The best books about worry

9 authors have picked their favorite books about worry and why they recommend each book.

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Worry Says What?

By Allison Edwards, Ayesha Rubio (illustrator),

Book cover of Worry Says What?

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!

Worry Says What?

By Allison Edwards, Ayesha Rubio (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Worry Says What? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

From personal experience living with an anxiety disorder, I’ve discovered that once you learn about anxiety and how it works, it’s not so frightening! I’ve applied this knowledge and background to my roles as a mom, award-winning children’s author, and former teacher who transformed into a neuroeducation consultant. I specialize in workshops and one-on-one coaching for schools, families, organizations, and corporations on anxiety, stress management, executive function, and growth mindset. My books are inspired by my desire to engage kids and adults in fun, playful, and empowering stories. My passion to equip others with practical problem-solving tools to decrease stress, promote healthy change and maximize their unique potential is boundless! 


I wrote...

ABC Worry Free

By Noel Foy, Olga Ivanov (illustrator), Aleksey Ivanov (illustrator)

Book cover of ABC Worry Free

What is my book about?

A.B.C. Worry Free is my response to the alarming spike in anxiety we’re seeing among children. When Max gets stung by a bee, his anxiety bosses him around and tells him he can no longer play outside with his friends. Through the lens of Max, readers get a glimpse into how anxiety looks, sounds, and feels and how it interferes with his ability to do what he loves: play outside with his friends!

This book offers kids (and adults!) a relatable story and actionable approach to anxiety. It’s designed to help process worries and develop the skills needed to manage them. Max’s A.B.C. “trick” can be used anyplace, anytime to reset and shift perspectives on anxious thoughts. Join Max and learn how to regain control over anxiety’s vicious cycle and worry less, enjoy more!

The Worry Cure

By Robert L. Leahy,

Book cover of The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You

Most people who suffer from OCD also suffer from anxiety in general. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder that we see. This book is a great resource to help you understand the nature of anxiety. It also offers practical and well-researched techniques and tools to help you manage anxiety more effectively in order to help you minimize the impact of anxiety and worry on your life. 

The Worry Cure

By Robert L. Leahy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Worry Cure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you worry that you'll say the wrong thing, wear the wrong outfit, or look out of place? Or maybe that you'll make a mistake at work, disappoint your partner, or overlook a serious health problem? Or perhaps you just worry too much - constantly running what-if scenarios through your head? Of course you do - we all do. Worry is a central issue in many people's lives; 38% of people say they worry every day. In this groundbreaking book, Dr Robert Leahy offers new insight, advice and practical techniques for everyone who has ever had a sleepless night. Using…

Who am I?

I’ve been a practicing clinical psychologist for over thirty years. I’ve seen many patients who have suffered from OCD – some to the point of being debilitated by their symptoms. Few things are as gratifying as helping someone overcome OCD and live a normal life. While the disorder can be confusing, once people understand what OCD is and how to treat it, they can literally change their lives for the better. This is why I went into this field to begin with, and after thirty years, I still feel privileged and grateful when I can help someone escape the prison of OCD symptoms. 


I wrote...

The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

By Mark E. Crawford,

Book cover of The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

What is my book about?

OCD can be debilitating for those who suffer from this disorder. Many people suffer in silence because symptoms can be confusing and embarrassing. Most people have a stereotype of what OCD looks like, but this disorder can masquerade in many forms. The good news is that OCD is a well-researched biological disorder with very effective treatments that can help people overcome intrusive thoughts and the need to engage in compulsive behaviors.

This book was written as an easy-to-understand overview of OCD in order to help people demystify and understand this disorder and to learn ways to overcome it. 

Am I Overthinking This?

By Michelle Rial,

Book cover of Am I Overthinking This?: Over-Answering Life's Questions in 101 Charts

I adore these images. Each is like a tiny memoir wrapped in a graph. Even beyond the puzzle-like pleasure of decoding them, I love Rial’s playful use of real objects. Coffee rings form a Venn diagram about coffee addiction. Floss traces a line graph on dental hygiene. Half-eaten cheese sticks become the bars on a chart of cheese consumption. A delicious book, in every sense!

Am I Overthinking This?

By Michelle Rial,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Am I Overthinking This? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Am I overthinking this? Probably.

This is a book of questions with answers, over-answers, and many charts: Did I screw up? How do I achieve work-life balance? Am I eating too much cheese? Do I have too many plants? Like a conversation with your non-judgmental best friend, Michelle Rial delivers a playful take on the little dilemmas that loom large in the mind of every adult through artful charts and funny, insightful questions.

* Building on her popular Instagram account @michellerial, Am I Overthinking This? brings whimsical charm to topics big and small
* Offers solidarity for the stressed, answers…

Who am I?

Explaining math demands great visuals. I should know: I explain math for a living, and I cannot draw. Like, at all. The LA Times art director once compared my cartoons to the work of children and institutionalized patients. (He printed them anyway.) In the nerdier corners of the internet, I’m known as the “Math with Bad Drawings” guy, and as a purveyor of artless art, I’ve developed an eye for the good stuff: striking visuals that bring mathematical concepts to life. Here are five books that blow my stick figures out of the water. (But please buy my book anyway, if for no deeper reason than pity.)


I wrote...

Math Games with Bad Drawings: 75 1/4 Simple, Challenging, Go-Anywhere Games--And Why They Matter

By Ben Orlin,

Book cover of Math Games with Bad Drawings: 75 1/4 Simple, Challenging, Go-Anywhere Games--And Why They Matter

What is my book about?

It's the ultimate mathematical game chest: 70-plus games, playable with just paper, pens, and the occasional handful of coins. Drawing from Argentine puzzle magazines, Japanese schoolyards, Parisian universities, and everywhere in between, I hand-picked the games with three adjectives in mind: (1) fun, (2) thought-provoking, and (3) easy to play. Each takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. Better yet, each brings out the best in human thought, from cognitive psychology to quantum mechanics.

Ruby Finds a Worry

By Tom Percival,

Book cover of Ruby Finds a Worry

As an expert worrier, I really related to this book about a spunky girl named Ruby who one day discovers a worry. What I love about this book is that the worry is illustrated, so we can see its intimidating facial expression and watch it grow in size. The worry follows Ruby to all her favorite places—the school bus, the swing set, the movies—and it prevents her from doing what she loves. But it’s not until she spots another worry sitting with a boy that she is able to face her fear about the worry and do the best thing ever – talk about it. I love how this story shows children that talking about our feelings gives us power and strength to work through them.

Ruby Finds a Worry

By Tom Percival,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ruby Finds a Worry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I’m a picture book writer who struggles with anxiety. Some things that seem like no big deal to most people can become a very big worry for me (like Giraffe worries about Spider in It Will Be OK). I found that identifying and naming our emotions—in this case fear—makes it easier to address our feelings and work through them. I want to share my experience of being fearful of things, both big and small, with children to let them know they are not alone and they can have power over scary emotions.


I wrote...

It Will Be OK: A Story of Empathy, Kindness, and Friendship

By Lisa Katzenberger, Jaclyn Sinquett (illustrator),

Book cover of It Will Be OK: A Story of Empathy, Kindness, and Friendship

What is my book about?

Giraffe and Zebra meet every day under their favorite tree to walk to the watering hole. But today, Giraffe isn't there. Where could he be? Zebra spots him hiding in the tree; Giraffe has seen a spider and is scared silly. Zebra patiently talks to Giraffe and does the very best thing: supports Giraffe for as long as Giraffe needs it.

Book cover of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

One of the greatest days of my professional career was when a media outlet called me a “Digital Dale Carnegie.” They had no idea what a fan I am of Carnegie's work. Carnegie passed away (1955) long before I was born but he continues to have a profound impact on my life. My grandfather, and father have both taken Dale Carnegie Courses. While Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People is wonderful and is one of the best-selling books of all time, my favorite is How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

In our modern world, worry is almost a certainty. We worry as parents, business owners, employees— we never seem to run out of things to worry about. Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living reframed my perspective on the cost of worrying. Eliminating the fear of the unknown is often the first step…

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

By Dale Carnegie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Stop Worrying and Start Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first trade paperback edition of the classic guide to conquering the fears and worries that prevent individuals from living full and happy lives offers practical advice on how to eliminate business and financial anxieties, turn criticism into an advantage, avoid fatigue, and more. Reprint. 25,00

Who am I?

I’ve been in the digital space for 30 years and my breakthrough book was Socialnomics. In this book, I encouraged individuals and organizations to lean into social media and digital, both personally and professionally; emphasizing that this shift wasn’t just for teenagers, that it would change the world more than anything in our lifetime. That it would become a powerful force around business, politics, gaming, and beyond. And, unfortunately, it did. It was even more powerful than I could have imagined. What I didn’t comprehend was that we would lean in too much. I realized I needed to give the anti-venom to Socialnomics. We needed as a society to return to focusing on what matters most.


I wrote...

The Focus Project: The Not So Simple Art of Doing Less

By Erik Qualman,

Book cover of The Focus Project: The Not So Simple Art of Doing Less

What is my book about?

Whether you’re a programmer, mother, executive, teacher, or entrepreneur, this book is for you if… 1. You feel like you need 5 more hours in your day. 2. You are being pulled in a million directions with no end in sight. 3. Your life is busy instead of big.

Welcome to The Focus Project, a book designed to provide answers and solutions to the challenges of focusing in an unfocused world. Combining street science and institutional research alongside his own personal focus project, Qualman delivers practical advice on thinking big versus busy. The following is a guide to doing less, better. This enables us to achieve more–both personally and professionally.

Running Scared

By Edward T. Welch,

Book cover of Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest

I found this book when I was at the end of my rope with anxiety, and the book was uplifting, to say the least! Though it didn’t address all my concerns as someone with an anxiety disorder, it did walk through Scripture and show me how God had an encouraging, fatherly response to our anxieties. It also reminded me that God is the only place of true rest for restless minds. If you’re looking for a biblically rooted resource for common anxieties, this book was just that.

Running Scared

By Edward T. Welch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Running Scared as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

Pierce Taylor Hibbs (MAR, ThM Westminster Theological Seminary) has lived with an anxiety disorder for over fourteen years and offers a unique perspective on how anxiety and faith are interconnected. He is the award-winning Christian author of many books, including Struck Down but Not Destroyed: Living Faithfully with Anxiety. Other books he's written on anxiety include Still, Silent, and Strong: Meditations for the Anxious Heart and Finding Hope in Hard Things: A Positive Take on Suffering


I wrote...

Struck Down but Not Destroyed

By Pierce Taylor Hibbs,

Book cover of Struck Down but Not Destroyed

What is my book about?

A revolutionary approach to anxiety! A 12-year anxiety veteran offers wisdom, encouragement, and resources for anxious Christians.

Do you struggle with anxiety or know someone who does? Award-winning Christian author Pierce Taylor Hibbs shows that we've been approaching our anxiety the wrong way. It's not a terror to avoid but a tool in God's hands. The author draws on his own experience in living with an anxiety disorder for over 12 years to present descriptions, theological discussions, and concrete resources for fellow anxiety sufferers. It's time for us to focus on the spiritual purposes God has for our anxiety. It's time for us to revel in the amazing truth that the best part of being struck down is realizing that we will never be destroyed, not with God on our side.

What to Do When You Worry Too Much

By Dawn Huebner, Bonnie Matthews (illustrator),

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

This workbook has a wealth of helpful tips on how to deal with overwhelming anxiety. It’s written simply with great illustrations that really help littles figure out the scary world that surrounds them. I love the example of worries growing like tomato plants. If we want the worries to stop growing, we stop watering them! At the time my daughter was four and we had a huge over-producing tomato garden so this was a perfect illustration for both of us. We set up a time to talk about worries and we kept to that time limit. It helped both of us go through the anxiety instead of getting overwhelmed by it. There is no cure for anxiety and medication is not really an option for small children so dealing with it head-on was the only way that worked for us. This book really gave us both tools. It’s practical and…

What to Do When You Worry Too Much

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.

Who am I?

I'm not really an expert on anxiety other than being an adult who suffers from it. I thought I was normal and everyone felt the way I did until I started looking for books to help my daughter with her panic attacks and I realized I have it too! I've since been diagnosed and lead a pretty great life with the help of therapy and medication. What parents share with their children during nightly story reading or on the couch to read a few books is very bonding and intimate. I think that's the best time for kids to ask their parents questions and share their emotions. My goal is to help those conversations happen.


I wrote...

It's Not About You, Little Hoo!

By Brenda Ponnay,

Book cover of It's Not About You, Little Hoo!

What is my book about?

This is a story of a little anxious owl who thinks everything is his fault. His friends run off, he thinks they don’t like him, his bike doesn’t work, he thinks he’s a bad bike rider, he gets picked last for the soccer team, he feels rejected… but his father, Papa Hoo, tells him gently why each scenario is actually not about him at all. His friends had to go home for dinner, his bike needed a tune-up, and somebody has to get picked last. Not everything is personal. 

As an adult I was excluded accidentally from a group trip and it hurt my feelings. The more I sat with these feelings, I realized they came from childhood feelings of being left out. I wrote this children’s book to help other anxious people like me. 

Wemberly Worried

By Kevin Henkes,

Book cover of Wemberly Worried

Anxiety is a tricky thing, and Wemberly Worried illustrates all its various peculiarities. For instance, Wemberly, a world-class worrier, worries that there will be too many butterflies in the neighborhood parade. But then, when it turns out she’s the only butterfly in the neighborhood parade, she worries about that. The only thing that seems to steady her nerves is her adorable toy rabbit, Petal. When Wemberly shows up on her first day of school, her worries lessen when she meets another little girl mouse who has a toy just like Petal. 

While Wemberly is a mouse, this story is very relatable for little boy and girl worriers everywhere. It’s absolutely perfect for those first day of school jitters.

Wemberly Worried

By Kevin Henkes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wemberly Worried as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A back-to-school favorite 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 she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!

Who am I?

I love this letter that I received from a child reader: Ahoy Ms. Crimi! Your book Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates made me think of myself because the character Henry is really shy and cowardly, kind of like me sometimes. But I put all that aside and come around in the most sincere moments. Like this young reader, I, too, have my cowardly moments. I was definitely Piglet in Winnie the Pooh! Perhaps this is why so many of my books involve fearful characters. It’s a character trait that I relate to all too easily. Writing about my fears gives me some insight to them and, hopefully, it helps my readers as well.


I wrote...

There Might Be Lobsters

By Carolyn Crimi, Laurel Molk (illustrator),

Book cover of There Might Be Lobsters

What is my book about?

Suki is a very small dog who is afraid of pretty much everything at the beach—waves, beach balls, lifeguards, and, of course, lobsters. But when Suki’s very best toy, Chunka Munka, starts floating out to sea, Suki must act bravely and quickly in order to save him.

I got the idea for this book from my own small and fearful dog, Emerson. I took him to the dog beach in town every afternoon until one day a three-inch-tall wave knocked him over. He never liked the beach after that. The only thing he would do is sit in a stranger’s lap, so I figured he could easily just sit in my lap at home without having to pay for the dog beach.

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