Picture Books for Taming Anxiety
Books about childhood anxiety are hard to come by. Of course there are plenty of texts and workbooks that support parents + clinical work with anxious children. There are also great story driven picture books about anxious kids in tough situations. But books that can make clinical knowledge and didactics relevant to children - I have never seen one of those, not really. I have hoped for one; I have wondered why a beautiful one hadn't been made; but just hadn't made a connection worth sharing.
Then "Hey Warrior" showed up in my mailbox.
Do you ever have feel angry at yourself for having used too many superlatives in the past? I feel like I have cheapened "awesome," "amazing," and "perfect" through years of overuse and now I have nothing left to use for this book. I have called books "great" before, and I am sure they truly are, but this time....I really REALLY mean it. This book is GREAT.
The author, Karen Young, is a New Zealand based psychologist and the web master over at Hey Sigmund. She is hitting on all cylinders with her beautiful debut, Hey Warrior. I couldn't be more proud or more grateful to support another boss-lady psychologist with a heart and mind to help.
I wrote a super helpful and thorough review about childhood anxiety, some causes, and a few brief take home interventions. But it is always, always good to have a book that is simple, relatable and engaging for the whole family.
Reading this book will not only inform your child, make them feel normal and less alone, it will also contribute to the whole family's understanding and support for their little patient.
If you feel overwhelmed and heartbroken by your child's fits of panic and crippling anxiety; if you're searching for something that can take both you and your child on a tandem journey of understanding and healing; if every book seems to fall short because they are too placid, too indirect, or too tepid for the kind of anxiety that seems to be ravaging through your child - this book is just for you.
If you're looking for a way to quickly share your child's pain and your parenting struggle with a neighbor or friend - this book is for you. If you want an easy way to describe short interventions that the whole family can support and encourage - this book is for you. If you want to provide your child the joy of know-how and an empowered approach to their own care - this is just the right book.
Max the Brave
This small Aussie publishing house, Little Steps, has won my heart with an eye for good lit with a heart for helping. They also have a book Max the Brave which will buttress your child's specific anxiety around new experiences and fear of something new. It is less clinical and intervention oriented than Hey Warrior, but exceptional none the less.
In this cute little ditty, a goofy little bulldog named Max, meets the beach for the first time. In a stroke of genius, the story is told from his perspective and stays within the boundaries of a dog’s limited understanding. I love how Max calls the waves a monster. It is such a perfect reminder of the way we take our children’s limited understanding and experience for granted.
Think about it! You’re not afraid of the beach because you are bigger than the waves, you know what an ocean is and why a tide exists. You know that the sand continues beyond the water’s edge. Can you put on your beginner’s mind and imagine not knowing any of this?
New experiences are awesome for our children, but they are good for us too. We can use them to imagine what our child is experiencing and support them exactly how they need support or reassurance.
This empathetic imagination or wondering is an important skill in responsive relationship. And responsive relationship is one of our children’s fundamental needs. If you want to know more or are wondering whether you are consistently meeting your child’s basic needs for social and emotional growth - then check out the Fundamental Needs of Children eCourse COMING SOON!
The Slices of Anxiety
I also love the visual experiences that Thin Slices of Anxiety provides (pictured above). I think an anxious kid and his family can connect to this on a gut-level.
Three whole books about anxiety, and one that is going to rock your world?! Now THAT is a post worth pinning!