Children's Books to Help Overcome Anxiety

Written by: Natalie Fuertes


While anxiety around the current coronavirus crisis is a normal response to the stress we're feeling, it's important for all of us to learn how to manage our worries. A good story is always a source of comfort, especially when the characters are feeling the same feelings as you.


Here's a list of some fantastic books to help children understand, manage, and overcome anxiety, worry and stress:


Books about the Coronavirus:


"Coronavirus: A Book For Children," Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson & Nia Roberts


For ages 5-9yo. Free to download. Explains what the coronavirus is, what happens if you catch it, and why we're all staying home.



"Bad Kitty Wash Your Paws," Nick Bruel


In Bad Kitty’s newest adventure she learns why it is so important to wash your paws! This free black and white downloadable story is the perfect way to keep your kids engaged and entertained, while also emphasizing a very timely message. Print it out, read it aloud, and color the pages!



"COVID-19 Helpers," Beth Bacon and Kary Lee


For ages 6-9yo. Free to download. Tells the story of how everyone, including children, can help in the fight against COVID-19.


Books for children with anxiety:


"The Rabbit Listened," by Cori Doerrfeld


For ages 3-5yo. When something sad happens, Taylor doesn't know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer and try to tell Taylor how to act, and one by one they fail to offer comfort. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs.



"Ruby Finds A Worry," by Tom Percival


For ages 3-6yo. One day Ruby finds a worry and it follows her everywhere. At first it's not a big worry, but every day it grows a little bigger until it’s all she can think about. When Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there's a great way to get rid of them, too.



"That's Life!," by Ame Dyckman


For ages 4-8yo. One kid discovers that Life is truly what you make it. It's weird and may not always cooperate, but Life's beauty becomes apparent when it's embraced for all of its quirks. This story is filled with tongue-in-cheek idioms that will appeal to readers of all ages and will impart deeper wisdoms about the many milestones and stages of life.



"I'm Worried," by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi


For ages 4-8yo. Potato is worried. About everything. Because anything might happen. When he tells his friends, he expects them to comfort him by saying that everything will be okay. Except they don’t. Because it might not be, and that’s okay too. No matter what happens, they will always be by his side.



"The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions," Anna Llenas

For ages 4-8yo. One day, Color Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place - he feels angry, happy, calm, sad, and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through color. As this adorable monster learns to sort and define his mixed up emotions, he gains self-awareness and peace as a result.


"Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things," Lenore Look


For ages 6-9yo. Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and school. He’s so afraid of school that he never says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin, and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.


"Guts," Raina Telgemeier


For ages 8-12yo. Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. She eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships.


"Umbrella Summer," Lisa Graff


For ages 8-12yo. Annie Richards knows there are a million things to look out for—bicycle accidents, chicken pox, runaway zoo animals. That's why being careful is so important, even if it means giving up some of her favorite things. Everyone keeps telling her not to worry so much, but they thought her brother, Jared, was just fine too, and Jared died. It takes a new neighbor to make Annie realize that her plans for being careful aren't working out as well as she'd hoped. And with a lot of help from those around her, Annie just may find a way to close her umbrella of sadness and step back into the sunshine.


"Crenshaw," Katherine Applegate


For ages 8-12yo. After losing their home and living in their van for 3 months, Jackson's family is now about to lose their apartment. Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, he's imaginary, and he has come back into Jackson's life to help him.


"Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now," Dana L. Davis


For ages 12 - 16yo. Centering around themes of family, mental health and death. “Tiffany Sly’s” story is based on Davis’ real struggle with anxiety disorder in the wake of trauma.


"The Rest of Us Just Live Here," Patrick Ness

For ages 13 and up. The book includes multiple therapy sessions. One of the things Mikey talks to his therapist about is how he believes people, even his best friends, would have more fun if he wasn’t there or secretly don’t like him.

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