After more than a year indoors, parents are looking for ways to help their children learn the crucial social and emotional skills so they can be school-ready by the fall.
With that in mind, we wanted to curate our June recommendations to not only support social skills for kids but also identify books that are useful tools to help teach social skills and tackle social-emotional issues for parents.
We scoured the internet and several best-selling book lists to see what titles are trending, and here are the titles we think your family will enjoy.
Recommendations for Children
Rulers of the Playground
A funny, relatable story about how becoming “rulers” of the playground, in the end, is less fun than playing together and sharing. “A great choice for the beginning of the school year.”*
This picture book about sharing, friendship, and kindness in a playground setting will remind you of favorites such as This Is Not My Hat from Jon Klassen and The Day the Crayons Quit from Drew Daywalt.
Stick and Stone
by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld
When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor?
Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare.
In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children’s literature.
Home is In Between
by Mitali Perkins and Lavanya Naidu
In the timely yet timeless picture book Home Is in Between, critically acclaimed author Mitali Perkins and illustrator Lavanya Naidu describe the experience of navigating multiple cultures and embracing the complex but beautiful home in between.
Shanti misses the warm monsoon rains in India. Now in America, she watches fall leaves fly past her feet. Still, her family’s apartment feels like a village: Mama cooking luchi, funny stories in Bangla, and Baba’s big laugh. But outside, everything is different – trick-or-treating, ballet class, and English books. Back and forth, Shanti trudges between her two worlds. She remembers her village and learns her new town. She watches Bollywood movies at home and Hollywood movies with her friends. She is Indian. She is also American. How should she define home?
My Very Own Space
by Pippa Goodhart and Rebecca Crane
A little rabbit is trying to read his book in peace, but there’s so much going on around him! Maybe he needs some space just for himself…
With minimal text accompanying beautiful and sweet illustrations, this charming picture book explores ideas of personal space and sharing in a way that even very young children can enjoy.
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie
by Laura Rankin
Ruthie loves little things-the smaller the better. So when she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground one afternoon, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there’s one little problem: It isn’t hers.
Ruthie swears to her teacher and to her classmate Martin that she got the camera for her birthday. But deep down, Ruthie knows better, and all day long that teeny tiny camera weighs on her conscience until she can hardly stand it. How could one little camera turn into such a great big problem?
Recommendations for Parents
Screen Kids: 5 Relational Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World
by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane
In Screen Kids Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will empower you with the tools you need to make positive changes. Through stories, science, and wisdom, you’ll discover how to take back your home from an overdependence on screens. Plus, you’ll learn to teach the five A+ skills that every child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention. Learn how to:
- Protect and nurture your child’s growing brain
- Establish simple boundaries that make a huge difference
- Recognize the warning signs of gaming too much
- Raise a child who won’t gauge success through social media
- Teach your child to be safe online
A Grown-Up’s Guide To Kids’ Wiring
Whether you’re a parent, teacher, coach, grandparent, or the fun uncle in your family, YOU HAVE PROBABLY TRIED TO “FIX” A CHILD.
We’ve all said things like, “He has to calm down.” “She has to speak up!” “Why won’t they just do what I tell them to do?”No matter the age or stage, kids are . . . hard. But understanding their wiring might change the way you look at (and speak to) every child that crosses your path from this day forward.
Communication expert Kathleen Edelman has spent three decades helping grown-ups make sense of the kids around them. The result? Better behavior, better relationships. In this book and the six videos that go along with it (free on YouTube), she’ll do the same thing for you and the kids in your family, in your classroom, or on your team.
The Relationally Intelligent Child
by John Trent PhD and Dewey Wilson PhD
Most parents today understand brokenness and loneliness when it comes to relationships. Then comes the need to teach relationship skills to their children! Having experienced isolation and loneliness on their own, parents can be terribly aware of how much their own children need and long for relationships.
The Relationally-Intelligent Child teaches parents the crucial insights of a must grasp concept: relational intelligence. This tool for growth and connection will not only change a child’s life, but also a parent’s own relationships. You’ll discover five key elements that can engage and equip your child with skills for being relationally intelligent with family, friends, and others.
Hunt, Gather, Parent
In Hunt, Gather, Parent, Doucleff sets out with her three-year-old daughter in tow to learn and practice parenting strategies from families in three of the world’s most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania. She sees that these cultures don’t have the same problems with children that Western parents do. Most strikingly, parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop—it’s built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones.
How to Raise an Adult
In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.
Relevant to parents of toddlers as well as of twentysomethings–and of special value to parents of teens–this book is a rallying cry for those who wish to ensure that the next generation can take charge of their own lives with competence and confidence.