Childhood can bring a lot of phobias and anxiety — fear of the dark, or thunder, or monsters, or going to the doctor, or the potty, or school, or the dentist... Eek! So here's a list of great children's books to help kids cure their inner worrywart and rest easy. Looking for more? Use our Book Finder tool to search for new books for kids of all ages!
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by Erin Dower
The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
Whenever something scary lurks, reach for this classic fear-busting Little Golden Book "starring loveable, furry old Grover." The blue Sesame Street star begs and begs readers not to turn the page because, you know, there's a monster at the end of it. "Oh, I am so embarrassed," Grover says on the last page because — you guessed it — he is the monster at the end of the book!
It's another sleepless night for Little Bear in his dark cave. Big Bear lovingly brings brighter and brighter lanterns to help ease the cub's fears. When those don't help, there's only one thing left to do: show Little Bear the warm, ever-shining glow of the stars and moon. This soothing story ranks up there with our other favorite bedtime stories like Good Night, Moon.
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson
Poor little Plop! Being an owl who hates the dark is extra-tricky, you see, because owls hunt for food at night. Fortunately, his mommy shows him all the magical things that only happen at night: fireworks, star-gazing, visits from Father Christmas, and more. Maybe the dark isn't so bad after all.
Nightmares happen to everyone, including Little Critter. One night, one of his dreams starts out great, with him skipping baths, eating fudge pops for breakfast, and getting a gorilla as a pet. But it quickly turns into a nightmare when he realizes his family is nowhere to be found, so he has no one to read to him, tuck him in, and give him a hug. Everything is better when he wakes up to his mom and dad comforting him.
Say "Ahhh!" Dora Goes to the Doctor by Phoebe Beinstein
Dora is due for a checkup, and you know what that means: strange equipment and some poking and prodding. This simple book takes tots through the steps of a typical doctor visit, such as getting weighed and measured, and having your heartbeat, eyes, ears, and throat checked. It's really not so bad!
Uh-oh! Curious George has eaten a puzzle piece, so he needs to go to the hospital for an operation. He needs X-rays and shots and a few days of rest while his tummy recovers. Whether your child is ever a hospital patient or visitor, or he just wants to read this for fun, it's a must-read in the beloved Curious George series.
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Open wide! Sister Bear has a loose tooth, and Brother Bear has a small cavity, so it's time to go to the dentist. This cheerful book shows kids what it's like to climb up in the dentist's chair and see all the funny tools the dentist uses. After reading it, your child might actually love going to the dentist.
The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Another great Berenstain Bears book addresses not only stranger safety but also the fear of strangers — making it perfect for kids who are confused by the rule "don't talk to strangers." When Sister Bear begins to think of all strangers as evil, Mama Bear explains some common-sense concepts. The book concludes with a list of "Bears' rules for safe conduct among strangers," including a rule about the privacy of a bear's body.
Boom! Thunder rumbles and crashes so loud, it's no wonder many children are scared of it. In this story, when a storm rolls in, a wise grandmother consoles her frightened granddaughter by showing her that dark clouds and rumbles in the distance are nothing more than the ingredients for a "thunder cake." Bonus: a recipe for a yummy Thunder Cake is included at the end.
Like many little kids, Ryan fears going potty. He's afraid that going poop will hurt, so he refuses to go. Sound familiar? Ryan's "poop program" helps him overcome his fears and confidently use the potty. Parent reviews rave about how this book helped solve their child's toilet troubles.
Whether your child is dealing with separation anxiety or grief, or is generally afraid of being alone, she'll take comfort in learning about the invisible string. As twins Jeremy and Liza learn from their mom, there's "an invisible string made of love" that connects people's hearts even when they're not in the same place. It's a sweet message that resonates with kids.
Sarah Jane's first day at a new school looms on the calendar, and when it finally arrives, all she wants to do is hide under the covers. "I don't know anybody, and it will be hard and... I just hate it, that's all." All the reasons to be anxious build and build before the author finally reveals that (surprise!) Sarah Jane is a teacher, not a student — proving that even adults get first-day jitters when they face something new. Check out these other back-to-school books to get kids excited!
Many children are afraid of — or at least curious about — death. This heartwarming book tenderly addresses this tough subject. It explains how the memories we make with loved ones live on long after they're gone. It reminds kids that love is the kind of gift that you can't see, but that you feel in your heart, giving you hope and comfort when you miss someone.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
Any child who is afraid of Halloween — or creepy, dark nights in general — should meet the fearless little old lady who stars in this book. When the signs of a ghost — shoes, pants, and a pumpkin head — appear one by one and chase the old lady, she assures the floating figures "I am not afraid of you!" Kids will love the "CLOMP CLOMP" and "WIGGLE WIGGLE" refrain as the objects move, and are sure to become just as brave as the little old lady. (Check out these other cute Halloween books.)
The world outside Scaredy Squirrel's tree can be scary — with germs, and insects, and sharks, not to mention green Martians — so he never leaves. But one day, when his nightmare comes true and he finds himself out of his tree, he leaps into the unknown and discovers some very cool, quite un-scary things. It's a cute story for kids dealing with all different forms of anxiety.