Conflict resolution is a term often used in corporate settings, but it’s an essential life skill for everyone, including children. Children are just starting to learn about their feelings, how to regulate them, and how to understand the feelings and needs of others. They depend on adults to help guide them, but it can be challenging for parents and other guardians to know exactly how to talk about conflict in a kid-friendly way. Thankfully, there are many children’s books that address conflict resolution skills like listening, empathy, compromise, sharing, and more! Here are 15 examples:
This book for 3-5-year-olds follows two squirrels: Cyril and Bruce. Cyril has failed to plan for the winter and finds himself with no food. The other squirrel – Bruce – has a stocked cupboard. When they both spot the last pinecone of the season, they set out on a race to capture it for themselves as the pinecone bounces all over the forest. This book teaches kids about sharing, cooperation, and friendship. Told in a flowing, rhyming style with warm, striking illustrations, this is a great book for kids who love animals.
When a flock of birds destroys Taylor’s block sculpture, they don’t know what to do. All the animals have different ideas. The chicken wants to talk, but Taylor doesn’t feel like talking. The bear believes Taylor should get angry, but Taylor doesn’t like that, either. All the animals have ideas on how to help, but none of them give Taylor what they need. Then Taylor meets the rabbit and the rabbit listens. This seemingly simple, beautifully-illustrated book describes big emotions and the importance of empathy. The character of Taylor does not have gendered pronouns, allowing any child to step into Taylor’s shoes. Children also learn from the rabbit, who meets Taylor’s sadness with a listening ear. Listening is a crucial skill in relationship-building and conflict resolution.
Best for kids ages 4-5, Ravi’s Roar is part of the Big Bright Feelings picture book series. Ravi is the smallest one in his family, and one day, he becomes so angry about this fact he can’t control his temple. He’s transformed into a roaring tiger! A tiger can do anything they want, but Ravi soon learns that people don’t want to play with a wild animal. This book teaches kids how to manage their anger and channel their big feelings in non-harmful ways.
In this book best for grades K-2, the legendary Kraken may be the most feared creature in the sea, but he still wants friends. He tries to hide his scary appearance and trick other creatures into liking him, but it doesn’t work. After throwing a tantrum, the Kraken gets advice from another scary figure: the Great White shark. This is a good book for kids who struggle with making friends and try to change who they are to fit in. Good self-esteem and navigating social situations are both great skills for conflict resolution.
Penelope Rex is starting her first day of school and she’s excited! However, she finds herself unable to stop eating her human classmates. This humorous book addresses things like fears about the first day of school, how to express feelings like loneliness, how to make new friends, and what it means to be a good friend. When kids are just starting school, there’s often a learning curve when it comes to socialization and conflict, so books like We Don’t Eat Our Classmates are helpful. It’s a good choice for kids ages 3-6 years old.
The Hueys are small, quirky creatures that all look the same, think the same, and do the same things. However, they may not be as identical as they seem. In Book 2 of the series, the Hueys are swept away in an argument none of them understand. Everyone can relate to the complexity of misunderstandings and arguments whose origin no one can remember. In this book, kids ages 3-5 learn how to get along and make peace.
Josh is known as “Josh the Tattler” because he’s always tattling on people, including his classmates and his brother. At school, no one wants to sit with him at lunch or play with him at recess. One day, Josh wakes up with his tongue transformed: it’s long, yellow, covered in purple spots, and itchy. He’s got Tattle Tongue! This book for kids as young as 4-years old teaches the difference between tattling and telling when something really matters. When kids know the difference, they understand when something is worth bringing to an adult’s attention and when tattling is simply disruptive.
Louis believes all his thoughts are important. Unfortunately, that means whenever he has something to say, his words erupt like a volcano and he interrupts everyone. When others start interrupting Louis, he realizes why it’s important to wait for his turn to speak. Great for kids ages 4-7, this book addresses a common occurrence for kids eager to share their thoughts and feelings. Kids learn not to interrupt when they’re taught patience and respect for others. These are crucial skills in conflict resolution.
Great for kids 5-8 years old, Tyaja Uses the THiNK Test introduces readers to the THiNK acronym. It stands for True (T), Helpful (H), Necessary (N) and Kind (K). In the story, Tyaja’s teacher describes the concept to her students and says if something you’re about to say isn’t true, helpful, necessary, or kind, it should be kept to yourself. Tyaja is about to criticize her friend’s new haircut, but she’s visited by four small elves wearing T, H, N, and K shirts. Tyaja thinks she needs to be honest about what she thinks of her friend’s hair, but the elves want her to think about the impact of her words. Tyaja learns that she is the “I” in THiNK. This book teaches kids the importance of kindness, friendship, and thoughtfulness.
For children, arguments with their siblings are often their first introduction to conflict resolution. In this picture book for kids 4-7 years old, an older sister expresses her frustration with her new baby sibling and learns to love him. Babies Ruin Everything is a helpful read for kids struggling to adjust to having a new sibling. It sympathizes with older siblings, who often feel thrown for a loop when a new child is brought into the family. In addition to helping kids understand their own feelings, the book can help soothe conflicts between parents and an older child frustrated about having a sibling.
Written for kids 3-7 years old, The Almost Terrible Playdate focuses on what happens when two kids can’t agree on what to play. They throw out ideas like princesses, ballet, dragons, and race cars, facing off against each other in an elaborate, epic battle. Will there be a winner? Or can the kids figure out a way to compromise and play together? This book teaches kids the importance of cooperation, sharing, patience, and generosity, which are all essential skills in conflict resolution.
Written for kids 4-8 years old, this book tells the story of best friends Rita and Ralph. Every day, they play games under the apple tree. One day, a game goes wrong and Rita is hurt. After this rotten day, the best friends are grumpy with each other. Why is it so hard to say “I’m sorry?” How can these friends come back together? With its charming illustrations and relatable main characters, kids will learn the importance of apologies, friendship, and healing.
Lily and Salma are best friends. They share a lot of the same interests, like jumping rope and drawing pictures. They always eat lunch together. Lily eats a peanut butter sandwich while Salma has hummus. One day, Lily declares that Salma’s sandwich is gross. Salma says the same thing about Lily’s PB&J. Other kids start taking sides and soon, a food fight breaks out. Can the best friends embrace each other’s differences and resolve their conflict? This book teaches kids the value of diversity – which is a common cause of conflict – and how to accept others.
Best for kids in grades K-2, this book follows the story of Lucy, a young girl with big wavy hair. When her quirky lunches become the target of Ralph, Lucy struggles with how to react to his bullying. One day, Ralph needs Lucy’s help and she’s faced with a decision: will she choose to act with kindness or take the opportunity to have revenge? Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun teaches kids about bullying, kindness, self-esteem, and bravery. The book includes a Reader’s Companion with craft projects, lesson plans for parents and teachers, and teamwork games.
In this picture-book edition of a bestselling board book, kids are introduced to the concept of consent. Developed by experts in early childhood development and activism, Yes! No! offers kid-friendly explanations and illustrations of consent, including asking for permission and being asked for permission, respecting bodily autonomy, and verbal and non-verbal ways to say no. When kids understand consent, how to set boundaries, and how to respect boundaries, they’re able to avoid and navigate many kinds of conflicts. The book includes additional resources and ideas for continuing conversations about consent with your kids. It’s also an essential resource for how adults should respect the autonomy of kids.
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