Books for Fearful Children

2 May

Recently, some people in Boston went to run a race and the race ended in explosions and danger and people being hurt and killed.  I would dearly like it if I didn’t have to come up with a list of books, every year or so, to deal with the feelings that children must experience when bad things happen.  Even the most conscientious cannot totally isolate children from the twenty-four hour news cycle, the blaring headlines, and the anxiety that they may pick up from you, as a parent, wondering what new horrors the world can produce.  Obviously, as a parent, you will try to protect your child and focus on the positive response of police and emergency workers, of people going from the race to hospitals to give blood.  However, children’s emotions can’t be negated just because they are young.  To do so may teach your child that their emotions are not real or valid.  However you can read and discuss how bad things make you feel with the help of some of the following books:


Sometimes I’m Afraid, by Maribeth Boelts.

Suggesting a different approach, this book  suggests religious solutions like prayer and faith to help children cope with fears.


What to Do When You’re Scared and Worried: A Guide for Kids, by James J. Christ.

A book for slightly older children,  this book deals with small fears and world-sized anxieties.  The author discusses what causes fears, discusses physical strategies for coping, and when to turn to adults for help if your fears overwhelm you.

bad things happen

Sometimes Bad Things Happen, by Ellen Jackson.

Helps children to understand that, when bad things happen, adults are there to care for them and they can be proactive by doing small deeds to help others feel better.

feel good

Feel Good: Understand Your Emotions, by Kathy Feeney

A simple book about emotions and how you can deal with negative feelings through positive action and simple tasks.


Don’t Worry Bear, by Greg Foley

Sometimes friends worry about each other, as bear does about caterpillar. True friends never leave us, even if they change along the way.


What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety, by Dawn Huebner.

This is a workbook that helps children deal with prolonged anxiety by suggesting cognitive exercises  that don’t make worries go away, but do put them in perspective.


Heroes of the Day: War on Terrorism, by Nancy Louis.

Based on the events of 9/11/01, this book shows the important role that fire, police and other emergency workers play in catastrophic events.


The Feelings Book, by Todd Parr

In the simplest words and pictures, this book validates the emotions that every child has.


Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace, by James Proimos

Pauli Pastrami is not a special boy, but through simple acts of ever day kindness, he manages to make a big change in the world.


Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, by Michael Rosen.

When Michael Rosen’s son died, he wrote about his sadness and how sad things affected him.  He also wrote about how it is possible to recover from grief and sadness.


Jenny is Scared: When Sad Things Happen in the World, by Carol Shuman.

Right on target, Jenny  and her brother Sam are confused and upset when a terrorist incident causes their personal world to grind to a halt.  This book simply explains how world events make children feel, and how they can turn to their own support network of adults and friends to help them cope.

You are your child’s strongest support and best role model.  They will take their cues from you in treating world events as a reason for them to make positive change in their lives.

– Lois Gross, Children’s Librarian

Wanted To Change The World
By Unknown Monk, 1100 A.D.

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network

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