child worrying

18 Empowering Books to Help Kids With Anxiety, Worry, and Self-Doubt

the worry box

The Worry Box
Murray is a small bear with big worries. One day, he plans to an excursion to a waterfall with his sister, Molly. It sounds like an exciting adventure until he is overcome with nerves. Murray is concerned about the noise, his ability to climb, and whether he will get along with the others. When he shares his worries with Molly, she offers an effective way to cope. She encourages him to write all his worries down on a piece of paper and insert them in a worry box for safekeeping. A gentle story about how to handle very real anxiety in young ones.



child with anxiety

Children' Books About Anxiety

Most children experience anxiety at some point during their young lives. Some kids are overcome with worry about very real, acute situations that resolve after a short period of time. Examples of scenarios include the first day of school, a piano recital, a move to a new town, or other event in which worrying is a normal, appropriate response. Stories by Jamie Lee Curtis are extremely popular choices by parents, teachers, and therapists who find the cheerful pictures and advice for kids with a case of the worries to be effective.

Some types of worries don't necessarily interfere with a child's daily activities and the nervous feelings pass after the obstacle is faced. Reading about how characters handle very specific periods of nervousness can help. For instance, a common childhood trigger, like fear of the darkcan be addressed through stories about characters who overcome nighttime jitters. For other kids, anxiety is a way of life. Worrisome thoughts take control of their minds and can be paralyzing. Every single activity is met with feelings of self-doubt, concern, and fear.

Regardless of where your child falls on the  continuum, these children's books about anxiety will give them some valuable coping skills. For additional suggestions to help kids with their emotions, check out books about anger for little ones who need some extra tools to deal with emotional outbursts.


wemberly worried
Wemberly Worried

Wemberly may just make your little worrier seem laid back. Kevin Henkes' famous mouse worries about the silly things, like shrinking in the bathtub. She gets paralyzed with unlikely thoughts, such as snakes in the radiator. Wemberly sees the possibility of danger and failure in almost every situation she encounters. So when the first day of school is around the corner, an event that gives even the most easy-going kids a case of the butterflies, she is overwhelmed with anxiety. When she meets a new friend who also is a bit anxious, the two of them realize they are missing out on too much fun and cast their worries aside.



 don't feed the worrybug

Don't Feed the WorryBug

An award-winning book about Wince, the biggest worrier ever.  Each and every worry is fuel for his WorryBug, which grows to an overwhelming size. The visual representation of the expanding bug is effective in showing children how their worries can easily snowball. Nipping each and every worry in the bud and taking control of those intrusive thoughts will keep WorryBug in check. Bonus pages in the back provide space for kids to draw and write down their own worries.



 is a worry worrying you

Is A Worry Worrying You?

 Although the pictures are a tad dark (and some may even say scary), this book does a great job presenting solutions to all kinds of worries. For instance, what happens if you invite elephants over for a party and run out of tea? Lots of silly examples add humor and levity to the real-life worries (like a monster under the bed) kids experience. The author encourages kids to think about different ways to respond to their worries and how to solve problems without letting their anxiety take over.



 small things

Small Things

A stunning, wordless picture book that captures the essence of a young boy overcome with worries. His emotional state, so vividly reflected through his eyes, elicits empathy and understanding from readers who suffer from anxiety themselves. The boy is struggling both academically and socially. Every little worry is represented by tiny creatures that constantly surround him. Finally he realizes that everyone has their own insecurities, and pulls himself out of his self-isolation and doubt.



don't think about purple elephants 

Don't Think About Purple Elephants<

Like many adults, Sophie is too busy during the day to spend time worrying. But when she settles in to bed at night, she can't seem to fall asleep. Her fears may seem frivolous, like what if her favorite shirt is not washed by the weekend, but they interfere with her getting proper rest. After a long spell of grumpy days, Sophie's mom finally comes up with a solution. She encourages her daughter to focus on, of all things, purple elephants! This whimsical thought whisks Sophie away to a dreamland filled with red giraffes, blue monkeys, and more. A lighthearted approach for kids who worry, just right for the preschool crowd.


 when worry takes hold 

When Worry Takes Hold

Worry has a way of sneaking into Maya's head where it balloons. After a short while, it dominates her every thought and leaves no room for peace or happiness. Through a series of breathing exercises, cleverly named Courage, Maya learns to break free of Worry's strong grasp. Although Worry never goes away permanently, Maya's technique for handling it is effective. She find happiness again in this empowering picture book for kids with anxiety.



help your dragon deal with anxiety

Help Your Dragon Deal With Anxiety

 A dragon is a wonderful pet with lots of skills that come in handy, like lighting the fireplace or the candles on a birthday cake. In this story, though, the dragon is also riddled with anxious thoughts. He worries about a math test, a doctor's visit, a book report, and all sorts of other concerns. Fortunately, his boy knows just how to help him cope with his anxiety. This book is a great way to start a conversation with your child and talk about all the way to handle his or her own fears.



wilma jean the worry machine

Wilma Jean the Worry Machine

Wilma Jean is here to help kids who suffer from the kind of anxiety that interferes with their daily life. A bouncy poem and colorful illustrations add a touch of humor to a serious subject. Readers will learn all kinds of tools that Wilma Jean relies on to cope with her overwhelming sense of fear and worry. Helpful back matter provides guidance for parents to assist their kids in dealing with this often overlooked mental health issue.




 What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety

What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety

This is the essential self-help books for kids, with the help of their parents, to take control of their lives when they have become overwhelmed by anxiety. A popular cognitive-behavior commonly used by child therapists is explained along with techniques to put into practice. Instead of accommodating and coaxing anxious children through difficult situations, this guide offers the support kids need to confront their fears.



 hey warrior

 A highly effective way to empower a child with anxiety is to explain the physiology of this emotional state. This whimsically illustrated picture book offers an easy-to-understand explanation and provides techniques for overcoming worried feelings. Different scenarios are presented with solutions that kids can try. Recommended by therapists and parents alike.



 when my worries get too big

When My Worries Get Too Big!: A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live With Anxiety

 This helpful, accessible guide is written for children who suffer from anxiety. Funny, cartoon-like illustrations add an appealing, lighthearted touch to a difficult topic. All thoughout the book, kids are provided a variety of techniques to identify stress triggers before things get out of control. The interactive exercises are especially useful, as they encourage kids to engage with the story and write about their own anxieties. There is supplemental material for parents and therapists to use for teaching relaxation techniques to children.



 you've got dragons

You've Got Dragons

This helpful children's book about anxiety reads like an action-adventure story. Dragons are all the worries, anxieties and stressors in a little boy's life. He learns that some dragons pass by quickly and others stick around a little longer. In his quest to conquer these dragons, the boy learns some important techniques, like ignoring them or staring them straight in the eye. Most important of all, he learns that all dragons will eventually move on and leave him alone.



 the whatifs

Cora has a serious case of the Whatifs. She is weighed down by unnerving thoughts all day long. From simple problems (What if my crayon breaks?) to more complicated scenarios (What if the sun stops shining?), she is bothered by incessant worries. Visually represented as nagging little critters, the Whatifs feed off of her anxiety and multiply. When the day of her big piano recital arrives, Cora, is especially plagued self-doubt. Will she be able to push the Whatifs away and play her music without disruption? A great addition to the bookshelf for any child with a worried disposition.



 gloria's big problem

Gloria's Big Problem

A helpful book for anxiety-ridden kids, especially those who experience stage fright. Gloria is a performer at heart and spends hours perfecting her craft alone in her bedroom. Just the thought of singing, dancing, or acting in front of an audience is enough to make her quiver. Her anxiety, represented by a big, green monster, follows her wherever she goes. One day Gloria, feeling a burst of confidence, heads to an audition for a play. When she looks out into the audience, the monster is sitting in the first row, ready to disrupt her performance. Fed up, Gloria shouts "Stop!" and miracualously, the monster shrinks. An empowering message for kids who want to take control of their anxiety.


 my monster and me 

My Monster and Me

A valuable addition to this genre of children's books, My Monster and Me is a must-read for kids with anxiety. The enormous burden of a little boy's worries is represented by a gigantic monster. This scary beast follows the boy wherever he goes and interferes with all of his fun. It is not until the boy starts talking openly about the monster that he feels empowered and in control of his life. The illustrations, which portray a shrinking monster, are extremely effective in supporting the message.



what if pig

What If, Pig?

Pig is a lot of things- kind, empathetic, thoughtful, caring, and loyal. But he also has a trait that gets in the way of living his best life. He is a big-time worrier who is plagued with the "What ifs?" whenever confronting anything new. In this darling story, Pig is planning an epic party for  Mouse and the rest of their friends. What should be a fun experience is extremely stressful for Pig who worries about everything that could possibly go wrong. A sweet story of friendship that teaches children they can talk to others about their fears and anxieties.




 i am stronger than anxiety

I Am Stronger Than Anxiety

Lots of little kids feel worried and anxious from time to time, but sometimes these feelings get in the way living a productive life. This is the story of Nick, a little boy who suffers from overwhelming bouts of anxiety. In gentle, rhyming verse, readers learn about all the things that worry Nick and what he does to deal with his stress. Kids will relate Nick's mental state and learn from his coping strategies. In addition to the story, there are tips for both kids and parents to follow in order to help manage their own anxiety.


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anxious child  
Reading Keeps the Worries Away

Learning how to overcome anxiety and channel those overactive nerves into positive energy is easier for some children than others. Reading stories about specific situations that cause worry, like  sleeping in their own bedcan be beneficial. An occasional case of butterflies in the belly is a normal reaction to a new situation. It is also extremely common for kids to feel anxious taking tests, performing in front of others, or presenting to a classroom of peers. Many times, it just takes practice and some positive reinforcement to manage the anxiety that arises. Also, consider reading yoga books which provide stretching, breathing, and exercise routines that all help reduce anxiety and worry.


girl with anxiety


For the kids whose worries are more extreme and pervasive, their quality of life can be impacted. Invitations to birthday parties can trigger anxiety, so reading books about sleepovers  may be helpful in alleviating fear of separation or sleeping away from home. This is especially true when anxiety levels are disproportionately high relative to the circumstance. Children with overactive imaginations can feel crippled by anxious thoughts. This is especially the case for little ones returning to school who expect worst possible scenarios around every corner. Reading children's books is an effective way to help a little one learn to handle their worries.


girl with anxiety


Find More Inspiration from Picture Books

Wise Words from Winnie the Pooh

Stories For Kids Who Feel Sad

Picture Books About Feeling Left Out

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