Picture books about anxiety have a special appeal because kids can be anxious too. Even before they’re old enough to fully articulate their feelings, they can worry about a variety of things. These books help children deal with these worries and also learn that they’re not alone. If you have older kids dealing with anxiety, check out our lists of tween books about anxiety and YA books about mental illness.
In the meantime, here’s a list of picture books!
Best Picture Books About Anxiety
Here are some of the best picture books about anxiety:
Ten Beautiful Things
Published: January 12, 2021
Lily and her grandmother search for ten beautiful things as they take a long car ride to Iowa and Lily’s new home with Gran. At first, Lily sees nothing beautiful in the April slush and cloudy sky. Soon though, Lily can see beauty in unexpected places, from the smell of spring mud to a cloud shaped like a swan to a dilapidated barn. A furious rainstorm mirrors Lily’s anxiety, but as it clears Lily discovers the tenth beautiful thing: Lily and Gran and their love for each other.
Wilmer Jean- The Worry Machine
Published: January 4, 2021
“My stomach feels like it’s tied up in a knot.
My knees lock up, and my face feels hot.
You know what I mean?
I’m Wilma Jean,
The Worry Machine.”
Anxiety is a subjective sense of worry, apprehension, and/or fear. It is considered to be the number one health problem in America. Although quite common, anxiety disorders in children are often misdiagnosed and overlooked. Everyone feels fear, worry and apprehension from time to time, but when these feelings prevent a person from doing what he/she wants and/or needs to do, anxiety becomes a disability.
The Invisible String
Published: September 1, 2000
“That’s impossible”, said twins Jeremy & Liza after their Mom told them they’re all connected by this thing called an Invisible String. “What kind of string”? They asked with a puzzled look to which Mom replied, “An Invisible String made of love.” That’s where the story begins. A story that teaches of the tie that really binds. The Invisible String reaches from heart to heart. Does everybody have an Invisible String? How far does it reach, anyway? Does it ever go away? Read all about it! THE INVISIBLE STRING is a very simple approach to overcoming the fear of loneliness or separation with an imaginative flair that children can easily identify with and remember. Here is a warm and delightful lesson teaching young and old that we aren’t ever really alone and reminding children (and adults!) that when we are loved beyond anything we can imagine. “People who love each other are always connected by a very special String, made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love.”
Breath With Me: Using Breath to Feel Strong, Calm, and Happy
Published: January 1, 2019
When you’re mad or worried or can’t wake up in the morning, what can you do? Use the amazing superpower that you already have―breathing.
Our newest offering from the bestselling creators of Good Night Yoga teaches kids fun and easy breathing practices based on the proven methods of yoga and mindfulness meditation.
When something makes you mad or even feels unfair,
try this counting breath and you’ll feel calmer there.
Sit up and let your spine grow tall.
Take a deep breath in, counting silently 1 . . . 2 . . . 3.
Then let your breath out slowly, counting 1 . . . 2 . . . 3.
When you go somewhere you’ve never been and you aren’t sure what to do,
you can use a dandelion breath to feel more comfortable trying something new.
Sit up and let your spine grow tall.
Put one hand on your chest.
Place your other hand on your belly.
Take slow deep breaths and feel your chest and your belly move up and down as the air goes in and out of your body.
At night when it’s hard to fall asleep because your mind is busy and your body feels tight,
try balloon breath to get relaxed and ready for a good night.
Lie down on your back and let your hands rest by your sides, palms up.
Inhale through your nose and imagine filling your body with breath like a big balloon.
Exhale and blow the air out through your mouth.
What color is your balloon?
What Do You Do With a Problem
Published: July 1, 2016
A #1 New York Times Best Seller, What Do You Do With a Problem? is a story for anyone, at any age.
From the same author and illustrator as the #1 nationally best-selling What Do You Do With an Idea? comes a new book to encourage you to look closely at problems and discover the possibilities they can hold.
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.
What Do You Do With a Problem? is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It’s a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it’s here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem… and yourself.
Published: November 5, 2013
Today is the perfect day for the zoo! But Little T is afraid to go. The only trouble is, she can’t remember what scared her at the zoo the last time. To help her remember, her mom, dad, and sister come up with an ingeniously creative solution: in a flurry of bubble wrap, umbrellas, water bottles, salad tongs, a mop, a vacuum cleaner, and much, much more, her family brings to life an astounding parade of zoo animals—in alphabetical order! Can you guess which animals the family is acting out? And can Little T stop feeling like such a “fraidyzoo”?
First Day Jitters
Published: February 1, 2000
Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.
Published: July 25, 2000
Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start. And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.
Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. “Worry, worry, worry,” her family said. “Too much worry.”
And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when it’s time to go back to school and she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!
All Birds Have Anxiety
Published: March 21, 2017
Life as a bird can be stressful! From worrying about airplanes, windows, and getting enough worms to eat, it is clear that birds can be anxious beings. 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.
Following the style of the best-selling All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome and All Dogs Have ADHD, wonderful colour photographs express the complex and difficult ideas related to anxiety disorder in an easy-to-understand way. This simple yet profound book validates the deeper everyday experiences of anxiety, provides an empathic understanding of the many symptoms associated with anxiety, and offers compassionate suggestions for change.
The combination of understanding and gentle humour make this the ideal introduction to anxiety disorder for those diagnosed with this condition, their family and friends and those generally interested in understanding anxiety.
Ruby Finds a Worry
Published: September 3, 2019
Meet Ruby — a happy, curious, imaginative young girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It’s not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . and a little bigger . . . . Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about.
But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there’s a great way to get rid of them too . . . she just has to share her feelings.
Published: April 1, 2014
Take a deep breath and dive into a day in the life of a baby whale, told with luminous illustrations and spare text, with a fresh twist on a timeless message.
Swim! Play all day. Breathe.
This simply told story follows a young whale on a journey of discovery as he experiences his first day at sea on his own! He swims, explores, and makes friends in his marine habitat. After a day of independence, this little whale delights in returning home to his mother. Young readers will be drawn to Scott Magoon’s reassuring story of adventure.
Published: May 9, 2017
Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
Gloria’s Big Problem
Published: January 7, 2020
Gloria loves to sing, dance, and act in her bedroom, but not in public. No way. Gloria’s big problem makes sure of that, following her wherever she goes and constantly reminding her that she’s anxious and frightened, that she’s not good enough, and that everyone will laugh at her. Anxious Gloria worries all the time, about everything. Until, one day, Gloria summons all her courage to try out for a community theater production. She marches herself to the audition, and her big problem marches right in behind her. She gets up on stage, and her big problem takes a seat in the front row and starts to laugh at her. And then at last she yells “STOP!”, and her big problem shrinks to a little problem, and Gloria wins a part in the play.
Published: April 6, 2017
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 breath taking beauty.
Published: September 25, 2012
An enormous black dog and a very tiny little girl star in this offbeat tale about confronting one’s fears.
When a huge black dog appears outside the Hope family home, each member of the household sees it and hides. Only Small, the youngest Hope, has the courage to face the black dog, who might not be as frightening as everyone else thinks.
Published: March 20, 2018
A quiet boy with anxiety learns to shine in this award-winning picture book that celebrates introversion
Alfie wants to participate in the best parts of being a kid, from his friend Antoinette’s birthday party to the relay races at school. But his shyness keeps him from engaging. When Alfie wakes up with That Feeling on the morning of yet another big event—the underwater costume parade—his mom takes him to the aquarium.
There, Alfie meets a starfish who shines so boldly Alfie feels small. But suddenly, a tiny clownfish swims up to Alfie for a quick hello and retreats again. Alfie begins to understand 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.
Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma
Published: July 3, 2018
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?
Hey Warrior: A Book for Kids About Anxiety
Published: September 27, 2018
Kids can do amazing things with the right information. Understanding why anxiety feels the way it does and where the physical symptoms come from is a powerful step in turning anxiety around.
Anxiety explained, kids empowered.
Don’t Worry, Little Crab
Published: April 7, 2020
Little Crab and Very Big Crab live in a tiny rock pool near the sea. Today they’re going for a dip in the big ocean. “This is going to be so great,” says Little Crab, splish-splashing and squelch-squelching along, all the way to the very edge. Then comes a first glance down at the waves. WHOOSH! Maybe it’s better if they don’t go in? With vivid colors, bold shapes, and his trademark visual humor, Chris Haughton shows that sometimes a gentle “don’t worry, I’m here” can keep tentative little crabs sidestepping ahead — and help them discover the brilliant worlds that await when they take the plunge.
Butterflies on the First Day of School
Published: May 7, 2019
Rosie can’t wait to start kindergarten—she’s had her pencils sharpened and her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, on the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly, and she’ll feel better soon. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she says hello to a new friend on the bus, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! As the day goes on, Rosie frees all her butterflies, and even helps another shy student let go of hers, too.
Published: February 1, 2006
Scaredy Squirrel never leaves his nut tree. It’s way too dangerous out there. He could encounter tarantulas, green Martians or killer bees. But in his tree, every day is the same and if danger comes along, he’s well-prepared. Scaredy Squirrel’s emergency kit includes antibacterial soap, Band-Aids and a parachute.
Day after day he watches and waits, and waits and watches, until one day … his worst nightmare comes true! Scaredy suddenly finds himself out of his tree, where germs, poison ivy and sharks lurk.
But as Scaredy Squirrel leaps into the unknown, he discovers something really uplifting …
Saturday Is Swimming Day
Published: June 12, 2018
New things can be scary — but as one endearing little girl discovers, it’s perfectly fine to take your time.
Swimming lessons are on Saturdays, and every Saturday one little girl has a stomachache. When she gets to the pool it’s loud, the floor is wet and slippery, and her swim cap is too tight. Her swimming instructor, Mary, says it’s OK to sit by the edge if she doesn’t want to get in the water this week. The next Saturday the girl has a stomachache again, but with Mary’s gentle encouragement, she eventually manages to make it into the pool to practice her kicks. Little by little, the girl’s confidence grows — until one Saturday comes around when she has no stomachache at all! In a charming and relatable story about trying something new, author-illustrator Hyewon Yum shows that sometimes a little bravery and a lot of patience are all you need to face your fear.
Me and My Fear
Published: September 11, 2018
When a young immigrant girl has to travel to a new country and start at a new school, she is accompanied by her Fear who tells her to be alone and afraid, growing bigger and bigger every day with questions like “how can you hope to make new friends if you don’t understand their language?” But this little girl is stronger than her Fear. A heart-warming and timely tale from the bestselling author and illustrator of The Journey, this book shows us the importance of sharing your Fear with others–after all, everyone carries a Fear with them, even if it’s small enough to fit into their pocket!
When Lions Roar
Published: September 24, 2013
WHEN LIONS ROAR is a caring and reassuring story of a young child who faces his fear and makes his world a safe place again.2012 Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka and bestselling author Robie H. Harris pair together to create a comforting story for young readers when their world becomes unsettled.Thunder is booming!A big dog is barking!Sometimes the world seems scary–too scary. But what if you shout, “GO AWAY!” Will the sun come out? Will a flower bloom?
The Worry Box
Published: March 6, 2018
Murray Bear is supposed to go to the waterfall with his sister, Molly, to meet a friend, but Murray is worried. “What if it’s too LOUD?” he cries “Or what if I get swept away!” So Molly tells him about her special worry box. “When I’m worried about something,” she says, “I write it down, then put it inside.” She offers to help make one for Murray, and he takes it on their journey-but will it really help?
There Might Be Lobsters
Published: May 9, 2017
Come on, Sukie, you can do it! A little dog’s paralyzing anxiety gives way to bravery when someone smaller is in need in this humorous, tenderly sympathetic story.
Lots of things at the beach scare Sukie. Lots. Because she is just a small dog, and the stairs are big and sandy, and the waves are big and whooshy, and the balls are big and beachy. And besides, there might be lobsters. With endearing illustrations and a perfectly paced text that captures a timid pup’s looping thoughts, here is a funny and honest read-aloud about how overwhelming the world can be when you’re worried — and how empowering it is to overcome your fears when it matters the most.
Published: October 1, 2018
Pilar loves to dance. She pliés while brushing her teeth.She leaps when hurrying to ballet class. But when tryouts for her favoriteballet are held, Pilar is anxious. Auditioning makes her whole body feelscared. But by using some of the coping techniques she’s learned and focusingon her love for ballet, she is able to persevere. This gentle story is a greattool for children dealing with anxiety. Featuredin Book Riot’s “10 Picture Books About Anxiety For Children Who Worry,”HuffPost‘s “17 Children’s Books For Anxious Kids,” and ChildMind Institute‘s “44 Children’s Books About Mental Health.”
Published: October 6, 2020
A modern Wemberly Worried-featuring dinosaurs!-for today’s young readers, with reassuring, lighthearted text and charming illustrations sure to calm the anxious butterflies in any child’s tummy.
It’s a beautiful day and Worrysaurus has planned a special picnic. But it isn’t long before a small butterfly of worry starts fluttering in his tummy…
What if he hasn’t brought enough to eat?
What if he gets lost in the jungle?
What if it rains?!
With a little help from his mom, Worrysaurus finds a way to soothe the anxious butterflies, chase his fears away, and find peace and happiness in the moment at hand.
Discover the perfect book to help every little anxious Worrysaurus let go of their fears, and feel happy in the moment at hand! The Worrysaurus strikes just the right balance of positive, lighthearted, and kid-friendly, with reassuring, rhyming text from Rachel Bright, the bestselling author of The Lion Inside and Love Monster, and charming illustrations from Chris Chatterton. Perfect for any reader who might feel the flutter of an anxious butterfly in their tummy, The Worrysaurus is sure to become a storytime favorite
Randall the Blue Spider Goes Surfing
Published: May 6, 2021
Randall the Blue Spider loves the ocean and the waves that go crash. Today, he wants to enter the surfing competition to win an ice cream prize. But he is nervous that he might fall in front of all the eyes watching him. With the help of his friend, Chester the Caterpillar, Randall learns how to cope with these difficult feelings and take his chances at winning!
Written by mother and son duo, Ryeson & Shana Bull, Randall the Blue Spider Goes Surfing-the first book in the Randall the Blue Spider series-teaches children how to name their fears and overcome them by offering simple coping mechanisms…and lots of silliness!
Published: August 25, 2020
Cora is struggling with her Whatif questions ahead of a big piano recital in this timely picture book about overcoming anxiety.
What if my dog runs away?
What if I forget my homework?
What if the sun stops shining?
What if my crayon breaks?
Cora is constantly worrying about everything. Because of this, the Whatifs love her. They sneak up to her and give her all kinds of doubts: big or small, silly or frightening, likely or impossible. As she prepares for an upcoming piano recital, the Whatifs cling on tighter and drag her down, making her anxious about messing up during the concert. Will she be able to change her worry-filled thoughts into hopeful ones?
Published: April 26, 2016
A touching and reassuring story about the jitters associated with first experiences — and the satisfaction that comes with conquering your fears.
Jack loves playing the trumpet, and for weeks he’s been looking forward to taking part in his first concert. But on the morning of the big day, Jack finds he has a Worry. And his Worry starts to grow. Even when Jack’s mother calls him for a special breakfast, even when he hides under the bed or runs around the yard, his Worry follows him. Suddenly, when it’s almost time to leave for the concert, Jack finds it’s all too much. For anyone who’s ever been afraid of failing at something new, this book offers just what’s needed to shrink a Worry down to size.
Published: August 11, 2020
Have you ever had an unwelcome thought that you just couldn’t get rid of, no matter how hard you tried to push it away?
In Catching Thoughts, a girl is plagued by an unwanted thought. No matter what she does–ignore it, yell at it, cry about it–the thought won’t go away. Frustrated and discouraged, she finally looks that bad thought in the face and says, “”Hello.”” At last, she is able to notice other more beautiful, positive thoughts all around her. As she catches hold of new thoughts, the girl discovers she can fill her mind with whatever she chooses.
For every child who has been weighed down by sadness or anxiety, this story teaches kids how to acknowledge unwanted thoughts, show them compassion, then actively replace them with positive thoughts instead. Catching Thoughts is a quiet, thoughtful story that teaches readers how to practice mindfulness, focusing on thoughts that bring beauty, joy, and calm into their lives.
A Little SPOT of Anxiety: A Story About Calming Your Worries
Published: May 8, 2020
Anxiety comes from feelings of being worried, scared, or anxious. When these feelings are in small amounts that’s okay because they are there to help protect us, but when they get TOO BIG, they become overwhelming and need to be managed. When a child experiences anxiety it can prevent them from doing what he/she wants and and/or needs to do, which can make anxiety a disability.
This story addresses how anxiety can affect all ages and how it can show up in all different situations. The Gray SPOT in the story creates a visual representation of Anxiety so that a child can see when it’s gets too big, and how to shrink it back to a Green PEACEFUL SPOT.
It offers creative strategies for children to help cope with anxiety as well. From the tip of my finger, to the center of my palm,
I can do this! I can be calm!
This worry grew too big, and cannot stay,
take a deep breath, and blow it away!
The goal of this book is to give children the tools needed to identity what emotion they are feeling and how to properly manage that emotion. Hardcover book comes with SPOT stickers and a SPOT POSTER (Printed on the inside of the dust jacket)
Worry Says What?
Published: December 22, 2020
A Picture Book about Silencing Anxious Thoughts
Allison Edwards, author of the best-selling book Why Smart Kids Worry, gives a glimpse into the ways worry whispers to young minds, and offers a powerful tool all children can use to silence those fears.
“Worry’s songs tie my tummy up in knots, and the things he says make my heart beat very fast. Sometimes he speaks in a whisper, and other times his voice gets so loud I can’t hear anything else.”
Worry and anxiety are currently the top mental health issues among children and teens. Children have a number of worries throughout childhood that will come and go. The problem is not with the worries themselves, but that children believe the worries to be true. With a relatable story and beautiful artwork, Worry Says What? will help children (and adults) flip their thinking when anxious thoughts begin and turn them into powerful reminders of all they are capable of accomplishing.
Weasel is Worried
Published: June 30, 2020
A perfect story for worriers big and small.
When Weasel is caught in a storm, he builds a fortress to hide in. But then he meets Mole, who loves to play in the wind and splash in the rain. Can Weasel learn to overcome his fears and find joy, whatever the weather?
There they are: 35 of the best picture books about anxiety! These children’s books about anxiety will help your kids soothe themselves.
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