National Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Week, plus International SEL Day on March 8, are celebrated to promote the benefits of Social and Emotional Learning.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social and emotional learning as

“the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.”

Celebrate National SEL Week in your classroom by utilizing children’s literature with SEL themes on LevelUp Reader.

Harnessing the Power of Children’s Literature

Children’s literature serves as a powerful tool for imparting SEL skills in a captivating and relatable manner in the classroom. Through compelling narratives, diverse characters, and thought-provoking themes, these stories offer invaluable opportunities for students to explore dealing with emotions, empathizing with others, and navigating social dynamics.

Exploring SEL in the Classroom: A Guide to SEL Books on LevelUp Reader

LevelUp’s extensive digital library offers many books that can be used to celebrate National SEL Week. Some of these stories have been categorized below according to the five main components of SEL — self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

These components are often represented as a framework for SEL programs and initiatives, providing a structured approach to nurturing students’ social and emotional development. By focusing on these core areas, educators can help students develop the skills and competencies needed to succeed academically, build positive relationships, and navigate the complexities of the modern world with confidence and resilience. The following examples are just some of the books in LevelUp Reader that support SEL.

The links below are provided as a convenience to LevelUp Reader users with an active subscription. Be sure to log in to LevelUp Reader before clicking on the book links.


Self-awareness is the understanding of one’s own emotions, thoughts, values, and strengths. The stories in these books focus on recognizing emotions as they arise, accurately assessing one’s abilities and limitations, and cultivating a positive self-image.

Alice the Armadillo: A Tale of Self-Discovery

Bella the Bear Believes in Herself

I’m Happy to Be Me! A Kid’s Book About Self-Confidence


Self-management involves managing one’s emotions, impulses, and behavior in various situations. These books have themes revolving around regulating emotions, controlling impulses, setting and working toward personal and academic goals, and demonstrating perseverance and resilience in the face of challenges.

Greg the Gecko Has a Goal: What’s Your Goal?

Hudson the Hippo: A Tale of Self-Control

I Do My Best! Working Hard

Social Awareness

Social awareness is understanding and empathizing with others’ perspectives, experiences, and emotions. Stories in these books involve recognizing and appreciating diversity, demonstrating empathy and compassion, and understanding social norms and cues.

Cate the Cat Cares: Caring for Others

How Do I Show I Care? Caring for Others

I Understand: Understanding Others

Relationship Skills

Relationship skills are ways people can build healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. These stories include characters communicating effectively, listening actively, cooperating with others, resolving conflicts constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Frank the Fish Makes a Friend

Let’s Be Friends

Our Team Wins! Working as a Team

Responsible Decision-Making

Responsible decision-making is achieved through ethical, constructive choices about personal and social behavior based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, and the well-being of oneself and others. The themes in these books support identifying problems, analyzing situations, evaluating consequences, and taking responsible actions.

Cairo the Camel: A Tale of Responsibility

I Am Honest

I Am Responsible

Celebrate National SEL Week

The integration of SEL with the captivating world of children’s literature offers a holistic approach to education that nurtures not only academic proficiency but also emotional intelligence, empathy, and interpersonal skills. By utilizing the power of stories to illuminate the human experience, educators empower students to navigate life’s complexities with compassion, resilience, and a deep appreciation for the richness of the human spirit. Incorporating these stories into our children’s reading lists beyond the celebration of National SEL Week will help cultivate a generation of empathetic and emotionally intelligent individuals, as we lay the foundation for a brighter, more compassionate future.

If you are a LevelUp Reader user with an active subscription, you can find more of our SEL titles by utilizing the search tab on your bookshelf, selecting the Category tab, then checking the box marked “Social and Emotional Learning.”

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