children's books dealing with anxiety



“What’s a good book I can read to my son/daughter about ……”


I often get asked to recommend books particularly for children and teenagers on various topics.   So I decided to provide a list of 10 suggestions of various children’s books dealing with anxiety (in no particular order).  This month I am focusing on books for kids in pre-school and elementary school.  I hope to make this a regular series and will do another post for pre-teen and teenagers dealing with anxiety.   For more possibilities of books/workbooks for kids on various topics you can head over to my Pinterest page.



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I am Too Absolutely Small for School Lauren Child (Grades PreK-K)       

A book from the well-known series about Lola and her older brother, Charlie who is always trying to help his quirky sister.  This one is about going to kindergarten and Charlie tries to get Lola to understand why it’s so important to go to school even though she gives her brother many (common) excuses of why she can’t go.  Great multi-media artwork that kids always enjoy.  




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Jake Starts School— Michael Wright  (Gr. Pre-K-1)

A lot of kids when being dropped off on the first day of school, tell their parents they don’t want them to go (including mine).  And this story depicts an over-the-top version of what would happen if parents were to stay with their son/daughter in class.  This is bound to crack some smiles for both kids and parents.





The Kissing Hand –Audrey Penn  (Gr. PreK-K )

This is one of the sweetest books about how to manage your feelings about going to school for the first time and being separated from family. This is a classic and if you haven’t read it yet, once you do you will know why.




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What to Do if you Worry Too Much; A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety     —Dawn Huebner PhD  (Gr. 2-5)

More of workbook than a story, this book written by a psychologist, helps reassure kids that they are not alone in dealing with their anxiety.  Provides kid-friendly concepts and illustrations along with strategies.  A great tool that parents can do together with their child  to reinforce concepts learned throughout the book or in between therapy sessions.




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Wilma Jean the Worry Machine  Julia Cook (Gr. 2-5 ) 

Poor Wilma Jean–she cannot help herself from  saying “What if?”  The author provides great strategies of how to deal with different types of worries (ones you can control vs not control).  Kids love her books with the colorful, relatable characters.   





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Wemberley Worried — Kevin Henkes (Gr. PreK-K)   

Wemberley worries about everything in her life including going to school until she meets a friend just like her.   Young kids who struggle with generalized anxiety will relate to all of her concerns and find comfort that they are not the only one who has worries.




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When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children who Live with Anxiety Kari Dunn Buron   (Gr. 1-5)

A great book for those kids who have intense emotions regarding anxiety including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD etc.  It gives specific calming strategies and simple tools to help families have a way to communicate about their child’ s anxiety.  




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Testing Miss MalarkeyJudy Finchler   (Gr. 2-5)  

A humorous tale for those kids who are worrying about standardized tests (that happen oh-so-often these days!).  Although it doesn’t give specific strategies, it tries to give the perspective that testing isn’t about the student’s scores but about measuring up the school staff.




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A Bad Case of the StripesDavid Shannon  (Gr. 1-4)

A fantastic read about being yourself and what happens if you try to be what others want you to be.   The underlying theme focuses on anxiety, which illustrates the the consequences of not being yourself and a good read for those kids who struggle with some social anxiety.




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Up and Down the Worry Hill; A Children’s Book about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and it’s Treatment —Aureen Pinto Wagner PhD (Gr. 1-4)

Children who have OCD will see themselves in the main character, Casey who struggles with getting through his day-to-day routine.  There is  a parent companion book that some also might find it helpful in supporting their child.


Julie Safranski, LCSW is a Chicago psychotherapist in private practice.  She can be contacted at