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.

Picturebooks and Younger Elementary

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. Recommended for ages 6-9.

The Heart and the Bottle

Oliver Jeffers
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Jef)

After safeguarding her heart in a bottle hung around her neck, a girl finds the bottle growing heavier and her interest in things around her becoming smaller. Recommended for ages 3-6.

The Princess and the Fog

Lloyd Jones
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 618.9285 Jon)

Explains what depression is and how it affects people through a story about a princess and a fog around her that she cannot get rid of on her own. Recommended for ages 6-9.

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. Recommended for ages 3-6.


Lucy Christopher
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Chr)

A young girl befriends Shadow, a shadow under her bed that only she and not her mother can see, and enjoys his companionship until venturing with Shadow into the woods leaves her longing even more for her mother. Recommended for ages 6-9.

Way Past Worried

Hallee Adelman
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ade)

Brock is worried about going to his friend's superhero birthday party alone, but while he is hiding he meets Nelly, who is just as frightened as he is. Recommended for ages 3-6.

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

Dawn Huebner
(Juvenile Nonfiction – J 155.4124 Huebner)

Teaches school-age children cognitive-behavioral techniques to reduce and overcome anxiety and fears, through writing and drawing activities and self-help strategies. Recommended for ages 6-9.

What's In Your Mind Today?

Louise Bladen
(Juvenile Nonfiction -J 158.12 Bla)

Children who struggle with negative thoughts may wonder how to make them go away. In this guided, illustrated meditation for kids, author Louise Bladen offers a simple mindfulness practice, not to banish bad thoughts, but to feel calm in the midst of thoughts that come and go. Children will learn how to breathe and center themselves in their bodies, find different ways to think about their positive and negative thoughts, and ultimately learn that they have the ability to feel calm and at peace no matter what kinds of thoughts happen to be in their mind at any particular moment. Recommended for ages 6-9.

What's Up, Maloo?

Geneviève Godbout
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej God)

Maloo the kangaroo has lost his hop. Can his friends help him find it again? This sweet picture book explores the idea of sadness and the importance of friendship through ups and downs. No other kangaroo can hop like Maloo! But one day Maloo's friends find him stepping instead of hopping. What's wrong, Maloo? His pals look for ways to help Maloo regain the spring in his step. With patience, support and a little "hop" from his friends, Maloo gets his bounce back. Recommended for ages 3-6.

When Sadness is at Your Door

Eva Eland
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ela)

A young child experiences sadness as if it were a visitor, acknowledging the emotion and suggesting activities to do with it. Recommended for ages 6-9

Older Elementary

All About Anxiety

Carrie Lewis
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 152.46 Lew)

Anxiety. It's an emotion that rears its head almost every day, from the normal worries and concerns that most of us experience, to outright fear when something scary happens, to the anxiety disorders that many kids live with daily. But what causes anxiety? And what can we do about it? All About Anxiety tackles these questions from every possible angle. Readers will learn what's going on in their brain and central nervous system when they feel anxious. They'll learn about the evolutionary reasons for fear and anxiety and that anxiety isn't always a bad thing--except for when it is! Most importantly, kids will discover new strategies to manage their anxiety so they can live and thrive with anxiety. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Anxiety and Phobias

Carrie Iorizzo
(Juvenile Nonfiction – J 616.8522 Iorizzo)

This informative title examines different anxiety disorders, including their causes, symptoms, effects, and treatment options. A chapter on caring for others discusses how anxiety and phobias affect young people with siblings and parents who have the disorder. Recommended for ages 9-12.

The Book of No Worries: A Survival Guide for Growing Up

Lizzie Cox
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 152.46 Cox)

This essential guide covers a all the worries and anxieties that a young person may face while growing up. Whether it's problems at school, relationship woes, the non-stop pressure of social media, body image issues or troubles at home. Positive advice, plus case studies and real life questions from young people, will help young people survive angst and stress that can bring them down. Reassures readers that their worries and fears are normal, and offers practical tips for managing anxiety and stress -- focusing on the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people. Recommended for ages 9-12+

Closer to Nowhere

Ellen Hopkins
(J Fiction – J Hopkins)

Told in two voices, sixth-grade cousins Hannah and Cal learn a lot about family when circumstances throw them together under one roof and Hannah's love of order clashes with Cal's chaotic behavior. Recommended for ages 9-12.


Raina Telgemeier
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN 741.5092 Telgemeier Tel)

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it's probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she's dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina's tummy trouble isn't going away... and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What's going on? Recommended for ages 9-12.

How to Make Friends With the Sea

Tania Guerrero
(Juvenile Fiction - J Guerrero)

Moving to the Philippines with his zoologist mother, twelve-year-old Pablo struggles with anxiety while his mother fosters an orphaned child with a facial anomaly. Recommended for ages 9-12.


Wesley King
(Juvenile Fiction – J King)

A thirteen-year-old boy's life revolves around hiding his obsessive compulsive disorder until a girl at school, who is unkindly nicknamed Psycho Sara, notices him for the first time and he gets a mysterious note that changes everything. Suggested for 9–12.

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. Recommended for ages 9-12.

The Three Rules of Everyday Magic

Amanda Rawson Hill
(J Fiction – J Hill)

Kate has trouble believing in magic, especially since the people she loves keep leaving her. But when Grammy tells her the three rules of everyday magic--believe, give, and trust--Kate can't resist believing, at least a little. Following Grammy's advice, she tries to bring her father, her best friend, and even Grammy herself back to her. Nothing turns out as Kate expects, yet the magic of giving--of trusting that if you love and give, good things will happen, even if you don't see them happen--will change Kate and her family forever. Recommended for ages 9-12.