As parents, you want nothing more than clear skies and soft breezes for our children. You want to shield them from the darkness of the world. You want to embrace them and shelter them against any potential dangers, especially if that something is confusing or seems dangerous. Mental health issues are among one of the subjects that society has deemed as taboo.

As we have learned from previous blog posts, it is common for young children and teens to go through some difficulties. There are many ways to help your child heal as we have discussed in the blogs Positive Things to Say to Someone with Mental Health Issues and Healthy Ways to Cope with Depression. Another great way to help your child is to educate them. The subject might make them feel overwhelmed. Nonetheless, the fact is – if we educate our children, they will better appreciate themselves and reject any harmful misconceptions or stigmas.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is through readings. Below is a list of 5 recommended kid-friendly books about mental health. Although Adoption Choices of New York specializes in infant adoptions, we will not leave you to fend for yourself and for your child as they encounter an obstacle on their way to happiness.

 “Up and Down the Worry Hillby Aureen Pinto Wagner, Ph.D.

Kid-Friendly Books about Mental Health

Dr. Wagner is a clinical child psychologist and is an expert with anxiety treatments. The book is written with a younger audience in mind to help them understand difficult topics of childhood anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The book uses the metaphor of a “worry hill” to allow children and parents to visualize mental health issues and how to overcome them. There is also a parent version of the book which goes into more detail about anxiety and OCD.

Top positive review from Amazon:

My daughter liked this book and would ask me to read a few pages of it every night until we read through it all. It explains about OCD, it gives examples of what OCD can be like. It is a good book for an introduction to what OCD is for a child to understand what they are going through.”

Top critical review from Amazon:

“This book does not give specific techniques to help children combat their OCD as the aforementioned book (“What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck”) does.”

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Michael Rosen

Kid-Friendly Books about Mental HealthSadness is an emotion all too familiar to many, but some can actually explain where their sadness stems from or if it will go away. Michael Rosen explains what sadness and depression in children look like through illustrations. He also provides ways to grieve and cope. It puts what your child might feel into words. Disclaimer: The book talks about heavy subjects such as death.

Top positive review from Amazon:

WONDERFUL book to help support children through grief and depression. It is masterful, encouraging, supportive, raw, real.”

Top critical review from Amazon:

“Although it is a moving book, it is from a very mature perspective and totally inappropriate for young children. As the mom of a 4yo typically developing child and an 8yo with autism we read a lot of books on feelings and emotions, but this was horrifically bad for that age bracket.”

The Princess and the Fogby Lloyd Jones

Kid-Friendly Books about Mental HealthFairytales are often the best way to instill a message in children. “The Princess and the Fog” tells a story about a princess who had everything until a fog came over her. This is perfect for young children suffering from depression. Through vivid illustrations and relatable metaphors, the book is a great starting point for your child to understand the fog that is hanging over them. Clinical pediatric psychologists, Dr. Melina Edwards and Linda Balyliss also contributed as authors to provide parents with helpful guides.

Top positive review from Amazon:

Every child needs to hear this book. Highly, highly recommended for Grades K-6. Depression needs to be part of children’s vocabulary. This is a great book for parents and anyone who works with children, especially at-risk populations–Health teachers, school counselors, therapists…”

When My Worries Get Too Big by Karl Dunn Buron

Kid-Friendly Books about Mental HealthThe book is ideal for children going through any mental health issues. Children with anxiety can experience a high level of stress in any social interaction. It can affect their ability to learn and make good decisions. This book wants to combat that by providing useful methods of relaxation and ways for children to manage their anxiety. Along with that, there is also a guide for parents and teachers on how to help their children heal.

Top positive review from Amazon:

A good book for helping children with anxieties to offload their problems and overcome their anxieties.”

Top critical review from Amazon:

“Too young for the audience intended for.

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

Kid-Friendly Books about Mental HealthFor children ages 4 to 8, “The Way I Feel” describes the various emotions your child can go through and emphasis the importance of it is okay to feel that way. Emotions are part of our daily lives, children need to be reminded that their feelings are valid. With the usage of bias-free language and vocabulary fitting for children, the book is helpful for parents of children who are overwhelmed by their emotions.

Top positive review from Amazon:

Really good book for helping children identify feelings. I use this with my 3-year-old (who requests for it to be read often) and we talk about the different feelings and when she might be feeling them. Also helpful to introduce the concept that all feelings (positive and negative) are a part of us and are ok to feel.”

Top critical review from Amazon:

“I don’t like the ‘scared’ page because it implies the girl is scared of thunder and lightning and previous to reading this my three-year-old was not scared of storms.”

Your Happy Ending

Everyone yearns for a happy ending. When your child is going through any mental health issues, it will be hard for them to see the sun underneath all the clouds. You can help with that by helping them understand that anything that they are experiencing is valid and does not define their whole character. We hope that the above list of kid-friendly books about mental health can become guides for you and your child towards your happily ever after.

Adoption Choices of New York

For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of New York.

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.

However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.

About the Author

Lisa Truong

Lisa Truong is an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Denver. She is minoring in writing and Chemistry. She has been commended by professors for her news stories as well as creative writing.

During her freshman year, her essay “See Ya on the Other Side” was displayed at a writing exhibition sponsored by the University of Denver. That essay later went on to be published in Many Voices One DU, a book also sponsored by the university.

Lisa frequently volunteers to be a leader at the Daniels School of Business for their quarterly Ethics Boot Camp where students learn about the importance of character in business. In her free time, Lisa enjoys watching animated movies with her mother, listening to music, going for bike rides, and eating breakfast food.



McCulligh, Chantal. “19 Must-Read Books to Help Kids Understand Their Emotional and Mental Health.” Thrive Global, August 13, 2018.

Ponti, Crystal. “10 Books to Help Children Understand Mental Illness.” Motherly. Motherly, February 6, 2019.

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