The best children's books on showing anxiety who’s boss

The Books I Picked & Why

Worry Says What?

By Allison Edwards, Ayesha Rubio

Worry Says What?

Why this book?

I love this picture book’s simple, playful approach to common worries and what happens when we believe them to be true. Edward’s main character perceives Worry as an imposing monster that camps out in her mind. Worry’s voice is loud and bossy at times and affects how she feels in her body. Even worse, Worry inhibits her ability to enjoy life and face challenges—until she learns how to talk back to it!

Every time I read this book I’m enchanted by its delightful illustrations and reminders to stand up to Worry. Just as the main character silences Worry’s voice by flipping anxious thoughts into brave affirmations and powerful reminders of all she’s capable of doing, so can the readers!


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Playing with Anxiety: Casey's Guide for Teens and Kids

By Lynn Lyons, Reid Wilson

Playing with Anxiety: Casey's Guide for Teens and Kids

Why this book?

I love Lynn Lyons’ direct yet playful approach to anxiety, and this book is no exception. Anxiety can be so bossy and messy, it can send messages to some kids that they can’t handle challenges.

That’s what happens to fourteen-year-old Casey, the main character. Casey’s anxiety imposes limitations on her life and makes her world smaller, including her ability to try new things or experience fun and success in school, relationships, and family situations.

Join Casey as she bravely steps into problem-solving mode and learns to tolerate a bit of discomfort when facing anxious moments. Along the way, she builds skills, resilience, and confidence. Ultimately, she expands her world and enjoyment of it. Full of key information, relatable stories, practical applications, and helpful tips—not to mention Lynn’s signature humor—this book is a must for parents or tweens/teens dealing with anxiety.


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The Anti-Test Anxiety Society

By Julia Cook, Anita Dufalla

The Anti-Test Anxiety Society

Why this book?

Julia Cook’s knack for taking on worrisome moments and turning them into fun stories never ceases to amaze me! Bertha Billingsworth (a.k.a. BB) doesn’t like tests. Just hearing the word stresses her out! It’s not until BB becomes a member of the Anti-Test Anxiety Society that she learns new ways of approaching tests.

It begins by BB shifting her thinking from, “I have” to take a test to “I get” to take a test. With this “can do” attitude, BB no longer associates a test as something that’s Terrible Every Single Time and soon realizes she can succeed. This picture book teaches kids how to be more confident at test-taking, so they can really show what they know. Be sure to check out Cook’s Wilma Jean the Worry Machine for more anxiety strategies!


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The Kissing Hand

By Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper, Nancy M. Leak

The Kissing Hand

Why this book?

Penn’s poignant tale, with its captivating illustrations and powerful message about facing anxious moments, never gets old. Chester the raccoon is worried about leaving his mother and starting school. His mother gently encourages Chester to face his worry by saying, “Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to do. Even if they seem strange and scary at first.”

Chester’s mom helps him further cope by sharing an old, wonderful secret called the Kissing Hand that she learned from her mother. This special Kissing Hand gesture reminds Chester of his mother’s love and bolsters him with strength and confidence to face the unknown. This classic, heartwarming story stands the test of time—for a parent dealing with a child facing separation anxiety or anyone stepping into a new or unfamiliar adventure.


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King's Day Out: The Car Wash

By Maggie Van Galen, Amy Wheadon, Leslie Beauregard

King's Day Out: The Car Wash

Why this book?

It’s not uncommon for kids with sensory processing challenges to feel anxious, especially when faced with new adventures. That’s why I’m so excited Maggie and Dr. Amy teamed up to create this endearing, problem-solving picture book designed to empower kids, parents, educators, and pediatric professionals.

Meet King, a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, who has to deal with uncomfortable sights, sounds, and feelings when he and his best friend Ben go to their first car wash. Armed with an “adventure bag” that helps Ben manage his anxiety and sensory differences, Ben shares his tools with King as they bravely face this unknown situation. Ride along with King and Ben as they put Ben’s adventure bag tools to good use, support each other and make an unfamiliar adventure a positive experience.


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