The Latest
December 01, 2022

Where Every Family Matters

Chill Out, Read More: 10 Kids Books Psychologists Recommend

Childhood can be a trying time. Fortunately, there are plenty of great books that can help families navigate common challenges, ranging from anxiety to anger management.

Psychologists everywhere have noticed an uptick in children experiencing anxiety, stress, confusion and other issues that have come as a result of the pandemic. These are completely normal things for children to experience, but what is the best way to work through these feelings?

“When I went into psychiatry, which was a while ago, the general teaching was that children didn’t have depression. That childhood is supposed to be happy,” said Dr. Catherine Fuchs, a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “There was more to it than that. And it’s very clear that children do have risk for depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. The assumption that they’re happy becomes a barrier to having discussion.”

Since March is designated as National Reading Month — a month to motivate Americans of all ages to read every day — why not chill out, sit down and read to start discussions with your child when they’re feeling emotional? Many psychologists have turned to children’s books to teach young readers how to deal with their emotions.

Here’s a list of 10 books that psychologists are recommending to children:

1. RIGHT NOW, I AM FINE

This book is a mindfully written self-help guide to aid children in dealing with stress and anxiety, by uncovering their emotions and following a simple calming routine. Dr. Daniela Owen, Ph.D. is a clinical child psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area. She specializes in using evidence-based treatments to help with managing anxiety, worry, anger, and low mood.

2. I CAN YELL LOUDER 

A great resource for dealing with frustrated children, this book teaches that you don’t have to yell and throw a tantrum to get what you want. This book will help your child understand how to communicate what they want in the proper way!

3. ZEN PIG: THE ART OF GRATITUDE 

Zen Pig might just be the cutest way to help your child learn how to focus their emotions when they are stressed out or anxious. Zen Pig teaches children the value of gratitude, mindfulness, and compassion in a way that’s easy for them to understand. It’s a perfect book for helping your little reader calm down, and children LOVE this award-winning series!

4. RIGHT NOW, I AM BRAVE 

In the second book of her Right Now series, Dr. Daniela Owen, Ph.D., explains the choice that we all have when we face situations that may make us anxious or fearful. This book is perfect for the uncertain times we face today and can be very effective in teaching children how to deal with their fears.

5. A MOTHER’S LOVE

Psychologist’s say that the most important thing we can do for our children is let them know they are loved, especially when the world around them seems to be falling apart. This beautifully written book will help your child understand the unconditional amount of love you have for them. This is a great book for getting back to what really matters.

6. REVERIE: I BELIEVE IN ME

Inspire your child’s greatness – learn from a unicorn! This amazing book is perfect for teaching children to believe in themselves and follow their passions in life. It follows the story of Reverie the unicorn as she follows each one of her passions, despite the people doubting her. We could all use some hope after the year we just had, and this book is full of it!

7. THE SECRET WORDS

A huge part of helping children feel better is helping them build their self-confidence. This book is written to do exactly that! Follow Rija the lemur’s adventure through the Madagascar forest and learn about the importance of self-confidence! When Rija discovers 4 “secret words,” she realizes that she can do anything  she puts her mind to.

8. A FRIEND IS SOMEONE WHO

This fun, rhyming book is great for children who are beginning to make friendships and understand what it means to care for someone else. Psychologists often recommend it as a resource when helping socialize children. It focuses on values such as compassion, empathy, and kindness.

9. FIONA FLAMINGO

Fiona Flamingo is recommended by psychologists to help children understand and manage their feelings. This colorfully illustrated book teaches that it’s ok if you don’t understand your emotions and it’s ok to be scared, angry, and sad at times. It’s a great resource for helping children see that being unique should not be looked down upon.

10. RIGHT NOW, I AM KIND

In the third book of her Right Now series, Dr. Daniela Owen, Ph.D. helps children learn what it means to be kind and aware of other people. This book is a guide for children to help them understand why being aware is important, and what actions they can practice to show compassion.

READ MORE!

It's Read Across America Week! Sign Up For Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

It’s Read Across America Week! Sign Up For Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing and Entertainment Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 3-year-old Ezra.