Books for Worriers March 20, 2018 – Posted in: Book News

Just like adults, children and young people will feel worried and anxious at times.  Children tend to feel anxious about different things at different ages, for example younger children will often feel separation anxiety.  Specific fears like the dark, storms or monsters under the bed are also common in early childhood.  And as children grow social anxiety can hit as they try to navigate friendships and fitting in with their peers.

Whether a child has a particular problem they are worried about, or is battling anxiety in multiple areas of life,  story books can be used as a way of supporting children in their struggles.  Even quite a subtle message within the pages of a book often seems to resonate deeply with young people and can make a child feel less alone.

Books are also great for starting the conversation!  One of the best things for helping children with anxiety is talking. There is something about putting a voice to your worries, speaking them aloud and examining the worry with a trusted adult, that is very therapeutic.  By reading a story with a positive message or helpful advice about worrying, children may feel more confident putting their own feelings into words.

The books we have chosen here aim to comfort, support and engage anxious children and may help them (and you) to find ways to cope with worries big and small.

Best for EYFS or KS1:

The Koala Who Could

Kevin is an anxious Koala who finds change challenging. He spends his days and nights in the Australian Outback clinging to his Gum tree, until one day disaster strikes…Kevin’s tree keels over!  To his surprise, and with the support of his friends, he finds himself not only able to cope on ground level, but to find the courage to try new things, to explore and have fun.

This feel-good rhyming story portraying a positive message about facing up to change.

The Colour Monster

One day, Colour Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through colour.

A gentle exploration of emotions which may help children to identify and explain how they are feeling.

Worries Go Away!

When a little girl feels worried she goes into a world of her own. At first the world is full of cream cakes and cola but soon the worries begin to take hold… Only her family and friends can help.  The gentle rhymes and imaginative illustrations give a difficult subject a wonderfully light touch.

A comforting and compelling story about worries and self-esteem.

The Huge Bag of Worries

Jenny has been worrying a lot lately, about a lot of different things. Is she getting too fat? Does her pet dog have fleas? Then one day she discovers a huge bag of worries at the end of her bed and it follows her everywhere! It’s only when she  opens up the bag and shares the worries with someone else that they start to shrink and seem less important.

A bestseller and the perfect springboard for talking over a child’s hidden worries.

Silly Billy

Billy is a bit of a worrier. He worries about hats and shoes. He worries about clouds and rain and giant birds. Most of all he worries about staying at other people’s houses. His mum and dad try to help, but still Billy worries … until a visit to his grandma’s shows him how to overcome his fears with the aid of some tiny worry dolls.

Great for acknowledging childhood anxiety and suggesting a simple, practical way to alleviate it.


A little boy sits in his room hugging his favourite toy. But something is there and Richard is scared, so he runs …through streets, fields, forests, over hills and into a magical jungle. Is there really anything there? And is he brave enough to face his fears? Find out in this exciting and uplifting adventure that will make you want to ROARRRR!

An amazing, cinematic adventure that will encourage children to face their fears.

Halibut Jackson

Halibut Jackson is very shy indeed. So shy that he makes himself many different camouflaged outfits to help him blend into the background and walk around unnoticed (but mostly he likes to stay at home). One day, he receives a beautifully ornate letter from the Queen inviting him to her grand birthday party. Halibut longs to go and visit the spectacular gold and silver palace which is covered in jewels. But what will he wear and will he be noticed at the party?

This is a reassuring book for anxious or shy children that others experience similar emotions.

Best for KS2:

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears

Young children will identify with the little mouse who uses the pages of this book to document his fears – from loud noises and the dark, to being sucked down the plughole. Packed with details and surprise treats including flaps, nibbled holes and even a hilarious fold-out map.

A great starting point for a conversation on phobias and anxieties and making a child feel less alone with theirs.

Black Dog

A black dog appears outside the Hope family’s home. As each member of the household sees it and hides, the dog grows bigger and bigger. Only Small, the youngest Hope, has the courage to face the Black Dog. When it chases her through the forest she shows no fear, so it grows smaller and smaller. Finally, back to the size of a normal hound, the Black Dog is welcomed into the Hope household as their newest addition.

A charming story showing how easily fear can grow and spread… and how the smallest of us can be the bravest of all!

The Red Tree

A small child awakes to find blackened leaves falling from her bedroom ceiling, threatening to overwhelm her. ‘Sometimes you wake up with nothing to look forward to…’ As she wanders around a world that is complex, puzzling and alienating, she is overtaken by a myriad of feelings.  Just as it seems all hope is lost, the girl returns to her bedroom to find that a tiny red seedling has grown to fill the room with warm light.

The Red Tree seeks to remind us that, though some bad feelings are inevitable, they can always be tempered by hope.

Night Shift 

A groundbreaking picture book on depression. With stunning black and white illustration and deceptively simple text, author and illustrator Debi Gliori examines how depression affects one’s whole outlook upon life, and shows that there can be an escape – it may not be easy to find, but it is there.  This book is probably best for 11 years+

“Books like this are immensely important, so that the many children, teenagers and adults going through similar night journeys through the fog of illness, can feel that they are not alone in their struggles.” (Cressida Cowell)