtube.com


¿Por que Lloramos?

Type: Hardcover

Why do we cry? This is a question little Mario asks his mom while they sit on a bench. Mom thinks about her answer and lets him know all the reasons why someone might cry. Tears of joy, tears of growth, tears of loneliness, and many more different reasons that we cry. Crying is a natural response to many of the emotions we feel. Let’s celebrate the safe spaces that we have to shed a tear by reading this thoughtful book. Watch the Spanish Read Aloud Here:  Youtube.com


Mi amigo esta triste

Type: Hardcover 

I love this Friendship Duo Series by Mo Willems. This book is a simple way to teach kids that they can rely on those they trust to open up and share their feelings. I also like that there are many simple sentences that you can have your kids practice reading their Spanish. Watch the Spanish Read Aloud Here: Youtube.com


I invite you to look into a couple of the SEL Picture Books listed above. They will help with conversations that you may want to have with your family. Sometimes we as adults have trouble explaining and guiding kids with their emotions but that’s why we have books to help us with these kind of topics. If you would like to find more SEL Picture Books and support independent owned bookstores check out my blog post about Latinx Owned Bookstores


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