Teaching younger students about more complex feelings can be difficult, but books are a great tool! Sometimes they can just outline things well or in a way that is easy to understand. It’s even better when they include strategies. When it comes to books about anxiety and worry, I first try to make sure the book is using the word that I want (anxiety vs worry). Then I consider what the student already knows. Below is a list of my favorite books to use when teaching anxiety and worry for PreK-5th grade. Note: This post contains affiliate links
Any of the books in the best behavior series by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen are great for preschool and kindergarten. They give a great amount of information but are short and sweet. This book talks about what worry is, worry thoughts, how worry can make you feel, and what you can do to feel less worried.
What If I… By MC Bailey-McKenna
This is another great book for preschool and kindergarten. If you want to go more in depth, this book breaks down concepts really simply. It includes many different examples of “what if” thoughts. It also alternates between those thoughts and positive ones, to help students understand the difference. Definitely a great starter book for the little ones.
This might be my FAVORITE book to teach about worry! It is so adorable. The Worrysaurus by Rachel Bright and Chris Chatterton follows a little dinosaur that likes when he has a plan. He starts out feeling confident, but slowly his worries creep in. After remembering a few things his mom says and using some tools, he is able to let go of his worries and have his “happy ending.” I would recommend this book for K-2nd grade.
Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival focuses on how a worry can grow over time. It also talks about how others can’t see your worry, and sometimes your worry might stop you from doing the things you love. In the end, Ruby finds another person with a worry, just like her. They help each other out by talking about their worries and realize talking can help make them smaller! I would recommend this book for 1st-3rd grade.
Worry Says What by Allison Edwards does a great job of depicting what worry can be like inside your head. It mentions the idea of negative thoughts and strategies you can use to challenge them, including positive statements. This book also describes how negative thoughts can impact your day-to-day activities and interactions. I would recommend this book for 2nd-5th grade.
Wilma Jean worries about everything. She always thinks the worst will happen, even though things usually turn out just fine. Fortunately, her teacher helps her understand the idea of what she can and can’t control. They talk about her worries and sort them into the right category. After we finish the book, I carry out the same activity with my students. I would recommend this book for 1st-4th graders.
This book is great for upper elementary students. It gives several different strategies to use before and during a test. I usually read through it with my students and have them choose 2-3 that would work for them. This book is also really relatable from describing how you might feel before a test, to your mindset. I would recommend this for 3rd-5th grade.
I hope you found this list of books about anxiety and worry helpful! Any you would add?