Diaphragmatic Breathing

Also known as belly breathing or taking deep breaths. It’s a major tool in emotion regulation (anger management, anxiety reduction, etc) and helps to down-regulate our nervous systems.
Age range: 1st grade through 4th grade.
Recommended for: This is a good introduction to the feeling of frustration and how to manage it. It is applicable to children who blow up when they’re frustrated (e.g. kids who will smash apart a Lego creation if they’re struggling to get something right), as well as kids who are more inclined to quickly give up and avoid a frustrating situation.
Age range: 1st grade through 5th grade.
Recommended for: This workbook is a must-read for any child and their caregiver who are looking for relief from phobia(s). It’s an interactive book that teaches children gold-standard cognitive-behavioral strategies to reduce their fears, and it’s applicable to any and all phobias, including fears related to animals (e.g., dogs, spiders, bees, sharks), nature (e.g., heights, thunderstorms), injuries (e.g., blood, shots), small spaces (e.g., airplanes, elevators), and/or anything else (e.g., clowns, balloons, vomiting).
Age range: 1st grade through 5th grade.
Recommended for: This interactive workbook based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques helps children to learn cognitive restructuring and relaxation strategies to manage envy when something is “not fair.” It includes techniques to navigate situations when “someone else has something you think is better than what you have, or does something better than you, or gets more attention than you do.” This book is best for a child who has some insight into their thoughts (i.e., can name their thoughts about specific situations).
Age range: Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Recommended for: This book teaches the “Name It, Tame It, Reframe It” strategy of emotion regulation (i.e., name the feeling, use a relaxation skill like deep breathing, and then shift one’s thinking to be more helpful), which is useful for a child who has explosive reactions when something goes wrong or doesn’t go their way. It’s an effective trifecta of strategies, and it’s a moderately fun way to introduce this concept.
Age range: 1st grade through 5th grade.
Recommended for: This excellent interactive workbook empowers children to learn strategies to calm their temper. It reviews cognitive strategies (e.g., “cool thoughts”) and behavioral strategies (e.g., deep breaths, squeezing a pillow), and it touches on problem solving, compromise, flexible thinking, and avoiding “payback” escalation. It’s best for a child who is able to articulate their thoughts to some extent, but if a child isn’t yet able to do this, many of the other chapters on “anger-dousing” strategies will still be applicable and helpful. This workbook is great for a child who is ready to learn some strategies as well as a kid who is ambivalent about managing their anger or who doesn’t yet feel that it’s possible.

Jabari Jumps

Written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
Age range: Preschool through 1st grade.
Age range: Kindergarten through 2nd grade.
Recommended for: These books (there are two nearly identical versions–one featuring a girl, Lola, and one featuring a boy, Leo) are great for therapists to use with children with Selective Mutism (SM) as a way of destigmatizing the experience and of introducing the idea that there are different steps the child can take to work towards overcoming their SM. The books come with a website where you can print out paper dolls of the characters in the story, which I really love. Caregivers can read these books with a child at home, too, especially if they have a therapist they and their child are working with or if they’re already familiar with the techniques included in the books (e.g., making a worry box, diaphragmatic breathing). Also available in French.
Age range: Ideal for 1st graders through 5th graders.
Recommended for: Children struggling with too many worries who want to worry less will likely benefit from going through this interactive workbook with a trusted adult and practicing the recommended skills. It’s a collection of evidence-based practices for worry management, and for some kids, this workbook might be enough to help them learn to get their worries under control! For kids who need a little more support, this workbook could still be a great supplement to therapy. Also available in Spanish.

Jabari Tries

Written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
Age range: Preschool through 3rd grade.
Recommended for: This is a fun, heart-warming book about a boy and his baby sister engineering a model plane and overcoming the frustration of crashes to find success. It’s a lovely book to read with a child who has a hard time managing frustration and/or who is disinclined to try again after an initial failure.
Age range: Preschool through 3rd grade.
Recommended for: This riff off of The Princess and the Pea teaches children relaxation skills to use before bed when they are having trouble feeling sleepy (including stretching, taking deep breaths, and doing a mindfulness exercise of placing worries on stars and watching them twinkle and disappear). It’s a fun, well-written read, and it easily leads into a child practicing the relaxation skills along with the Princess. Adults might benefit from joining in as well!
Age range: Kindergarten through 3rd grade
Recommended for: This book is best for children with performance anxiety. Pilar is a ballet dancer, but children with anxiety about other types of performances (e.g., musical performances, theater, class presentations, sports) would also likely benefit from reading this story. It normalizes performance anxiety, which is an important intervention (i.e., there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling anxious about a performance), and it teaches strategies of breathing, visualization, and talking with a loved one.
Age range: Kindergarten through 5th grade.
Recommended for: I highly recommend this workbook for parents and children to work through together over many weeks or even months. It’s ideal for a child who would like to feel less anxious and who is ready to learn some strategies for getting their anxiety more under control. This workbook is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and is a comprehensive collection of evidence-based practices for childhood anxiety. Therapists may also be interested in using this book in session with clients as a way of structuring their treatment or as between-session “homework” for children and their caregivers as a means of reinforcing in-session content.
Age range: 2nd grade through 5th grade.
Recommended for: This book is ideal for an older, verbally-oriented child who is scared of their anger and/or feels embarrassed or ashamed by their behavior when they’re angry. The book destigmatizes anger by presenting it as a valuable feeling that shows us when we’ve been hurt or that something is unfair. It teaches children strategies for managing the feeling in healthy ways (e.g. deep breaths, talking about it with someone they trust) so that they can use their anger to motivate positive change.
Age range: 1st grade through 5th grade.
Recommended for: This story teaches children that they can practice flexible thinking to make it less likely that their days are ruined when something goes wrong (e.g., a rained out baseball game, a fire drill during freetime). It’s an empowering message, and it’s provided by a relatable protagonist. Kids whose days are easily ruined by small setbacks will likely feel understood by Braden and comforted by the idea that they might not need things to go perfectly in order to feel okay.
Age range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Recommended for: This book is a really great introduction to anger management and would probably be best received by a child who has expressed some interest in getting a better handle on their anger (maybe they want to get in trouble less, or they’ve expressed sadness about hurting someone’s feelings while they were angry). Importantly, it teaches children to listen to their anger (e.g., maybe a child needs a rest or someone needs to stop being unfair) as well as to calm down using a handful of impactful coping strategies (e.g., taking a break, deep breaths, exercise, talking with a trusted person).
Age range: 1st grade through 3rd grade.
Recommended for: This book is a great story, which happens to be co-written by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, about a boy with dyslexia who loves baseball (loosely based on Newsom’s own experience as a child with dyslexia). It is also a story about having more in common with others than we realize and about never giving up. It’s a wonderful book for kids who think they are the only ones struggling to read (there’s a surprise twist in the story that disproves this), and it celebrates kids’ strengths. The publisher states that the book was written in a font specifically designed to be easier to read for people with dyslexia.
Age range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Recommended for: This book is an excellent read before, during, or after a vacation to help a child prepare for/ cope with/ or process a trip not going exactly as planned. Mr. Fish is initially frustrated by all of the disappointments, but then he realizes that the hiccups came with new opportunities and adventure (e.g., a detour takes him to a beautiful view). This book could be used more generally as a way to talk about things not going as planned and how a child can cope with this and be more open to disappointments and detours leading to new opportunities.
Age range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Recommended for: This book is a lovely collection of peaceful mindfulness exercises for a child to practice with an adult before bed, or really anytime they could use a relaxing reset. A child who often has a lot of racing thoughts or worries when they’re going to bed might particularly benefit from some of the exercises in this book. Therapists and child care providers interested in incorporating mindfulness exercises into their work with children might enjoy using this book during the day, as well. All but the last prompt on dreams are applicable to the daytime as well as bedtime.


Written and illustrated by Oge Mora
Age range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Recommended for: Ava and her mother use their coping skills and creativity to salvage their special day, Saturday, even though nothing goes according to plan. This book is, perhaps first and foremost, about a loving relationship between a Black mother and daughter. It is also a lovely story about coping with disappointments and a fun way to encourage children to practice taking deep breaths (there’s a refrain of Ava and her mother taking a deep breath each time something goes wrong).
Age range: Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Recommended for: This book is best for a child who is ambivalent about controlling their temper and reluctant to use anger management strategies. Perhaps they feel empowered by their temper, or it gets them what they want sometimes. This story uses the metaphor of a pet Temper to show how Temper can be fun and useful until it starts to really get in the way. It presents anger management strategies (e.g., counting to 10, deep breaths) as a way to increase a child’s power and control, rather than Temper being in charge.