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.

Picture Books 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)

This book explains what depression is and how it affects people through a story about a princess and a fog 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 child moves into a new house, befriending a shadow under her bed while her Mum is busy. Together, she and the shadow run away to the woods, where shadows are everywhere. This is a story of awareness and connection. 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)

This book 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. This book teaches how to breathe, think differently about positive and negative thoughts, and feel calm and at peace. 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. 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 is an everyday emotion, from the common concerns and fears that most of us experience to the anxiety disorders many kids live with daily. Readers will learn about the physical and evolutionary reasons for anxiety. Most importantly, kids will discover new strategies to manage and thrive with it. 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)

Whether it's problems at school, relationship woes, social media pressure, body image issues, or trouble at home, this guide covers many of the worries and anxieties a young person may face while growing up. 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. 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

Tanya Guerrero
(Juvenile Fiction - J Guerrer)

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 and he gets a mysterious note that changes everything. Suggested for ages 9–12.

Some Kind of Happiness

Claire Legrand
(J Fiction – J Legrand)

When Finley Hart is sent to her grandparents' house for the summer (whom she's never met!), her anxious and sad days continue until she escapes into her writings of "Everwood," which soon turn mysteriously real. As the mysteries pile up and her frightening sadness grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have 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. Recommended for ages 9–12.