Picture books are a great way to explain big concepts to very young children. With continuing recognition of anxiety and worry in early childhood, parents, guardians, and teachers may choose to turn to literature to help explain these concepts along with coping mechanisms. These 10 picture books about anxiety gently both introduce vocabulary as well as offer advice and coping mechanisms for young children.
All Birds Have Anxiety by Kathy Hoopmann
Life as a bird can be stressful! Through a light-touch, quizzical depiction of bird behaviour, All Birds Have Anxiety uses colourful images and astute explanations to explore with gentle humour what it means to live with anxiety day-to-day, and how to begin to deal with it.
Breathe by Scott Magoon
This story follows a young whale on a journey of discovery as he experiences his first day at sea on his own. After a day of independence, this little whale delights in returning home to his mother.
Captain Starfish by Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Colpoys
When Alfie’s shyness keeps him from having fun with his classmates, he finds reassurance in the fish and other creatures at the aquarium. He learns that there’s a happy medium between hiding away and being the star, and that he needs to come out of hiding every once and awhile to make meaningful connections.
Pilar’s Worries by Victoria M. Sanchez, illustrated by Jess Golden
Pilar loves to dance. But when tryouts for her favorite ballet are held, Pilar is anxious. 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.
Small Things by Mel Tregonning
On the cusp of having everything slip from his grasp, a young boy has to find a way to rebuild his sense of self. An ordinary boy in an ordinary world. With no words, only illustrations, Small Things tells the story of a boy who feels alone with worries but who learns that help is always close by. An extraordinary story, told simply and with breathtaking beauty.
Thank Goodness for Bob by Matthew Morgan, illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo
Told with sensitivity and a sense of fun, this relatable story encourages empathy and illustrates the importance of talking about worries. This story tackles a sensitive issue with a lightness of touch, allowing parents to approach a difficult topic through the comfort of a fun story.
What Do You Do With A Problem? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn’t so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared.
When Lions Roar by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Chris Raschka
Sometimes the world seems scary—too scary. Thunder is booming! A big dog is barking! This is a comforting story for young readers when their world becomes unsettled.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook
This fun and humorous book addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to use that can lessen the severity of anxiety.
The Worry Box by Suzanne Chiew, illustrated by Sean Julian
Murray Bear is supposed to go to the waterfall with his sister, Molly, to meet a friend, but Murray is worried. Molly tells him about her special worry box, and offers to help make one for him. But will it really help?