SEL Titles to Add to Your Young Reader Library

Books that Support CASEL’s Key Competencies

Mar 11 · 4 min read

By John Slagle, Senior Curriculum Specialist, McGraw-Hill

To further support educators as they cultivate confidence, compassion, empathy, emotional awareness, and problem-solving skills in their students, we have put together a list of young reader books that draw on social and emotional learning (SEL) themes. Each of these books connects with CASEL’s key competencies and will help shape students into successful citizens. See below for our recommended list. What SEL-focused books do your students enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments!

Emotional Self-Regulation

Manages feelings, emotions, and words with decreasing support from adults.

Behavioral Self-Regulation

Manages actions, behaviors, and words with decreasing support from adults.

Relationships and Prosocial Behaviors

Engages in and maintains positive relationships and interactions with familiar adults and children.

Social Problem Solving

Uses basic problem-solving skills to resolve conflicts with other children.


Recognizes self as a unique individual as well as belonging to a family, community, or other groups; expresses confidence in own skills.


Expresses creativity in thinking and communication.


Demonstrates initiative and independence.

Task Persistence

Sets reasonable goals and persists to complete the task.

Logic and Reasoning

Thinks critically to effectively solve a problem or make a decision.

Planning and Problem Solving

Uses planning and problem-solving strategies to achieve goals.

Flexible Thinking

Demonstrates flexibility in thinking and behavior.

John Mark Slagle is the Senior National Curriculum Specialist for Literacy at McGraw-Hill. John works in schools and school districts around the world partnering to develop teacher capacity and student engagement. His work, at all grade levels, includes advising the development of instructional resources and the shaping highly interactive professional learning opportunities. John participated in the Comer School Redevelopment Project at Yale University and is the co-author with Angela Maiers, of The Parent Teacher Partnership: Making the Most of the Middle Years.

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Inspired Ideas

Resources, ideas, and stories for PreK-12 educators. We focus on learning science, educational equity, social and emotional learning, and evidence-based teaching strategies. Be sure to check out The Art of Teaching Project, our guest blogging platform for all educators.

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