Books to Help Children Cope with Fears and Feelings

little girl thinking

As parents, educators and anyone else who works with young children, we know that many of them struggle with their feelings and their fears. These little minds matter to us! To ensure that all children are happy and healthy is our primary concern, and we can always use some help. Reading or hearing stories about fictional characters who experience some of the same thoughts, fears and feelings as children do, can be reassuring. It can also open up conversation about these feelings and allow us to talk to our children about how to cope. Here you will find some books for young children that are both enjoyable read-alouds and will open up a dialogue to help them deal with their own feelings.

This list is a sampling from a much longer list that you can see in the attached PDF found at the bottom of these page. All of these titles can be borrowed from the London Public Library

#LittleMindsMatter

Feelings:

  • When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry by Molly Bang (1999)
    All children will be able to relate to Sophie and how she copes with her feelings of anger.
  • Ben Says Goodbye by Sarah Ellis (1995)
    Ben is devastated when his best friend moves away but with loving support and space to work through his feelings, he is able to get through this difficult time.
  • Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear (2012)
    Vanessa’s sister is in a “wolfish” mood – growling and sad. Vanessa tries to help and finally through art Virginia becomes less depressed.
  • Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer (2016)
    Penguin is grumpy and doesn’t know why, but figures out to get out of his funk all on his own.
  • Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard (2007)
    Bird wakes up feeling grumpy for no reason at all. Before he knows it, a walk and his friends help him shake his bad mood. Also look for the second in this series: Boo Hoo Bird.
  • My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems (2007)
    Gerald is sad and his friend Piggie uses all kinds of silly ways to cheer him up. From the “Elephant and Piggie” series about the unique friendship between anxious Gerald and outgoing Piggie. Look for other titles such as I am Going.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad by Jane Yolen (2013)
    With warmth and humour, these dinosaurs learn how to handle their emotions and are reminded they are loved.
  • You are a Lion: And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo (2012)
    Yoga is a great way for kids to learn to relax. Learn various yoga poses and have fun too.

Fears and Anxiety:

  • I Know Here by Laurel Croza (2010)
    A little girl is fearful of moving from the only place she has ever known and gets wonderful advice from a caring teacher.
  • Ben Over Night by Sarah Ellis (2005)
    Ben loves playing at Peter’s house, but the thought of a sleep-over has him feeling very anxious.
  • Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes (2000)
    Wemberly is a worrier! He worries about everything, especially starting school.
  • Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (2006)
    In this comical story, Scaredy Squirrel sees danger in everything. Can he overcome his fears and go beyond his tree? Look for others in this series including Scaredy Squirrel in the Dark and Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend.

Attachment:

  • Back to Bed, Ed! by Sebastian Braun (2009)
    Ed loves going to bed; he just doesn’t want to stay there and creeps into his parents’ room every night. How can Mum and Dad get Ed to stay in his own bed?
  • Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney (2009)
    Told in delightful rhyme, it’s Llama Llama’s first day at nursery school and he is missing his mama.  Another in this series is Llama Llama Mad at Mama.
  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (1993)
    Chester the raccoon doesn’t want to go to school but his mother teaches him a special way to carry her love with him.

Self Esteem:

  • The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle (1994)
    When the chameleon learns he can change his colour, he tries to be like everyone else with hilarious results.  Also look for The Very Busy Spider.
  • Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall (2015)
    Red’s factory-assigned label says he is red, but that is not what he thinks. Can red find his true self?
  • Extraordinary Jane  by Hannah Harrison (2014)
    Jane is an ordinary dog in an extraordinary circus, or so she thinks. But her qualities of loyalty, friendship and kindness set her apart from the ordinary.

For Parents:

  • Parenting Through the Storm: How to Handle the Highs, the Lows and Everything in Between by Ann Douglas (2005)
  • Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv (2008)   
  • Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Their Peers by Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Mate (2013)
  • Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson (2011)

Compiled by London Public Library, March 2017

Target Age
0-3 , 3-6
Focus
Engagement