In this article we share with children books about anxiety because childhood anxiety is an ever-growing problem. In fact, according to Children’s Health:
“In Australia, one in 14 children and young people (4 -17 years) experience an anxiety disorder.”
So how can we help our children if they are showing increased signs of worry and anxiety in their everyday life?
In many case, it can be as simple as choosing the right book.
Books are a beautiful way to bond with children whilst teaching them important tools they need navigate the world around them.
For this reason, we have searched and researched to share with you our pick of children's books about worry and stress.
Not sure how to spot the signs of childhood anxiety? Read this: Childhood anxiety: How to spot and what you can do.
17 Books to help kids with anxiety, worry and stress
1. When Worry Takes Hold (Ages 4-8)
By Liz Haske
Night time can be worrying for young people, as the heroine of the book finds out. Worry grows bigger and bigger until it was just fear and darkness in the little girl’s mind. The wonderful illustrations show how Maya finds courage through calm breathing and conquers her worry in the end.
Recommended for: Parents/teachers who want children to understand what happens when worry takes hold and what to do to stop it in its tracks.
By James J. Crist
When it comes to books to help kids with anxiety, Scared and Worried by child psychologist Dr. James J. Crist is one of the best. Filled with practical advice for older kids who struggle with fears and worries (from spiders to panic attacks), this gem of a book is a must-read for parents who want to teach their children how to feel calmer, stronger, and safer when anxiety strikes.
Recommended for: Older kids who want easy-to-follow tips for dealing with phobias, fears, separation anxiety, and other issues that are too big to handle on their own.
By Julia Cook
For young children with anxiety, Wilma Jean the Worry Machine is incredibly relatable. The humorous book contains easy-to-follow strategies that parents and teachers can use to lessen the severity of anxiety in children of all ages. They’ll learn how to deal with worries that they can control and those they can’t.
Recommended for: Parents with anxious kids who get bored easily. The book is packed with simple and creative tips to make kids feel more in control of their feelings.
By Patrice Karst
The Invisible String continues to be a bestseller and one of the most brilliant books to help kids with anxiety. The updated illustrations and simple story are as charming as ever, reassuring young children that they are always connected to the ones they love no matter what happens.
Recommended for: Parents who want to reassure anxious kids or kids who are going through a difficult time of grief or loss.
By Wendy Suzuki
Dr. Wendy Suzuki's goal for this book is for kids to understand the reality of anxiety, and that it is essential for our survival as humans. Instead of avoiding these uncomfortable feelings, children must learn to leverage it for their benefit. This book is not only for kids but will surely benefit their caregivers as well. After all, adults get anxiety, too. An excellent addition to your collection of children's books about anxiety.
Recommended for: Parents and other caregiver who wish to help children accept the reality of anxiety and use it to live optimally
By Marianne Musgrove
Next in our list of children's books about worry is The Worry Tree. Juliet’s worries are piling up. Her parents are always fighting, her grandma is getting older, and her friends are giving her a headache. When she discovers the Worry Tree and the animals that live in it, she unburdens her worries to them before she goes to sleep. When it doesn’t quite work out, Juliet must find another solution to her problem.
Recommended for: Anxious older kids who love a realistic and relatable story with a touch of magic.
Books to help kids with anxiety, worry and stress (cont.)
by Karen Young
Hey Warrior is a one of our favourite books to help kids with anxiety. It’s short at 16 pages and ideal for parents of young children struggling with anxiety. The author is a psychologist who explains why anxiety feels the way it does and how to turn it around. An essential book for caregivers and educators.
Recommended for: Parents, educators and teachers who want to understand the psychology of anxiety and explain it in a child-friendly way.
By Donalisa Helsley
Another worthy addition in our list of children's books about anxiety, The Worry Glasses shows what can happen when worries take on a life of their own. The heroine starts off as a big worrywart who worries about almost everything, but learns how to take off her worry glasses and have better control of her anxiety. The story is easy to read and follow, helping kids recognise anxious feelings and lessen their effects.
Recommended for: Parents looking for a book that shows the many different manifestations of childhood anxiety and how to deal with them.
By Jaclyn Jaycox
In this simple and easy-to-read prose, children will learn how to recognise their emotions and their possible triggers. It also teaches kids little things they can do to manage different feelings. This is also a useful addition in teachers' arsenal of children's books about anxiety for classroom-based guidance lessons.
Recommended for: Parents who are dealing with kids who are struggling with their changing emotions
By Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz
What to do when 100 elephants want to come over for tea but you don’t have any tea bags? Serve lemonade, of course! This humorous and imaginative addition to your collection of children's books about worry teaches anxious kids ways to deal with different situations that are and can be worrying. Kids will learn to rethink their reactions to events and become more creative with their problem solving.
Recommended for: Parents of anxious kids who love funny books.
By Dawn Huebner
If you’re looking for children's books about anxiety that comes with practical tools and strategies, this is one of the best mental health books to help kids with anxiety. What to Do When You Worry Too Much is an interactive guide that shows parents and kids techniques to treat generalised anxiety. Despite being a self-help book, jargon gives way to clear language that young people can easily digest.
Recommended for: Parents looking for an excellent practical guide to help older kids who worry too much.
By Molly Potter
What’s Going On Inside My Head? is the book you need to start a conversation with children about mental health. The author talks about emotional intelligence, positive self-image, mindfulness and relationships, and she provides non-nonsense, kid-friendly practical tips to help your children build healthy minds.
Recommended for: Parents who want to start a conversation with young kids about positive mental health.
Books to help kids with worry (cont.)
By Kari Dunn Buron
Parents looking for children's books about anxiety should pick up When My Worries Get Too Big. This illustrated, bestselling classic is filled with goofy illustrations, interactive content, and evidence-based strategies to help kids relax their bodies and control their emotions.
Recommended for: Parents of older kids with high levels of anxiety that may require strict interventions.
By Virginia Ironside
Anxious kids who love humorous stories will adore the Huge Bag of Worries. The simple story is compelling and the comic style illustrations are lively, showing a big blue bag of worries that follows a little girl all the time. In the end, she finds someone to listen to her problems and provide reassurance.
Recommended for: Parents who want to encourage young children to talk about their worries and fears and reassure them during stressful times.
By Jayneen Sanders
here's an incredible storybook to add to your list of children's books about worry. This beautifully illustrated story about Mama Bear and her anxious son Little Bear is sure to delight young readers. Mama Bear teaches Little Bear that everyday worries can be overcome…all it takes is a willingness to talk about worries, fears and anxious thoughts with someone who can help.
Recommended for: Educators, caregivers, and parents of younger kids with anxiety.
By Kevin Henkes
Kids who are anxious about back to school season will relate to Wemberly, a little mouse who worries about lots of things, like snakes in the radiator and the first day of school. When Wemberly meets a fellow worrywart, she learns that it’s a waste of time to worry when school is so much fun. The charming illustrations and entertaining story are great for kids who are easily bored.
Recommended for: Parents of kids who are starting school for the first time.
By Tom Percival
The book tells of Ruby, a curious, happy girl who has a worry for the first time in her life…a worry that grows enormous and fills her mind. She meets a boy who shows her that everyone has worries and that there’s a way to get rid of them. This is one of the top-rated books to help kids with anxiety, making it easy for parents to talk to their kids about emotional intelligence and the importance of sharing their fears.
Recommended for: Parents of younger kids who are dealing with anxious thoughts for the first time.
Summary: Children's books about anxiety
Worried you're raising a worrier? Having an anxious child can be a massive problem for a parent, especially for a single mum. If not managed properly, it can escalate into more serious mental concerns as they grow up.
The good thing is there are heaps of fantastic children's books to help your kids understand their emotions and healthily deal with them. Illustrated stories filled with goofy, touching, and relatable characters are awesome companions for your little ones during this challenging time. There are also practical guides to help your kids manage their feelings and leverage anxiety to live optimally.
There are books in this article for specific concerns as well. There's something for starting school, boredom, grief, and phobias and fears.
Moreover, these books are not just for kids. I know they're tagged as 'children's books' but we adults can also get invaluable insights and resources to help manage our own emotions. After all, kids are not the only ones experiencing anxieties. Us single mums do, too. In my case, most of the time.
So, if you're looking for excuses to get more books, here are 17. You are welcome!