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  • Writer's pictureDayna Sharp, LCSW

Some of My Favorite Books for Kids

Children's books for anxiety, anger.
Sharing a story with a child can provide a mirror into their own experiences as well as a window into yet-to-be discovered worlds

I love sharing stories with children about social development, relationships and wellness. Most importantly, they love it too! As they say, books can be windows into new worlds and mirrors into ourselves. My favorite things about storytelling with children is that they can feel a sense of validation in their experience--"I'm not the only one", and learn new ways to manage their experiences.

The following books are some of my favorites:

The Invisible String is a story about two children who have trouble sleeping at night due to the loud noise of a thunderstorm. The children wonder how mom can be with them when they are alone, in their own beds. Mom tells the kids a story about an "invisible string" that connects us to all the people whom we love. The kids ask questions, "even from France?", "even from Space?", "even from Heaven?". I love this book because it speaks to our deepest needs--attachment. It validates our need for connection, and offers a window into a spiritual way of understanding connection. It's a great book for everyone, but can be especially useful for children and families experiencing any kind of separation or loss.

Owl Babies is a wonderful book for younger children, as it illustrates developmentally the experience of separation for three siblings. As the Owl Mommy goes out into the night to find food for her little ones, the three baby owls cope with her absence. Again, this book validates children's feelings about separation from their loved ones, and also offers a window into the older owl's self talk--"She will be back!".

Anh's Anger is a story about a boy, who in the midst of transition, disappointment, and frustration, becomes angry and throws a tower of blocks. His grandfather tells him to go to his room and "sit with" his anger. The little boy meets his Anger, the Anger and he connect, talk, dance, play drums, and then simply sit together. The boy learns to breathe, and notices that his Anger becomes smaller with each exhale. Ultimately, the boy and his grandfather re-connect and repair their argument, culminating in dessert. I love this book because it validates kids' experience of anger, but it also provides a window into externalizing anger and teaches kids to build a healthy relationship with their Anger, offering specific tools on how to do so (without losing its creativity!).

This is a workbook that helps children to understand the concept of "worry", and teaches kids some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to better understand and cope with it. From recognizing worry in one's body, to practicing progressive muscle relaxation, to "changing" the channel of thoughts, this book is a fun way to learn effective skills to cope with worry and anxiety.

I love The Grouchies because its a fun way to talk about feeling irritable. It helps kids build their feelings vocabulary, so that they can recognize and put their experiences into words--and who doesn't wake up "on the wrong side of bed" sometimes? The Grouchies is another story that externalizes a mood--alleviating shame around negative emotions. The Grouchies are little frown clouds and we all need to be on the look out for them, so we can stay away! And if they do come close, we can send them away and turn it around--The Grouchies will teach your child how. This book is playful, validating, teaches important self-regulation skills and just plain fun and funny!

Sharing stories is a fun way to bond with your kids while validating their feelings and teaching them new skills at the same time! It can also help you build empathy--a deeper understanding of what your child may be feeling and experiencing developmentally--supporting you to be better attuned with your child.

Happy reading!


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