There are so many great books available for teaching and practicing social-emotional skills like perspective-taking, friendship skills, theory of mind and accepting differences. Sometimes it’s challenging to find books that target these important social skills and also fit into a seasonal theme so I can use them in mixed groups! I’m often looking for winter-themed books that are not related to Christmas. Here are my top 5 pics for winter-themed books that also target social and emotional skills! I will start with my favorite:
This book by Nosy Crow and Axel Sheffler explores an all too familiar topic to those of us who teach younger children: how two animals deal with each having a different plan during play. Pip wants to build a snow rabbit and Posy wants to build a snow mouse. After using some unexpected methods of solving this problem, Pip and Posy finally end up finding a way to cooperate with each other. This is a great story for teaching cooperative play, using language to negotiate conflict and expected and unexpected ways of dealing with different ideas during play. Also a great book for working on perspective-taking.
This beautiful story by Miriam Moss and Maggie Kneen tells about a polar bear cub who misses his mother and decides to build a replica of her out of snow, a daunting task for a little bear. The forest animals each contribute their own special skill to help out their friend in the making of the snow bear. Another great book for teaching cooperative play, (they all worked together to get a job done for a friend), helping out a friend, what would you do to help a friend and tuning into the feelings of a friend.
You and your students will love this story with the whimsical illustrations of Jan Brett. The gingerbread baby wants a friend to call his own and goes on a hunt for a new friend, chanting “I’ll be friends with you if you’ll be friends with me!” to potential friends. However, these potential friends respond in some very unexpected ways: they don’t look at the gingerbread baby nor do they say any words back to him! The gingerbread baby is chased back home where he discovers a gingerbread house with new friends that act in more expected ways (they look at and talk to him!).
This awesome book by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger is a wonderful tool for teaching children the advantages of being an individual and staying true to yourself. Poor Tacky lives with a group of formal penguins (with descriptive names such as “Perfect” and “Goodly”) but Tacky marches to the sound of his own drum! In the end, Tacky saves his penguin friends from a group of hunters and shows his friends a thing or two about how wonderful it is to be different from the crowd! Also great for working on perspective-taking, theory of mind and point of view of all of the different characters in the book.
Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman present a hibernating bear whose forest friends have a party in his cave, cooking, eating, chatting, dancing (all expected things to do at a party) as the bear snores on (unexpected thing to do at a party). Eventually, the bear wakes up and is quite angry with his friends (grumbling, snarling etc) who then leave the cave, (“How did the friends feel?”). The bear breaks down crying and uses his words to tell his friends why he is sad. Now that they understand, they offer solutions to the problem and they ALL participate in another party. Great book for perspective-taking and theory of mind (“what is it that the bear wanted?”).
Check out the facebook live video I did on using books to develop emotional literacy and executive functions. I give lots of ideas for how to work on theory of mind using books! SLP Blogger Live Video
If you don’t have access to the books, all are currently on you-tube! Do you have any winter favorites for teaching social-emotional skills? I’d love to hear about them!