Anxiety, Depression, and Mental Health

Anxiety and depression can take many forms and have many causes. As children learn to navigate the world and deal with these problems, reading about another person’s experience can be incredibly empowering, and reassure children that they are not alone. 

Compiled by:
Sam O.

Juvenile Fiction


Kwame Alexander
(J Fiction – J Alexander)

Twelve-year-old Nick loves soccer and hates books, but soon learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams.


Roddy Doyle
(J Fiction – J Doyle)

The Black Dog of depression has descended over Dublin, but siblings Rayzer and Gloria are determined to stop it, and soon they are joined by thousands of other children and some magical animals on a chase through the streets, parks, and beaches of Dublin.


Patricia Polacco
(J Fiction – J Polacco)

Sixth-grade friends Lyla and Jamie, both new to their school, stand up for each other when a clique of popular girls bullies them online.

The Bully Book

Eric Gale
(J Fiction – J Gale)

Sixth-grader Eric Haskins, formerly normal to the outside world, has been chosen to be this year's "Grunt"-the target of an all-encompassing bullying scheme. When all of his friends turn against him, he discovers the root of his problems, The Bully Book, and methodically attempts to locate its origin and author, and find out why he has been targeted. Realizing that the practice goes beyond the misery of his sixth-grade year to past victims, he is determined to stop it from claiming future students.

Hokey Pokey

Jerry Spinelli
(J Fiction – J Gale)

Ever since they were Snotsippers, Jack and the girl have fought, until one day she steals his bike and as he and the Amigos try to recover it, Jack realizes that he is growing up and must eventually leave the "goodlands and badlands of Hokey Pokey.

Nobody's Perfect: A Story for Children about Perfectionism

Ellen Flanagan Burns
(J Fiction – J Burns)

Sally overcomes her perfectionism when her teachers and mother help her realize that making mistakes is a part of learning, and that doing her best is good enough.


Ellen Potter
(J Fiction – J Potter)

Picked on, overweight genius Owen tries to invent a television that can see the past to find out what happened the day his parents were killed.

Some Kind of Happiness

Claire Legrand
(J Fiction – J Legrand)

Finley Hart is sent to her grandparents' house for the summer, but her anxiety and overwhelmingly sad days continue until she escapes into her writings which soon turn mysteriously real and she realizes she must save this magical world in order to save herself.

The Truth About Truman School

Dori Butler
(J Fiction – J Butler)

Tired of being told what to write by the school newspaper's advisor, Zibby and her friend Amr start an underground newspaper online where everyone is free to post anything, but things spiral out of control when a cyberbully starts using the site to harass one popular girl.

Warp Speed

Lisa Yee
(J Fiction – J Yee)

Marley Sandelski has always felt invisible at school when he is not facing bullies, but a series of unexpected events gives him a taste of popularity and insights into some classmates, well-liked or greatly-feared.

The Whole Story of Half a Girl

Veera Hiranandani
(J Fiction – J Hiranandani)

When Sonia's father loses his job and she must move from her small, supportive private school to a public middle school, the half-Jewish half-Indian sixth-grader experiences culture shock as she tries to navigate the school's unfamiliar social scene, and after her father is diagnosed with clinical depression, she finds herself becoming even more confused about herself and her family.

Juvenile Nonfiction

Danny and the Blue Cloud

James Foley
(J Nonfiction – J 616.8527 Foley)

Danny the bear has a blue cloud of depression hanging over his head, until he gets help from Barnaby the rabbit.

The Princess and the Fog: A Story for Children with Depression

Lloyd Jones
Children's Nonfiction – J 618.9285 Jones

Explains what depression is, and how it affects people, through a story about a princess and the fog around her that she cannot get rid of on her own.

Stop Bullying

Lucia Raatma
Children's Nonfiction – J 303.243 Raatma

Understanding bullying, knowing who is at risk, signs of bullying, how to respond to bullies, and how to prevent bullying. 

When My Worries Get Too Big!

Kari Dunn Buron
Children's Nonfiction – J 618.928522 Buron

An illustrated children's book offering tips on how to recognize and cope with anxiety. Expanded edition includes teaching ideas for parents, educators, and other professionals.

Juvenile Picture Books

The Big Test

Julie Danneberg
(Juvenile Picture Books – EJ Danneberg)

Mrs. Hartwell is concerned that preparing her students to take the Big Test is only making them nervous, and so she thinks of a way to help them relax.

Bootsie Barker Bites

Barbara Bottner
(Juvenile Picture Books – EJ Bottner)

Bootsie Barker only wants to play games in which she bites, until one day her friend comes up with a better game.


Laura Seeger
(Juvenile Picture Books – EJ Seeger)

A little bull discovers that he has been a big bully.


Kevin Henkes
(Juvenile Picture Books – Henkes)

Chrysanthemum loves her name, until she starts going to school and the other children make fun of it.

Jack's Worry

Sam Zuppardi
(Juvenile Picture Books – Zuppardi)

Jack has been looking forward to playing the trumpet in his first concert, but on the morning of the big day, Jack becomes anxious about performing and his worry starts to grow.

Just Kidding

Trudy Ludwig
(Juvenile Picture Books – EJ Ludwig)

With help from his father, older brother, and teacher, D.J. learns how to handle a classmate who claims that his mean-spirited "teasing" is just a joke.

Little Owl Lost

Chris Haughton
(Juvenile Picture Books – EJ Haughton)

While his mother is away finding food, a newborn owl falls out of his nest and anxiously tries to find her, receiving help from various forest animals.

Llama Llama Misses Mama

Anna Dewdney
(Juvenile Picture Books – Dewdney)

Llama Llama experiences separation anxiety on his first day of nursery school.

Noni is Nervous

Heather Hartt-Sussman
(Juvenile Picture Books – EJ Hartt-Sussman)

This is the story of a lovely little girl who is nervous about many things. Noni finds a way to control her nerves and work through her anxiety, making life much more bearable for everyone! 

Tomie De Paola
(Juvenile Picture Books – EJ DePaola)

His classmates' taunts don't stop Oliver Button from doing what he likes best.

Ready for Anything

Keiko Kasza
(Juvenile Picture Books - EJ Kasza)

Raccoon is nervous about all of the things that could spoil a picnic, from bees to dragons, until Duck convinces him that surprises can be fun.