Books About Anxiety and Mental Health for Kids in Grades K–12

David A. Robertson’s YA trilogy, The Reckoner, follows Cole Harper, a teen superhero in the making who struggles with an anxiety disorder, and later, PTSD. Cole’s struggles are familiar to David, who has also been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. 

“You feel like there’s no one else who could possibly understand what’s going on in your mind and your body,” he says. “It’s such a lonely feeling. But when you start to talk about it, you realize that other people feel that way. I think it’s very important to be able to make people realize that they’re not alone. Probably the most important decision I’ve made in my career was to say I can’t hide the stuff that I’m going through anymore.” 

When David began to read the trilogy to students, he noticed a pattern emerging. “At almost every school I read that book at,” says David, “I had at least one kid come up to me who had never talked about their mental health before and say, “I’m going through that.”
(
Quill & Quire, October 2020)

According to Anxiety Canada, more than one in five children and youth will experience
anxiety at some point. To mark the continuation of Cole Harper’s story with the forthcoming graphic novel,
Breakdown, the first volume of The Reckoner Rises series, we have put together a list of books and other resources to help teachers, students, and families discuss mental health.

 

Children’s Picture Books

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Grades: PreK–2
Topics: anxiety

Captain Starfish by Davina Bell
Grades: PreK–2
Topics: anxiety

Anxious Charlie to the Rescue by Terry Milne
Grades: PreK–2
Topics: anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder

The Princess and the Fog by Lloyd Jones
Grades: K–2
Topics: depression

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
Grades: PreK–2
Topics: grief

Pretend Friends by Alice Hoyle
Grades: PreK–2
Topics: psychotic disorders, schizophrenia

The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself by Ali Redford
Grades: PreK–3
Topics: trauma

Graphic Novels and Comics

Guts by Raina Telegemeier
Grades: 2–6
Topics: anxiety

Kind of Coping by Maureen “Marzi” Wilson
Grades: 7–12
Topics: anxiety

The Reckoner Rises series: Breakdown by David A. Robertson
Grades: 9–12
Topics: anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder

Small Things by Mel Tregonning
Grades: K–6
Topics: anxiety, depression

Surviving the City series by Tasha Spillett
Grades: 7–12
Topics: grief

Novels

The Reckoner trilogy by David A. Robertson
Grades: 7–12
Topics: anxiety, panic attacks

Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla
Grades: 3–6
Topics: anxiety

Sarah and the Search for Normal by Wesley King
Grades: 3–6
Topics: anxiety, bipolar disorder, panic attacks

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis
Grades: 7–12
Topics: anxiety, grief, post-traumatic stress disorder

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Grades: 7–12
Topics: anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder

Sparrow by Sarah Moon
Grades: 6–12
Topics: social anxiety

Good Enough by Jen Petro-Roy
Grades: 4–6
Topics: eating disorders, anorexia

Paperweight by Meg Haston
Grades: 8–12
Topics: eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia

I Will See You Again by Lisa Boivin
Grades: all ages
Topics: grief

Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners by Natalie Rompella
Grades: 3–6
Topics: obsessive-compulsive disorder

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Grades: 9–12
Topics: psychotic disorders, schizophrenia

Resources About Anxiety and Mental Health

Anxiety in Children and Youth: A Guide for Parents from the government of British Columbia

Educator Resources from Anxiety Canada

Depression in Children and Youth: A Guide for Parents from the government of British Columbia

Ensouling Our Schools: A Universally Designed Framework for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Reconciliation by Jennifer Katz with Kevin Lamoureux

Talking About Mental Illness: Teacher Guide by the Canadian Association of Mental Health

Talking About Mental Illness: Community Guide by the Canadian Association of Mental Health

Mental Health Lesson Plans booklet from from Can We Talk

Creating a Compassionate Classroom booklet from Can We Talk

The ABCs of Mental Health from the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health 

Everyday Mental Health Classroom Resource from School Mental Health Ontario

Teach Mental Health Literacy: Teaching MHL (Ages 12–19) from the University of British Columbia

Supporting Minds: An Educator’s Guide to Promoting Students’ Mental Health and Well-being for Grades K–12 by Ontario’s Ministry of Education 

Primary Education Resources for Teachers from the Canadian Association of Mental Health

Secondary Education Resources for Teachers from the Canadian Association of Mental Health

Numbers/Contacts/Resources if you are experiencing crisis

Outside Canada:

  • IMALIVE: Visit https://www.imalive.org/ to chat online with a trained volunteer.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline US: 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line US: Text MHA to 741741
  • Hopeline UK: 0800 068 4141

Canada-Wide: 

  • Youthspace.ca: Visit www.youthspace.ca to access Youth Text 778-783-0177 (6:00 p.m.–midnight PST) and Youth Chat (6:00 p.m.–midnight PST).
  • Crisis Services Canada: Call 1-833-456-4566, or text 45645 (7 days a week, 4:00 p.m.–midnight EST).
  • Canadian Crisis Hotline: 1-888-353-2273
  • Wellness Together Canada: Visit https://ca.portal.gs/ to receive mental health and substance use support, such as immediate text support; information and videos on common mental health issues; mental wellness programs you can do on your own and with coaching; monitored communities of support; and individual phone, video, and text counselling.
  • The LifeLine App: Visit www.thelifelinecanada.ca for direct access to phone, online chat, text, and email crisis support; e-counselling; self-management tools; and to access crisis centres across Canada (iPhone and Android users).
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: Call 1-855-242-3310 for counselling available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut.

Ontario:

  • Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000
  • Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario: Call the Parents’ Helpline at 613-321-3211 or 855-775-7005 to speak with a Family Peer Supporter, or visit https://www.pleo.on.ca/ for resources such as the Parent Support Group or One-on-One Mobile Service.

Manitoba: 

  • Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Mobile Crisis Service: Call 204-940-1781 to speak to a member of the Mobile Crisis Staff, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Klinic Crisis Line: 204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019 
  • Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line: 1-877-435-7170 (1-877-HELP170)
  • Manitoba Farm, Rural & Northern Support Services: Call 1-866-367-3276 (Monday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.) or visit www.supportline.ca for online counselling. 

British Columbia: 

  • Crisis Line Association of BC: Call 1 (800) SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) to speak with a crisis line worker, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • 310 Mental Health Support: Call 310-6789 for toll-free provincial access to emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: Call 604-875-2084 or 1-800-665-1822 to speak with a Parent-in-Residence for peer support for families, parents, and caregivers with children or youth with mental health challenges (Monday–Friday, 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.). 

Saskatchewan: 

  • HealthLine 811: Call 8-1-1 to speak to a mental health professional completely free. Deaf and hard-of-hearing residents can access HealthLine 811 by using the SaskTel Relay Operator service at 1-800-855-1155.
  • Mobile Crisis Helpline: 306-757-0127
  • Crisis Suicide Helpline: 306-525-5333
  • Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Centre: 306-933-6200

Quebec: 

  • Suicide Action Montreal: 1-866-277-3553 or 514-723-4000 
  • Le Centre d’Aide 24/7: 819-595-9999
  • Centre d’Écoute Le Havre: 514-982-0333 (Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.)
  • Ligne Parents (association québécoise pour la réadaptation psychosociale): 1-800 361-5085 (24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7)

Alberta: 

  • Mental Health Helpline: 877-303-2642 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Distress Centre Calgary: 403-266-4357 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Canadian Mental Health Association, Edmonton Region: 780-482-HELP (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre: 780-594-3353 or 1-866-594-0533 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

New Brunswick: 

  • Chimo Helpline: 1-800-667-5005 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

Newfoundland & Labrador:

  • Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-888-737-4668 or 709-737-4668
  • Mobile Crisis Response Team (St. John’s Region): 709-737-4668

Nova Scotia:

  • Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team: 1-888-429-8167 or 902-429-8167 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Crisis Text Line: Adults can text NSSTRONG to 741741 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
  • Good2Talk Nova Scotia: University or College students can call 1-833-292-3698 or text GOOD2TALKNS to 686868.
  • Therapy Assistance Online: Visit https://taoconnect.org/what_is_tao/ns/ to complete interactive activities and videos designed to help individuals facing mental health challenges.

Prince Edward Island: 

  • The Island Helpline: 1-800-218-2885 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

Northwest Territories: 

  • NWT Help Line: 1-800-661-0844 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

Nunavut:

  • Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Helpline: 867-979-3333 or 1-800-265-3333
  • Embrace Life Council: Visit http://inuusiq.com/ to access mental health resources, community supports, and stories. 
  • Ilisaqsivik Toll-free Counselling Line: 1-888-331-4433 

Yukon: 

  • Reach Out Support Line: 1-844-533-3030 (7 days a week, 2:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.)
  • Canadian Mental Health Association, Yukon Region: Youth, adults, families, and couples can call 867-668-6429 to book an appointment to receive free counselling (Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.)
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