Life is hard. For all of us. But what about our children? What do we do when anxiety takes over? Here are 6 picture books to begin a conversation.

Picture books give us tools to combat anxiety.
Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash
Picture books give us tools to combat anxiety.
Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

The emotional health of each child is essential for lifetime achievement. But, many struggle with anxiety. Over simple things, it seems. Picture books open a door to a child’s mind. They allow children to know they’re not alone. That their feelings are valid.

Captain Starfish

By: Davina Bell and Allison Coypoys

Captain Starfish picture book cover.
Social interactions can cause anxiety.
Photo from Amazon
Social interactions can cause anxiety.
Photo from Amazon

Alfie has anxiety with everyday social interactions such as going to a birthday party. He wants to get involved, but he’s too afraid.

Then, at the aquarium, Alfie meets a starfish! One who shines so brightly! And a clownfish who pops by to say hello and swims away. Do either of them have anxiety?

Alfie begins to realize he can be afraid and still make connections. There is a balance, and anxiety doesn’t have to win! This picture book is full of beautiful illustrations.

The Lion Inside

By: Rachel Bright and Jim Field

The Lion Inside picture book cover.
Even with anxiety, we can find our voice.
Photo from Amazon
Even with anxiety, we can find our voice.
Photo from Amazon

A tiny mouse is afraid. His anxiety tricks him into thinking he must roar like a lion. So, what to do but to go find one? Turns out, the lion is afraid of mice! Help children learn to speak up in this charming picture book!

Don’t Think About Purple Elephants

By: Susan Whelon and Gwynneth Jones

Don't Think About Purple Elephants picture book cover.
What do we do when anxiety comes at night?
Photo from Amazon
What do we do when anxiety comes at night?
Photo from Amazon

Sophie’s anxiety came at night. This whimsical picture book suggests a non traditional approach. How to calm fears when nothing seems to help? Hmm. Just whatever you do, don’t think about purple elephants. Oh wait-you can’t. This picture book is based on a scientific approach to combat anxiety.

Jonathan James and the What if Monster

By: Michelle Nelson-Schmidt

Jonathan James and the What-If Monster picture book cover.
What-ifs also cause child's anxiety.
Photo from Amazon
What-ifs also cause child’s anxiety.
Photo from Amazon

Jonathan James can’t escape the what-if monster. It reminds him of all the bad things that can happen. It happens every time Jonathan James wants to try something new. But, Jonathan James then asks his own questions: what if I have fun? What if they don’t laugh? Help your child overcome the anxiety of what-ifs with this picture book!

Why Worry

By: Eric Kimmel and Aiko Ikegami

Why Worry picture book cover
Cricket learned how to conquer anxiety.
Photo from Amazon
Cricket learned how to conquer anxiety.
Photo from Amazon

Full of whimsical color, we follow a cricket and a grasshopper. Cricket always has anxiety. He is always afraid. But, grasshopper never is! Cricket soon learns how to find peace on a journey with his friend.

How Big Are Your Worries, Little Bear

By: Jayneen Sanders and Stephanie Coleman

How Big Are Your Worries picture book cover.
Guiding a child through anxiety can be difficult.
Photo from Amazon
Guiding through anxiety can be difficult.
Photo from Amazon

This picture book follows Little Bear’s anxiety. He is worried about everything! But, his mother soon shows him how to manage his fears. And how to overcome anxiety! This book also contains a guide for parents and teachers for working with a anxious child.