Here’s a list of suggested books to read with kids to help and reinforce your “brat-proofing” efforts (see NYT article in brat-proofing post). You’ll notice many are not directly related to manners or impulse control. Many are about feelings.


Why? Because children have to learn about their own feelings before they can imagine others’ feelings. To grow into a healthy human being, one must develop awareness of feelings, be able to label and talk about them, as well as accept them, even the negative ones. And children need adult help with this learning process every step along the way.

When a person begins to understand their own feelings, then they can begin to understand others’. Then empathy and manners make sense.

  • How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods by Freymann
  • When Sophie Gets Angry by Bang
  • Sometimes I’m Bombaloo by Vail
  • Mean Soup by Everitt
  • The Day Leo Said “I Hate You” by Harris
  • Little Rabbit’s Christmas by Horse
  • The All-I-Ever-Want Christmas Doll by McKissack
  • Four Feet, Two Sandals by Williams
  • Not Afraid of Dogs by Pitzer
  • The Little Bit Scary People by Jenkins
  • Hannah Duck by Yamamura
  • When a Pet Dies by Mr. Rogers
  • Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Rosen
  • Ernest and Celestine by Vincent
  • Emily’s Sharing and Caring Book by Senning
  • How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food by Yolen
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by DiCamillo

And finally, I love the parents in these two:

  • Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild by Fox
  • Fancy Nancy by O’Connor

And the BEST book on discipline (which is another word for brat-proofing) I’ve ever run across; it’s out of print but used copies are available on Amazon. It’s straightforward, simple, short, and covers all the bases.

  • Parents’ Guide to Understanding Discipline: Infancy through Pre-Teen by Grisanti and Balter

Let me know what you think!