The Best Kids Books About Anxiety

Picture books can be powerful tools for teaching kids to manage anxiety.

kids books about anxiety

How a Picture Book Teaches Kids to Manage Anxiety

Picture books can be powerful tools for helping kids with anxiety. They can help young kids understand and manage their feelings, develop coping skills, and feel less alone. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why picture books are so effective for helping kids with anxiety and share some of our favorite books about worry and anxiety.

Mental Health and Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a common experience for many children of all ages. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 8 children experience an anxiety disorder. While some anxiety can be a normal part of growing up, more severe anxiety can interfere with a child’s life and make it difficult for them to enjoy activities, learn, and socialize.

Whether a child worries about mom leaving the room (separation anxiety) or being made fun of by kids at school (social anxiety), children’s books can provide helpful strategies that teach kids to overcome anxiety. They can help kids understand and manage their feelings, develop coping skills, and feel less alone. When young readers see an anxious child in a book who is experiencing similar feelings, they feel validated and realize every child worries. Picture books can also teach kids beneficial coping strategies, such as deep breathing, relaxation techniques, and positive self-talk.

Here are some of the specific ways kids’ books about anxiety can be helpful:

  • Normalize anxiety: Picture books can help many kids understand that anxiety is a normal emotion everyone experiences from time to time. By reading about mental health challenges, younger children see the different ways anxiety and worry can show up for other kids and how they manage it.
  • Provide coping skills: A picture book teaches kids specific coping skills that they can use to manage their anxiety. For example, a book might show a character using a stress fall or deep breaths to calm down before a difficult task.
  • Build resilience: Children’s books can help kids develop resilience, which is the ability to bounce back from challenges. By seeing characters in books overcome their fears and anxieties, young kids can learn that they are capable of doing the same.
  • Promote empathy: Picture books can help kids develop empathy for other kids who are experiencing anxiety. This can help children feel less alone and more connected to others.

How to Choose Picture Books for Anxious Kids

When choosing picture books about anxiety, it’s important to select books that are appropriate for a child’s age and developmental level. It’s also important to choose books that have positive messages and offer concrete coping strategies.

  • Consider your child’s age and developmental level: Picture books for younger children will be simpler and more concrete, while picture books for older children may be more complex and abstract.
  • Look for books with positive messages: Children’s books should teach kids that we all have our own worries and that there are ways to cope with them. Find a reassuring story that promotes resilience and self-acceptance.
  • Choose books with concrete coping strategies: Picture books should teach young readers specific coping skills that they can use in managing anxiety. For example, a book about deep breathing might show a character using deep breaths to calm down before a difficult task.
  • Read the book first: Before reading a book to your child, take some time to read it through yourself. This will help you decide if the book is appropriate for your young child and if it contains any messages or strategies that you don’t want your child to be exposed to.

Some of Our Favorite Kids’ Books About Anxiety


kids books about anxietyWilma Jean, the Worry Machine by Julia Cook

“My stomach feels like it’s tied up in a knot. My knees lock up, and my face feels hot. You know what I mean? I’m Wilma Jean, The Worry Machine.” This hilarious book discusses the problem of worryin a way that relates to kids of all ages. The purpose of the book is to give children the strategies needed to feel manage their anxiety. This colorful book has helpful tips for young children in particular.  Also available on Amazon.


kids books about anxietyWorry Says What? by Allison Edwards

Author of best-seller Why Smart Kids Worry, Allison Edwards, shows how anxiety whispers fears to kids and then gives ways to silence those worries. With actionable tips throughout, a story that resonates, and playful illustrations, Worry Says What? will help kids (and grownups) change their thinking when fearful thoughts start and turn those thoughts into helpful reminders of all they can accomplish. Also available on Amazon.


worry and kids, a great book on the subjectABC Worry Free by Noel Foy

Neuroeducation consultant and author Noel Foy, shares a practical approach to anxiety that will help kids manage problems they face each day. In A.B.C. Worry Free, readers will find a clear three-step plan to change their thoughts on worries and fears. Kids will learn about the cycle of anxious thoughts and gain tools to master their anxiety. Also available on Amazon.


anxiety and stress book for kidsBeat, Beat, Thump by Allison Edwards

What does worry sound like to a kid? Beat, beat, thump. Beat, beat, thump. Alex feels that pulse in his heart as he faces problems at school, struggles with friends, and fear of new things. In this sweet story, Alex learns to listen to his heart when he feels both anxiety and peace, and he finds out how his powerful and brave heart has brought him through difficult things. Also available on Amazon.


this book tells a great story about dealing with anger for kidsDon’t Be Afraid to Drop by Julia Cook

Hopp the raindrop is afraid of new things and is content with his normal life. He soon learns that staying where he is holds him back from impacting those around him. Don’t Be Afraid to Drop is a story for anyone who is transitioning to new things in their lives. From kids entering kindergarten, to adults looking at retirement, and everyone between, this playful analogy will give readers a positive outlook on change, taking changes, and giving back. Also available on Amazon.


Failure Friday deals with the subject of anger in kidsFailure Friday by Angela Burns

When Emma finds out she made the track team, she’s excited…and a little scared. It quickly becomes clear that Emma isn’t the fastest one in her family. Or the most coordinated. Emma begins to consider giving up…until her teacher invites a special guest to share with her class about failure. The speaker surprises them by saying that you don’t need to be afraid of failing – it’s actually something to celebrate! As her friends share their own failures, Emma realizes that maybe failure is actually a stop on the road to success. Also available on Amazon.


kids books about anxietyWhat’s Inside Your Backpack? by Jessica Sinarski

Zoey Harmon wants to feel carefree, but annoying “books” in her backpack keep weighing her down – books like anxety and shame. Kids everywhere are carrying heavy backpacks that are filled with more than just textbooks. Everyday they also carry the heavy load of hard life experiences and big emotions. This book features ways to build resilience in body and mind, and helps children effected by trauma realize how strong they really are! Also available on Amazon.


this book made the list of books about anxiety and stressWorries Are Not Forever by Elizabeth Verdick

We all feel anxiety and fear sometimes, and young kids are no exception. Friendly and supportive, this bilingual English-Spanish book explains what worries are and how it feels to be anxious, assuring kids that lots of children – and adults too – feel worried. Talking about our fears, moving our bodies, keeping hands busy, deepy breathing, getting a big hug, and positive thinking are all ways for kids to cope with their anxiety. Also available on Amazon.


kids books about stressStress Can Really Get on Your Nerves by Trevor Romain and Elizabeth Verdick

Stress can make you feel worried, nervous, and afraid. It can leave you jumpy and jittery, cranky and uptight. When kids show signs of stress, they need tools to help them manage their stress. With playful artwork, humor, and tons of real-life examples, this book helps children understand what stress is—and gives lots of strategies to cope. Also available on Amazon.


books about stress and anxietyPut Your Worries Away by Gill Hasson

In this helpful story, younger kids and readers learn strategies to help when they feel worried, nervous, or fearful. Tips for how to calm down and cope with fears are explained clearly, and include ideas such as breathing exercises and playing with friends to asking for help from a grown up. Also available on Amazon.


this is one of the best books for kids with anxiety, worry, and stressI’m Stretched by Julia Cook

In this engaging book that speaks to kids and grown-ups alike, the everyday balancing of family and friends, homework and school, and everything else is addressed. Strategies are offered to help manage stress in a healthy and helpful way, so the reader can face life’s daily pressures and find happiness in being who they were meant to be. Also available on Amazon.


children's books about anxietyI’m NOT Scared, I’m Prepared! by Julia Cook

At the Ant Hill School, the teacher wants her class to be prepared – for everything! One day, the students learn what to do if a “dangerous someone” is in their school. This important book gives practical steps on what should be done if there is a violent intruder event. The concepts are applicable to all ages and shared in a non-fearful way. Also available on Amazon.


kids books about worryRuby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival

Ruby is a joyful, inquisitive, and creative girl. One day she discovers something she did not expect: a Worry. It doesn’t start out very big, but each day it continues to grow until it is HUMUNGOUS and all she can think about it. This picture book a great discussion point to share with kids about their fears. Also available on Amazon.


books for kids about anxietyWhat to Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner

Did you know that worries are like tomatoes? You don’t eat them, but they can grow by simply paying attention to them. With engaging metaphors and artwork, this book uses cognitive-behavioral techniques to teach skills that help reduce anxiety. Also available on Amazon.


books about anxiety for young kidsDon’t Feed The WorryBug by Andi Green

Meet Wince, the biggest worrier you will ever meet. When he starts to feel anxious, his WorryBug shows up. At first the WorryBug is little, but the more Wince worries the bigger the WorryBug gets. This book shows that everyone worries, but we don’t want those little fears to grow into huge worries. Also available on Amazon.


Help your dragon is all about dealing with anger appropriatelyHelp Your Dragon Deal With Anxiety by Steve Herman

Imagine if you had a dragon for a pet! He can roll over, sit, and play…but what if your dragon is always anxious about everything? What if he is scared about this spelling test even though he studied? Or what if he is anxious about going to the doctor’s office? What if your dragaon is always asking “what if?” You should teach him how to mangage his worries! Also available on Amazon.


worry and anger can be a big issue for some younger kidsThe Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside

Everywhere Jenny goes, she always has her big, blue bag of worries. They are with her at home, in class, and even in the bathroom! They have to go, but who will help Jenny get rid of them? This helpful picture book let’s children share about their fears and teaches them to manage their emotions. Also available on Amazon.


kids books about anxietyWemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Wemberly is anxious about big things, little things, and everything in between. Wemberly is especially worried about going to school. In her class she meets a another worrywart, and Wemberly soon finds out that school is too much fun to waste time being anxious! Also available on Amazon.


mindfulness has been shown to work wonders in kids with anxietyMindfulness for Anxious Kids by Catherine Cook-Cottone and Rebecca K. Vujnovic

Give your child the tools to remain calm and find peace when worries come. This helpful workbook provides engaging and practical emotion regulation strategies and mindfulness activities to help children deal with panic, fears, stress, worry, and anxious thoughts.  Also available on Amazon.


a great workbook about anxiety in children and teensThe Anxiety Workbook for Kids by Robin Alter and Crystal Clarke

Childhood anxiety is on the rise and studies have learned there is a link between children with active imaginations and worry. Using cognitive behavioral therapy activities, this workbook gives a unique approach to helping kids use their imagination to manage fear and build self-esteem. Also available on Amazon.


kids books about anxietyI Bet I Won’t Fret by Timothy A. Sisemore

A common anxiety disorder in children is Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This workbook offers children engaging and fun activities to help them deal with their worry, stop self-talk, and discuss thier feelings. These exercises can be done alone of as part of a therapy program. Also available on Amazon.


teen books about anxietyMindfulness for Teen Anxiety by Christopher Willard

In the updated edition of Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety, teens learn effective mindfulness exercises to help manage anxiety, identify typical triggers (like social media, testing and grades, and relationships), learn important time-management skills, and feel more peace with family and friends. Also available on Amazon.


teen book about worryMindfulness for Teen Worry by Jeffrey Bernstein

Being a teen can be hard. You have lots to worry about – grades, friends, the future. Those are normal worries, but what about chronic worrying – the fears that wake you in the middle of the night? Mindfulness for Teen Worry will teach you how to live in the moment and stay grounded. These effective mindfulness skills will equip you to handle both big and small worries. Also available on Amazon.


anxious brain for teensRewire Your Anxious Brain for Teens by Debra Kissen, Ashley D. Kendall, Michelle Lozano, and Micah Ioffe

It’s time to retrain your brain! Using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance commitment therapy (ACT), mindfulness, and neuroscience, this book will give you the ten most helpful strategies for “rewiring” your worried and anxious brain. Also available on Amazon.


books about social anxiety in teensSocial Anxiety Relief for Teens by Bridget Flynn Walker

Millions of teens deal with social anxiety disorder (SAD). This book provides a clear, five-step cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program to help you manage you anxieties and fears. You will learn to notice triggers and the behaviors you do to avoid social situations, along with the skills needed to control your worries. Also available on Amazon.


kids books about anxietyThe Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens by Jennifer Shannon

Break free from the anxiety that keeps you from accomplishing your goals. By using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) the The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens helps you identify your “monkey mind”—the primitive part of the brain where anxious thoughts arise. You will learn effective tools for managing the hardest problems that made you feel anxious in the past. Also available on Amazon.



books about stress, worry and anxiety15-Minute Focus: Anxiety: Worry, Stress, and Fear by Leigh Bagwell

Giving students the tools to handle their stress and anxiety is a must as a school counselor, educator, or administrator. 15-Minute Focus: Anxiety: Worry, Stress, and Fear explains the progression from a trigger to a full-blown anxiety attack, and offers multiple prevention and intervention tips. Also available on Amazon.


stress and burnout can happen in kids and teens tooStress and Burnout in Education by Melisa Marsh

Are you looking for proven stress-reduction strategies to assist you and your students? This workbook is full of interactive activities and life-changing practices that will help your students, coworkers, and yourself reduce stress and manage energy in all areas of your lives. Also available on Amazon.



Tips on How to Read Books with Your Child

When reading children’s books about managing anxiety with young kids, it’s important to create a safe and supportive environment. Here are some tips:

  • Find a comfortable place to read: Find a quiet place where you can relax and focus on the book with children.
  • Read at a slow pace: Give younger children time to absorb the information and ask questions.
  • Encourage children to talk about their feelings: Ask your child how the characters in the book are feeling and how they relate to the characters.
  • Be supportive and understanding: Let children know it’s okay to feel anxious and that you’re there to help.


Picture books can be a wonderful starting point for conversations about anxiety between children and their parents, caregivers, and teachers. By talking about anxiety openly, children can learn more about the ways it shows up and tips and tricks for managing it now and as part of a strategy for long-term success.


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