Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to anxiety. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about anxiety.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about anxiety, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Kissing Hand to popular sellers like Little Owl Lost to some of our favorite hidden gems like Ruby Finds a Worry.
We hope this list of kids books about anxiety can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Butterflies on the First Day of School - Rosie’s excited to start kindergarten—she’s had her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she greets a new friend, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! Soon, Rosie frees all her butterflies . . . and helps another shy student release hers, too.
Your First Day of Circus School - A clever, comical re-imagining of the classic “first day of school” story, with a circus twist! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages! It’s the most amazing day on earth: the first day of school! It can be a daunting prospect, but don’t worry - your big brother can show you the ropes. Join a nervous boy and his enthusiastic older brother as they navigate the highs and lows of a first day at school . . . except this school is a big top, and the teacher is named Miss Stupendous, and the cafeteria can be a zoo, literally! It turns out, school isn’t so scary when you can let off steam during recess (on a steam train) and walk on stilts to all of your classes. With a bit of help from family and some new friends, you’ll make it to the top of the class in no time! This charming take on school readiness will delight new school-goers and take a bit of the fear out of those first-day jitters.
Don't Think About Purple Elephants - Sometimes Sophie worries - especially at night when everything is calm and quiet. Her family all try to help, but somehow they just make it worse. Until her mother thinks of a new approach…that just might involve an elephant or two! But wait, don’t think about purple elephants, whatever you do! Whimsical and humorous, this little girl’s story of finding a way to ease her worry resonates with children and parents everywhere. Don’t Think About Purple Elephants is an excellent resource for social and emotional learning for parents and teachers.
Sleepytime Rhymes: Fox - Fox’s story provides a resource for both parent and child when coping with family transitions. By encouraging children to express their feelings, they are able to find comfort through the challenges of change.
My Big Bad Monster - Have you ever met your monster of self-doubt? This girl has. When she’s had enough of his negativity, she discovers that with a little help from new friends and a lot of boisterous music, he’ll disappear for good! This sweet picturebook with energetic art by A. N. Kang will strike a chord in readers both big and small.
Little Owl Lost - Uh-oh! Little Owl has fallen from his nest and landed with a whump on the ground. Now he is lost, and his mommy is nowhere to be seen! With the earnest help of his new friend Squirrel, Little Owl goes in search of animals that fit his description of Mommy Owl. But while some are big (like a bear) or have pointy ears (like a bunny) or prominent eyes (like a frog), none of them have all the features that make up his mommy. Where could she be? A cast of adorable forest critters in neon-bright hues will engage little readers right up to the story’s comforting, gently wry conclusion.
Anxious Charlie to the Rescue - A friend in need causes an anxious pup to confront his fear of change in this thoughtful and encouraging tale. Charlie follows the same routine every day: he hops out of bed in the morning, walks the same route to the market, and lines up his stuffed animals just so in the evening. If anything is slightly different, Charlie worries that something bad might happen. But when friends call one morning asking for Charlie’s help, he forgets to follow his usual routine. Will something bad happen, as Charlie fears? Or will he learn that change can be good? In this touching story by Terry Milne, readers will fall in love with the nervous little dog named Charlie and his ability to overcome his fear of change.
Lena's Shoes Are Nervous - Today is a big day! Today, Lena starts kindergarten. She is very excited. But there’s just one problem… Lena’s shoes are nervous. Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes! How can she convince them to be brave?
The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee - India Wimple can spell. Brilliantly. Every Friday night, she and her family watch the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee on TV. When the Wimples suggest she enter the next bee, India finds the idea disconcerting. She’s sure she’s not good enough—but her family won’t accept that and encourages her to sign up. There are plenty of obstacles to reaching the finals, and the whole thing seems rather calamitous to India. But with hope, hard work, and a little bit of heart, something splendiferous might be on the horizon…
The Most Marvelous International Spelling Bee - “India Wimple can spell with the best of them. How else would she have won the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and garnered an invitation to the Most Marvelous International Spelling Bee? India couldn’t be more thrilled to travel to London along with the rest of the Wimples. And at first, it seems like a dream come true; she reunites with her spelling bee friends, and they even get to meet the Queen! But there is skulduggery afoot, with some rather mysterious goings-on going on and a series of accidents that seem to be not-so-accidental after all. India has her suspicions about who is behind the duplicitous demonstrations. But can she solve the mystery in time to save the competition?”
Pilar's Worries - Pilar loves to dance. She pliés while brushing her teeth. She leaps when hurrying to ballet class. But when tryouts for her favorite ballet are held, Pilar is anxious. Auditioning makes her whole body feel scared. But by using some of the coping techniques she’s learned and focusing on her love for ballet, she is able to persevere. This gentle story is a great tool for children dealing with anxiety.
Spotlight on Coding Club! - Perfect for fans of The Babysitters Club and anyone interested in computer science, this series is published in partnership with the organization Girls Who Code! It’s almost time for the talent show at school, and Erin couldn’t be more excited. It’s her time to take center stage! Plus, she and her friends from coding club are putting together an awesome coding program for the show. But Erin has a big secret: she has anxiety. And when things start piling up at home and school, she starts having trouble handling everything. Her friends from coding club have always been there for her, but will they be as understanding when the going gets tough? Sometimes in coding—like in friendship—things don’t go exactly as planned, but the outcome can be even better than you’d imagined.
Captain Starfish - Alfie’s anxiety often keeps him from engaging in fun activities, but he learns a valuable lesson at the aquarium when a tiny clownfish swims up to him for a quick hello and then retreats, showing Alfie there is a happy medium between hiding away and being a star.
When I Feel Worried - Everybody worries. Children worry too—in new or confusing situations or when someone is angry with them. This new addition to the acclaimed The Way I Feel Series uses reassuring words and illustrations to address a child’s anxieties and shows ways to feel better. Cornelia Spelman and Kathy Parkinson team up once again to provide a comforting and empowering book that’s helpful to all.
Much Too Much Birthday - Maud the koala can’t wait for her birthday party–until everything starts to feel way too overwhelming. Maud is having a birthday party in her backyard, and she’s invited her friends–all fifty-six of them–to celebrate with her. She’s not worried, though. After all, you can never have too much birthday! But when the guests arrive and the party gets packed, she isn’t so sure. What will happen if Maud can’t bear her own birthday?
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