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
Balloons for Papa

Elizabeth Bedia
(Juvenile Picture Books – Ej Bed)

Arthur's gloomy father rushes him through the park, in the gray and rainy weather, every morning. Arthur just wants a bright balloon from the vendor but his papa always says no. One morning though, the balloons magically appear at their doorstep, and Arthur figure out the perfect way to bring the sunshine out and make his papa smile. Recommended for ages 4–8.

Emily Grace and the What-Ifs

Lisa Gehring
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 155.4124 Geh)

When Emily Grace runs into her bedroom at night, she quickly pulls the covers up out of fear: what if a big rhinoceros...? What if tomorrow I wake up a princess? What if...? In the end, Emily wonders, what if I close my eyes now and go to sleep? A compassionate book about finding a solution to the all-too-common night time worries kids have. Recommended for ages 4-8

Face Your Fears

Alice Harman
(J Nonfiction -- J 179.6 Har)

What does it mean to be brave? Could picturing yourself not being afraid actually make you feel better? How can we manage the little steps and big leaps along our journey toward facing fear? Discover different ways to face your fears in positive ways that will help you take on big challenges and daily tasks with a healthy, happy mindset. Recommended for ages 4-8

In the Blue

Erin Hourigan
(Juvenile Picture Books -- Ej Hou)

A little girl gets frustrated when her father's world goes from bright and yellow to dark and blue, but remembers that together, they can do anything. Recommended for ages 4–8.

Lila Greer, Teacher of the Year

Andrea Beaty
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Bea)

When Lila, a worrier, moves to a new town, she feels alone and invisible until her teacher finds a creative way to make Lila feel welcome and open to new experiences, a lesson she uses throughout her life. Even when she becomes a teacher herself! Recommended for ages 5-8.

Puppy in My Head

Elise Gravel
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 158.13 Gra)

I have a puppy named Ollie in my head. Sometimes, Ollie is quiet, curious or scared. Sometimes Ollie is excited...a little TOO excited! When that happens, I get overwhelmed. So what does a puppy and an anxious kid do to identify and cope with anxiety in a calming, mindful way? 

Ruby Finds a Worry

Tom Percival
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Per)

Meet Ruby: a happy, curious, imaginative young girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a worry. It's not such a big worry, at first. But every day it grows a little bigger and a little bigger. Until eventually, the worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about. When Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there's a great way to get rid of them. Recommended for ages 4-8.


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.

A Shelter for Sadness

Anne Booth
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 142.4 Boo)

A heartwarming story about a small boy who creates a shelter for his sadness, so that he can visit it whenever he needs to, and the two of them can cry, talk, or just sit. There are times to leave sadness alone and experience other feelings. An excellent starting point to discuss big feelings and that it's okay for everyone to allow time to sit with these emotions and not be afraid of them. Recommended for ages 5-10

Timo Goes Camping

Victoria Allenby
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J-FC Allenby)

Camping is supposed to be fun but Timo's first camping trip is NOT fun. His friend Suki keeps laughing at him because he read a book about camping to prepare for the trip, and how Hedgewick fell out of his boat. Timo can't have fun when his friend is making him feel bad. Can Timo find a solution and help everyone enjoy the trip. Recommended for ages 5--8.

Older Elementary
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+.

Breathing Underwater

Sarah Allen
(Juvenile Fiction – J Allen)

Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister, Ruth. Three years ago, when her family moved from California to Tennessee, the sisters buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now they’re taking an RV across the country – and Olivia hopes that the memories and experiences will help her sister Ruth fight her worsening depression. Suggested for ages 8–12. 

Ginny Off the Map

Caroline Hickey
(J Fiction – J Hickey)

When Ginny finds out, on the eve of another move to a post in Maryland, that her father (a military ER doctor), is being deployed to Afghanistan she is devastated. Ginny depends on her father to help her manage her obsessions, panic attacks, and general meltdowns. One of her obsessions is geography, and Ginny hopes to use her geographical knowledge to overcome her difficulties interacting with other kids - including her older brother, Patrick  - and find what her father calls her “true north.” Recommended for ages 8–12.



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.

Healer of the Water Monster

Brian Young
(Juvenile Fiction – J Young)

While spending the summer with his grandmother, eleven year old Navajo Nathan Todacheenie ends up on a quest to heal a Water Monster (a Holy Being) suffering from radiation poisoning, as well as save his uncle, Jet, who has returned from military service in need of a traditional ceremony that he does not want. Recommended for ages 8-12.

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.

Perfectly Imperfect Stories

Leo Potion
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 616.89 Pot)

Meet 28 icons, including The Rock, Ariana Grande, Serena Williams, and Prince Harry, and discover how they have dealt with mental health issues to live inspiring lives. Whatever you are going through, learn why it's okay to not be okay with these perfectly imperfect stories. Recommended for ages 8–12.

Small Things

Mel Tregonning
(J – GN Tregonn Small Things)

An empowering, wordless graphic novel that gets to the heart of a young boy's anxiety and opens the way for dialogue about vulnerability, acceptance, and the universal experience of worry. Recommended for ages 8–12.

The Storyteller

Brandon Hobson
(J Fiction – J Hobson)

Ziggy has anxiety. Partly because this is the way his mind works and partly because Ziggy's mother disappeared ten years ago. Ziggy and his sister, Moon, want answers but nobody around can give them. Once Ziggy gets it into his head that clues to his mother's disappearance can be found in a nearby cave, there's no stopping him from going there. Along with Moon, his best friend Corso, and classmate, Alice, he sets out on a mind-bending adventure where he'll discover that his story is connected to stories from Cherokees that came before him. Ziggy might not have any control his past, but if he learns the lessons of the storytellers, he might learn how to shape his future. Recommended for ages 9-12.