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28 Children’s Books About Anxiety That Are Adorable & Affirming

They’ve got bears, fainting goats, and a nervous head of lettuce.

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Children’s books can just be about Little Blue Trucks bumping down the road, or tell the tale of 12 little girls in two straight lines walking home to their Paris home, always covered in vines. But sometimes parents need a book that tackles the tough parts of life. (Did you know children’s books about death are a thing?) Reading children’s books about anxiety with your little one can help them feel like these weird, scary emotions aren’t only happening to them. Better yet, they might even teach your kid how to handle their worries a little more easily.

From 2016 to 2019, around 5.8 million American children between 3 and 17 years old were diagnosed with anxiety, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s almost 10% of all kids in that age group. Experts say the Covid pandemic in 2020 drove these rates up dramatically. Sadly, every child will experience anxiety at some point in their life; it’s part of the human experience. And many more of them will have an ongoing battle with it than children have in years past.

While children’s books about anxiety are not a cure, they’re definitely worth adding to your toolbox as a parent. With these on your shelf, you’ll be able to explain anxiety in an age-appropriate way, and give them the language to express how they’re feeling to you.


A picture book about deep breathing

Everyone has magic breath. By taking a deep breath in and blooooowing it out, you’ll feel better, just like that. New York Times bestselling author Nick Ortner’s picture book is meant to help even the youngest children learn how to cope with big ol’ feelings.

Recommended for ages 2 to 6 years.


This book by a Great British Bake Off winner

This little boy’s worry monster is constantly following him around, and he just wants it to go away already. GBBO winner Nadiya Hussain wrote this heartfelt story to help young kids understand living with anxiety better, and hopefully get a little more comfortable with talking about it.

Recommended for ages 3 to 5 years.


A story of a ballerina nervous to audition

Pilar dances constantly, whether she’s brushing her teeth or rushing off to her actual ballet class. When tryouts begin for parts in her favorite ballet ever, she feels anxious for the first time. Kids learn alongside Pilar how to recognize anxiety in their body, and how to push past it.

Recommended for ages 3 to 5 years.


A book about having very big worries

Harold the iceberg lettuce hears about global warming and how all the icebergs are melting, and has a bit of a panic attack about the whole situation. Kids who have strong feelings about big, existential issues can learn a lot from this sweet book set inside a refrigerator.

Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.


One about a pesky little worry that just keeps growing

Ugh, some worries just won’t leave you alone. Ruby is minding her own business when she stumbles upon a Worry. At first it’s not so bad, but it keeps getting bigger, and soon it’s all she can think about. But don’t worry about Ruby — she learns there are some tried and true methods for banishing even the biggest of Worries.

Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.


A book about a little bear and a special box

Murray is scared. He’s got plans to go see a waterfall with his sister and a friend, but he just doesn’t know what to expect. Won’t it be loud, or carry him down the river? His sister, Molly, helps him cope by teaching him to write his worries down and place them inside a magic worry box.

Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.


An interactive book about mindfulness

Want to help your little one learn about mindfulness and the basics of meditation? Take them along with Izzy, who had a grumpy thought bubble up and cloud her day. Soon, bubbles fill up the page. Can she blow them away with a little help from readers?

Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years.


A retelling of Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty’s fall has been described for generations (brutal), but what happened after that? Caldecott medalist Dan Santat imagines what it would be like to be an egg who survives a terrifying plummet and wants to climb back up the wall again (it’s where the best birdwatching is, OK?).

Recommended for ages 3 to 8 years old.


A children’s book about immigration & anxiety

OK, all the monster illustrations are cute, but if you don’t want your child feeling like they have a scary creature lurking behind them at all times, you need Me and My Fear. A young girl immigrates and brings her fear, too. It just keeps growing until finally she shares it with others, and learns everyone has their own fear they carry with them.

Recommended for ages 3 to 8 years.


This story of a mama and baby bear working through fear together

While you’re thinking about bears, this title is a really sweet story. Little Bear worries all the time, but Mama Bear is always right there, helping him see that his fears don’t have to take over. The book includes extra discussion and tips for parents and caregivers.

Recommended for ages 3 to 9 years.


A book that proves even dinosaurs worry

Worrysaurus has planned a very special picnic, but suddenly his tummy is all aflutter and his thoughts are racing. What if he gets lost on the way? Or if it starts to rain? Thankfully, his mom steps in to remind him how being present can calm his mind and body.

Recommended for ages 4 to 6 years.


One about a worrybug (so cute)

Don’t Feed the WorryBug follows Wince, who worries about everything. He attracts the attention of a WorryBug, who gobbles up his worries and grows larger and more fearsome each time. This title was selected as one of the Child Mind Institute’s picks for Best Children's Books For Helping Kids Understand Anxiety in 2019.

Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.


An anxiety book written by Elizabeth Olsen

Yes, like the actress. Hattie Harmony is on the case, always ready to help her friends confront their fears and subdue their stress. She’s kind of a self-care queen, and she’s a fun, irresistible character you’ll genuinely enjoy reading about with your kids.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.


A book about one anxious little critter (relatable)

Wemberly tends to worry about everything, and starting a new school year soon is not helping her case. When she meets a classmate with similar anxieties, the two bond and realize they don’t want to waste another moment fretting.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.


This one about a homebody hedgehog (also same)

Hector really likes his home. In fact, he rarely leaves, and it’s starting to impact his friendships. If he never leaves his comfort zone, what will it cost him? This book includes tips from a psychologist about helping kids break out of their shell and face what makes them uncomfortable.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.


One about worry that doesn’t involve a monster

Worry comes to Maya’s mind one night before bed, but using Courage and a calming breath, she learns just how to see it out. As one parent’s Amazon review says, “This book has been a great lesson for my 5-year-old, Mom, and Dad. It sure has helped us parent to her anxiety and worry along with allowing her to understand what she is feeling. We have learned breathing techniques that we utilize regularly. It's become a regular must-read in our house!”

Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.


A book about reframing anxious thoughts

The Whatifs — pesky little creatures who whisper doubts and fears — love Cora. They pay her extra attention as she nervously prepares for a big piano recital. It’s up to her to change their scary statements into hopeful thoughts about her big day.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.


A beautifully illustrated book about anxiety

A massive black dog emerges from the woods outside the house, and the Hope family takes cover right away, except for the youngest member. The little girl discovers the dog isn’t so scary after all. As Publisher’s Weekly puts it, “Pinfold’s interiors are crammed with quirky detail, and his small sepia vignettes, which cluster around the story’s text, are an elegant detail. More crucially, the story stays focused, the pacing is strong, and Small Hope is as charming as she is brave.”

Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.


A book about finding others like you

Camila just wants to hide away from life and all her worries. An upcoming field trip to the aquarium has her especially anxious until a fellow classmate asks for help handling their fears. It’s a heartwarming story about how sometimes being strong for others helps you be strong for yourself, too.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.


Another monster-themed anxiety book for kids

For kids who feel like their anxiety is always tagging along, this straightforward guide walks them through how to tame it. As one promising review on Amazon reads, “I am a child play therapist and utilize many books for children. This one is, truly, a #1 choice! My child clients LOVE it, and, it includes techniques to calm anxiety, which is rare. I am buying one for each client to have at home.”

Recommended for ages 5 to 9 years.


An award-winning, kid-friendly guide to CBT

This handy guide was written by a clinical psychologist and is a National Parenting Publications Gold Award winner. Inside, the author explains anxiety in easy-to-understand ways and helps kids learn when their worries might be out of control, and what to do to ground themselves again.

Recommended for ages 6 to 12 years.


A book about coping with current events

Is your kid specifically freaked out by current events and tragic headlines? It’s not just you, and not just them. This book offers kids ideas on putting news stories into perspective, as well as strategies for coping and calming down when anxiety threatens to overwhelm them.

Recommended for ages 6 to 12 years.


A children’s book about anxiety symptoms

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 book is perfect for helping your child learn to identify physical signs of their anxiety, and they’ll relate to Wilma Jean and all her symptoms of worry.

Recommended for ages 7 to 10 years.


A graphic novel about anxiety & OCD

Katie has always been a little different, but ever since summer camp, she worries about everything. Then, she begins tapping things three times, and opening and closing drawers. Won’t this weird people out even more? This book offers a glimpse into how anxiety and OCD can manifest that’s hard to find elsewhere, and was named a Best Book of the Year by NPR.

Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.


Another graphic novel about anxiety for kids

Guts has won way too many awards to list here, including TIME Best Book of the Year, Washington Post Best Graphic Novel of the Year, and New York Times Best Children's Book of 2019. It’s a USA Today and New York Times #1 Bestseller. Raina wakes up with a stomachache one night, and notices it’s only getting worse when she returns to school and friends and drama. You guessed it: it’s anxiety.

Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.


A middle grade read about anxiety & identity

Stevie loves to read, which means she knows a lot, but she’s still confused about a thing or two: what happened to Princess Anastasia, how phones actually work, and why she gets all nervous around her best friend, Chloe. She’s working hard to manage her anxiety, but how will her big questions affect her big feelings?

Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.


This title about anxiety, yes, & also fainting goats

Marvel is 12 and knows she has an anxiety disorder (at least, that’s what her parents and therapist say). It’s a perfect chapter book for grade schoolers dealing with anxiety. Then she stumbles across a fainting goat and recognizes a bit of herself in the scared little animal, and makes a brand new furry friend.

Recommended for ages 10 and up.


A summery chapter book about anxiety

June is 12 and ready to start her summer right — by shaving her head. Her goal before the start of the new school year is to defeat her anxiety once and for all. Can she do it? As the book jacket says, it’ll take friends, courage, and plenty of watermelon pie.

Recommended for ages 10 and up.

While no kid should ever have to feel anxious, just know that if your child is prone to worrying, there are so many children’s books out there that will help them understand it.

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