The best kid books for anxiety/stress

Who am I?

Let’s face it—kids’ anxiety has gone through the roof over the last two years since the start of the pandemic. Not being able to play with friends, participate on sports teams, or even have sleepovers has had an impact. For kids, play is one of their main ways to relieve stress.  Here are my five go-to books for kids dealing with anxiety, worries, and stress. 


I wrote...

What to Do When You're Scared and Worried: A Guide for Kids

By James J. Crist,

Book cover of What to Do When You're Scared and Worried: A Guide for Kids

What is my book about?

I wrote this book back in 2004. My goal was to take what we know about anxiety in adults, its causes, and treatments, and bring it down to a child’s level. Learning about how your brain is wired to react quickly when it thinks you’re in danger has kept us safe for thousands of years. Changing your thoughts, desensitizing yourself to things you fear, and practicing relaxation techniques all help kids feel better and reduce their anxiety.  

The books I picked & why

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

By Dawn Huebner, Bonnie Matthews (illustrator),

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

Why this book?

This book talks about growing your worries and if you feed them, they just get bigger. Just like tomatoes! Using humor is a great way to get kids to learn, as well as relax. Finding the humor in situations can go a long way to learning to cope with them. Spending less time with your worries lets them wither away, just like not watering tomatoes. A great analogy!

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

By Dawn Huebner, Bonnie Matthews (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What to Do When You Worry Too Much as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What to Do When You Worry Too Much is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used in the treatment of generalised anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change.

It includes a note to parents by psychologist and author Dawn Huebner, PhD.

Name and Tame Your Anxiety: A Kid's Guide

By Summer Batte,

Book cover of Name and Tame Your Anxiety: A Kid's Guide

Why this book?

Directed at middle school-age kids, this book offers practical advice to pre-teens on how to practice anxiety-taming strategies. It even includes a chapter on medication. Quotes from real kids also make the subject matter more relatable and let kids know that they’re not alone. The sections on what therapy is like and how you can advocate for yourself can be empowering for kids as well as teaching lifelong skills.

Name and Tame Your Anxiety: A Kid's Guide

By Summer Batte,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Name and Tame Your Anxiety as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves

By Trevor Romain, Elizabeth Verdick, Steve Mark (illustrator)

Book cover of Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves

Why this book?

This book contains lots of great ideas for handling your stress, again with humor. The book gives a “Stress’s Job Description,” notes how “sneaky” stress can be in getting you upset, and gives directions on how to become a “panic mechanic” by learning to identify what’s wrong (the “stress mess” and ways to cope) and how to avoid the world’s worst stress relievers, such as hurting or blaming others.

Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves

By Trevor Romain, Elizabeth Verdick, Steve Mark (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Fighting Invisible Tigers: Stress Management for Teens

By Earl Hipp,

Book cover of Fighting Invisible Tigers: Stress Management for Teens

Why this book?

I really like the title of this book because it captures why your brain reacts as it does to fear, anxiety, and stress. Because of the fight-or-flight reaction in response to danger, your brain revs your body up to get ready to fight a tiger or run away. But that reaction doesn’t help when your stress is about taking a test, introducing yourself to someone, or handling a rough situation at home. It’s like your brain is reacting to invisible tigers chasing you. Self-care for “tiger bites” is a fun way to think about ways to reduce the impact of stressful situations.

Fighting Invisible Tigers: Stress Management for Teens

By Earl Hipp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fighting Invisible Tigers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger

By Elizabeth Verdick, Marjorie Lisovskis,

Book cover of How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger

Why this book?

While this book isn’t specifically about anxiety or stress, many kids react to both by becoming more irritable and easily angered. Learning strategies to tame their anger can go a long way to making their relationships more harmonious. Turning anger into positive power by learning to be assertive and resolve conflict is an awesome skill that will serve kids well into their adult years.  

How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger

By Elizabeth Verdick, Marjorie Lisovskis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in anxiety, stress management, and worry?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about anxiety, stress management, and worry.

Anxiety Explore 139 books about anxiety
Stress Management Explore 16 books about stress management
Worry Explore 8 books about worry

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Smart Girl's Guide, Starving the Anxiety Gremlin, and Yoko if you like this list.