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.  

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The books I picked & why

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

James J. Crist Why did I love 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!

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.


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

James J. Crist Why did I love 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.

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.

What is this book about?

Help kids understand and manage anxiety to boost their mental health and well-being.Anxiety in kids is on the rise: 4.4 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 have diagnosed anxiety disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And even more kids experience some level of anxiety in their daily lives. In kid-friendly language, award-winning Name and Tame Your Anxiety explains what anxiety is, how it works, and how to manage it.Written by a parent whose child has anxiety and vetted by Myles L. Cooley, Ph.D., author of A Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning…


Book cover of Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves

James J. Crist Why did I love 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.

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.

What is this book about?

Revised classic provides a humorous take on a nerve-wracking topic STRESS! updated to include modern stressors such as technology and social media.? Stress can make you feel anxious, awful, and afraid. It can leave you jumpy and jittery, upset and uptight. When kids show signs of stress, they need stress management tools that work. With jokes, fun illustrations, and plenty of authentic examples, this book helps kids understand what stress is and gives tons of tips to cope. Refreshed to address modern stressors like electronic devices and social media, this updated classic helps kids deal with stress like a seasoned…


Book cover of Fighting Invisible Tigers: Stress Management for Teens

James J. Crist Why did I love 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.

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.

What is this book about?

Fresh edition of a popular title offers teens straightforward advice on stress management, anxiety reduction, and digital well-being. Untempered stress among teens is approaching epidemic status. Prolonged and intense anxiety can feel like being stalked by a tiger, never knowing when it will strike. Helping adolescents cope with day-to-day stressors like school, friendships, family, and social media can help curb impulsivity and other risky behaviors. Now in its fourth edition, the revised and updated Fighting Invisible Tigers teaches teens proven techniques and stress management skills to face the rigors of growing up. Packed with useful information on how stress affects…


Book cover of How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger

James J. Crist Why did I love 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.  

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.

What is this book about?

Kids need help learning how to manage their anger. Blending solid information and sound advice with humor and lively illustrations, these anger-management tips guide kids to understand that anger is normal and to learn they can express it in healthy ways. The book teaches them how to recognize anger in themselves and others, how to handle situations and emotions (loneliness, guilt, frustration, fear) that lead to or mask anger, and how to deal with the anger they feel. This revised edition addresses children s exposure to increased societal violence and includes discussion and examples of anger related to texting and…


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Anatomy of Embodied Education: Creating Pathways to Brain-Mind Evolution

By E. Timothy Burns, Jim Brown,

Book cover of Anatomy of Embodied Education: Creating Pathways to Brain-Mind Evolution

E. Timothy Burns

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The vast mysterious terrain explored in this book encompasses the embodied human brain, the processes through which humans grow, develop, and learn, and the mystery of consciousness itself. We authors offer this guidebook to assist you in entering and exploring that terrain.

As parents and educators come to understand this terrain and these vital processes more fully, we also begin to see how we have been unnecessarily hampered by erroneous assumptions and flawed educational practices common to our culture. Then, seeing those impediments, we can create ways to move beyond them, allowing our children’s growth, development, and learning to proceed more freely and naturally.

Anatomy of Embodied Education: Creating Pathways to Brain-Mind Evolution

By E. Timothy Burns, Jim Brown,

What is this book about?

Imagine that you have obtained a guidebook for exploring a vast, mysterious forest that you have heard of, but have never known how to approach-a forest so intricate and lush that most people feel reluctant to enter it without an experienced guide, and yet so alluring that you long to wander its paths, follow its streams to their source, gain access to its panoramic views of terrains that have barely begun to be mapped.


What makes this terrain so alluring is that it enfolds largely untold knowledge of the processes through which humans grow, develop, learn. And as explorers understand…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in anxiety, stress management, and worry?

10,000+ 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 177 books about anxiety
Stress Management Explore 26 books about stress management
Worry Explore 10 books about worry