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Picture Books to Help Children Cope with Family Stressors

Provided by National Association for the Education of Young Children 

The following selection of children’s books can help children develop skills for coping with stress. Suggested ages for each book are noted, but all the books can be used in different developmentally appropriate ways with children across the full spectrum of pre-K to age 8.

While older children may read the books independently, teachers and families will want to use read-alouds and follow-up discussion to help them navigate difficult or traumatic topics. Teachers can read books aloud to children and provide support in small groups or through a whole-group activity. With guidance from teachers and parents, children can understand and make sense of both the subtleand complex messages presented in the stories.

Adoption

  • I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, by R.A. Lewis. Illus. by J. Dyer. 2000. New York: Little, Brown. Ages 4–8.
  • My Family Is Forever, by N. Carlson. 2004. New York: Puffin. Ages 4–8.
  • Waiting for May, by J.M. Stoeke. 2005. New York: Dutton. Ages 4–8.

Angry Feelings

  • The Ant Bully, by J. Nickle. 1999. New York: Scholastic. Ages 3–8.
  • Hey, Little Ant, by P. Hoose & H. Hoose. Illus. by D. Tilley. [1998] 2005. New York: Scholastic. Ages 4–8.
  • What Are You So Grumpy About?  by T. Lichtenheld. 2003. New York: Little, Brown. Ages 3–8.
  • When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry, by M. Bang. 1999. New York: Scholastic. Ages 3–8.

Death

  • The Dead Bird, by M.W.  Brown. [1935] 2008. New York: Morrow. Ages 4–8.
  • Goodbye Mousie, by R. Harris. Illus. by J. Ormerod. 2004. New York: Aladdin. Ages 4–8.
  • The Hickory Chair, by L.R. Fraustino. Illus. by B. Andrews. 2001. New York: Arthur A. Levine. Ages 5–10.
  • I’ll Always Love You, by H. Wilhelm. 1988. Albuquerque, NM: Dragonfly. Ages 3–8.
  • I Remember Miss Perry, by P. Brisson. Illus. by S. Jorisch. 2006. New York: Dial. Ages 5–8.
  • A Story for Hippo: A Book about Loss, by S. Puttock. Illus. by A. Bartlett. 2001. New York: Scholastic. Ages 4–8.
  • The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, by J. Viorst. Illus. by E. Blegvad. 1987. New York: Aladdin. Ages 3–8.

Developmental Differences

  • Be Good to Eddie Lee, by V. Fleming. Illus. by F. Cooper. 1993. New York: Putnam. Ages 4–8.
  • Giraffes Can’t Dance, by G. Andrea. Illus. by G. Parker-Rees. 2001. New York: Orchard. Ages 3–8.
  • Keeping Up With Roo, by S. Glenn. Illus. by D. Andreasen. 2004. New York: Putnam. Ages 4–8.
  • Leo the Late Bloomer, by R. Kraus. Illus. by J. Aruego. 1994. New York: HarperTrophy. Ages 3–8.
  • We’ll Paint the Octopus Red, by S. Stuve-Bodeen. Illus. by P. Devito. 1998. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine. Ages 4–8.

Divorce

  • The Days of Summer, by E. Bunting. Illus. by William Low. 2001. New York: Harcourt. Ages 5–10.
  • Fred Stays with Me! by S. Coffelt. Illus. by T. Tusa. 2007. New York: Little, Brown. Ages 4–8.
  • Two Homes, by C. Masurel. Illus. by K.M. Denton. 2003. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. Ages 4–8.

Illness in the Family

  • Bear Feels Sick, by K. Wilson. Illus. by J. Chapman. 2007. New York: Simon & Schuster. Ages 3–8.
  • My Little Grandmother Often Forgets, by R. Lindbergh. Illus. by K. Brown. 2007. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. Ages 3–8
  • Now One Foot, Now the Other, by T. dePaola. [1981] 2005. New York: Penguin. Ages 3–8.

Loss or Separation

  • Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by S. Taback. 1999. New York: Scholastic. Ages 3–8.
  • Kitten’s First Full Moon, by K. Henkes. 2004. New York: Greenwillow. Ages 3–8.
  • To Everything There Is a Season, by J. Daly. 2006. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. Ages 4 and up.
  • When the Wind Stops, by C. Zolotow. 1997. New York: HarperTrophy. Ages 4 and up.
  • Where the Wild Things Are, by M. Sendak. [1963] 1988. New York: HarperCollins. Ages 3–8.

Making and Keeping Friends

  • How to Make Friends with a Giant, by G. Choldenko. Illus. by A. Walrod. 2006. New York: Putnam. Ages 4–8.
  • My Best Friend, by M.A. Rodman. Illus. by E.B. Lewis. 2007. New York: Viking. Ages 4–8.
  • The Recess Queen, by A. O’Neill.  Illus. by L. Huliska-Beith. 2002. New York:  Scholastic. Ages 3–8.
  • That’s What Friends Are For, by V. Gorbachev. 2005. New York: Philomel. Ages 3–8.
  • Will You Be My Friend? A Bunny and Bird Story, by N. Tafuri. 2000. New York: Scholastic. Ages 3–5.

Military Deployment

  • Love, Lizzie: Letters to a Military Mom, by L.T. McElroy. Illus. by D. Paterson. 2005. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman. Ages 4–8.
  • My Red Balloon, by E. Bunting. Illus. by K. Life. 2005. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. Ages 4–8.
  • Night Catch, by B. Ehrmantraut. Illus. by V. Wehrman. 2005. Lansing, MI: Bubble Gum Press. Ages 4–8.
  • Red, White, and Blue Good-bye, by S. W. Tomp. Illus by A. Barrow. 2005. New York: Walker Books. Ages 4–8.
  • When Dad’s at Sea, by M.L. Pelton. Illus. by R.G. Steele. 2004. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman. Ages 4–8.
  • See alsoChildren’s Books,”

Moving

  • Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move, by J. Viorst. Illus. by R.P. Glasser.1995. New York: Simon & Schuster.Ages 4–8.
  • Amelia’s Notebook, by M. Moss. 2006. New York: Simon & Schuster. Ages 4–8.
  • Annie Bananie, by L. Komaiko. Illus. by L. Cornell. 2003. New York: HarperTrophy. Ages 4-8.
  • Ella the Elegant Elephant, by C. D’Amico & S. D’Amico. 2006. New York: Arthur A. Levine. Ages 4–8.
  • I Miss You Every Day, by S. Taback. 2007. New York: Viking. Ages 3–8.
    Me and Mr. Mah, by A. Spalding. 2001. Custer, WA: Orca Book Publishers. Ages 4–8.
  • The Old House, by P.D. Edwards. Illus by H. Cole. 2007. New York: Dutton. Ages 4–8.

New Baby

  • Best Ever Big Sister, by K. Katz. 2006. New York: Grossett & Dunlap. Ages 2–5.
  • Julius, Baby of the World, by K. Henkes. 1995. New York: Greenwillow. Ages 3–8.
  • We Have a Baby, by C. Falwell. 1999. New York:Clarion. Ages 3–8.
  • What the No-Good Baby Is Good For, by E. Broach. Illus. by A. Carter. 2005. New York: Putnam. Ages 4–8.

Separation Anxiety—Saying Goodbye

  • Arabella Miller’s Tiny Caterpillar, by C. Jarrett. 2008. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. Ages 3–8.
  • Duck, by R. Cecil.2008. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. Ages 3–8.
  • The Hello, Goodbye Window, by N. Juster. Illus. by C. Raschka. 2005. New York: Hyperion. Ages 4–8.
  • The Kissing Hand, by A. Penn. [1993] 2006. Illus. R.E. Harper & N.M. Leak. Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood Press. Ages 3–6.

Starting School

  • Chrysanthemum, by K. Henkes. 1982. New York: Greenwillow. Ages 3–8.
  • Countdown to Kindergarten, by A. McGhee. Illus. by H. Bliss. 2002. Orlando: Harcourt. Ages 4–6.
  • Mr. Ouchy’s First Day, by B.G. Hennesey. Illus. by P. Meisel. 2006. New York: Putnam. Ages 4–8.
  • The Night before Kindergarten, by N. Wing. Illus. by J. Durrell. 2001. New York: Scholastic. Ages 4–6.
  • Tucker’s Four Carrot School Day, by S. Winget. 2005. New York: HarperCollins. Ages 3–8.
  • Wemberly Worried, by K. Henkes. 2000. New York: Greenwillow. Ages 3–6.