Looking for great books for kids about anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal response that we all may present when we face situations that we evaluate as threatening.
Anxiety is also a common problem in childhood. It can be a learned behavior, a genetic trait or a consequence of negative experiences.
If anxiety ends up interfering with your kid’s everyday life, it is important to seek professional help.
But both parents and kids struggling with worry and anxiety will benefit from a better understanding of this common yet sometimes disabling emotion.
I consider the anxiety books for kids that I’ve curated for this post to be great assets. Lots of them I have read myself, and some others have been recommended to me (and are in my to-read list).
These books cover a wide range of anxiety-related topics: biology, triggers, strategies, worry thoughts and role of imagination, how worry may affect everyday life, the trap of avoidance behaviors, etc. Some of them are workbooks full of useful strategies. Some others are a good introduction to this topic in a kid-friendly format (illustration books).
Table of Contents:
- Anxiety Books for Kids & Younger Readers
- Good for All Ages
- Anxiety Books for Teenagers
- Books to Help Develop Coping Skills.
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Anxiety Books for Kids & Younger Readers
I share this one first because this is definitely my favorite book out of all the options I share in this post.
The book itself is a must-have if you have kids struggling with anxiety. It is a book written for them, easy to read and understand. And it covers everything about anxiety, from its role as an alarm body system to a complete set of strategies to help them cope with or overcome their worries.
The Anxiety Workbook for Kids is grounded in evidence-based CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and designed to help children understand their anxious thoughts and understand the role imagination plays in their anxiety.
The book helps kids work on imagination training and developing useful coping skills (problem-solving, assertiveness, positive thinking, body awareness, relaxation, and mindfulness)
- WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU WORRY TOO MUCH: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety
Dawn Heubner is one of my favorite authors. In this workbook about anxiety, she explains that worries are normal and all kids have them. She uses illustrations and metaphors to explain how worries grow so big that they get out of hand and you might need some extra help.
“Did you know that worries are like tomatoes? No, you can’t eat them, but you can make them grow, simply by paying attention to them. If your worries have grown so big that they bother you almost every day, this book is for you”
This book takes kids through different situations in their lives that may trigger their worries and anxiety (being told off, a new teacher, finding some activity difficult, seeing something horrible on tv, having a fall out with a friend, parents arguing, and many more). For each of these situations, the author has suggestions for things that will:
- help them understand that situation from a new perspective, and
- make them feel better
It also comes with a feelings glossary (22 feelings) and some suggestions for parents to help their kids talk about their worries.
The character in this book, Wince, is the Monster of Worry. He constantly feeds his WorryBug only to find that he worries more and ends up overwhelmed by the emotion. Until he learns to control it.
This book helps kids understand the biological and emotional components of anxiety. A dinosaur story explains the link between brain and body functioning, followed by practical therapeutic techniques that children can use to help themselves.
“When My Worries Get Too Big” is both a book and a workbook. It teaches kids how to recognize anxiety. And the last part of the book lists six evidence-based strategies that can help extremely anxious children and teaches calming sequences.
This is a fun book that any school age kid may relate to. A girl who worries about everything takes the young readers through different everyday life situations that trigger her anxiety (both in the school setting and with friends). The book introduces the concept of “worries I can do something about” and “worries I can’t do anything about”.
For the former, the teacher plays an active role in finding solutions to help Wilma. For worries that children can’t do anything about (i.g. the weather), a worry hat is introduced.
I personally feel that the approach to the worries that can be dealt with is better (I especially like the role that the teacher plays in the school environment). I’m not too keen on the “worry hat” concept. I think there are lots of other options that could have been mentioned.
But, having said that, this is not a “workbook” but a kid’s fun story, and it does a great job at introducing anxiety as it is presented in their lives (my son loves this book)
Good Anxiety Book for All Ages
This book was recommended to us during a workshop I attended. All Birds Have Anxiety uses bird images to explore with humor what it means to live with anxiety day-to-day, and how to begin to deal with it.
This book normalizes the experience of anxiety and explains how worry happens and how it affects us.
Anxiety Books for Teenagers
This is a great and comprehensive review of anxiety. I would recommend this book to teenagers, young adults AND parents. It covers everything you need to understand about anxiety (anxiety basics, where anxiety comes from, tackling anxious thoughts, lots of strategies that may help and creating an anxiety action plan).
In this book, Dawn Heuber teaches kids aged 9-13 and the adults who care about them a specific set of skills that make it easier to face and overcome worries and fears.
A 10-year-old girl who feels worried and anxious about a lot of things explores her anxiety with the reader:
- what anxiety is
- how anxiety feels
- the types of anxiety she (and lots of other people) suffers from: generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, social anxiety and other types of anxiety
- how anxiety may interfere with your life (at home, at school, with friends)
- how she got help, how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works and the action plan she implemented
- how family, friends, and teachers can help
The recommended readers’ age was 7 upwards, BUT I would say it is definitely for older kids. It is a good book but too wordy for younger kids. I would recommend it for younger teenagers (it is a mini book- so it may work well with those who are not too keen on seeing too many words on a paper)
I would even recommend it for parents to better understand what their anxious kids are going through, and to get some ideas on how better to help them.
Books to Help Develop Coping Skills
- COPING SKILLS FOR KIDS WORKBOOK: Over 75 Coping Strategies to Help Kids Deal with Stress, Anxiety and Anger.
The Coping Skills for Kids Workbook can help teach children to calm down, balance their energy and emotions, and process challenging feelings. Author Janine Halloran shares over 75 innovative, fun and engaging activities developed from her experience in schools, outpatient mental health clinics and as a mother.
This book has amazing reviews (not often you find books in Amazon with only 4 and 5-star customer reviews). Most importantly, some of those reviews have been written by therapists or counselors. Worth considering.
Other Resources to Help Kids with Anxiety
Best Children’s Books for Anxiety