Reassuring Books to Ease Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is normal for young children. It’s common at school or daycare drop-off, but can occur any time a child has to separate from their parent or caregiver. Because books are a great way to help children process transitions and big events in their lives, we’ve compiled a list of go-to books to ease them into the new school year.

Youth Services Librarian

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Three owl babies, whose mother has gone out in the night, try to stay calm while she is away gathering food.

Wherever You’ll Be by Ariella Prince Guttman

Even though they spend the day apart, a working mother and her child find comfort in thinking of each other.

The Worry Box by Suzanne Chiew

While siblings Molly and Murray prepare to visit a waterfall, Molly notices that her brother seems fretful. When he admits that he is scared of the loud noise the waterfall will make, she introduces him to a worry box. Writing down his concerns and placing them in the box helps relieve Murray of his worries and allows him to control his fears.

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

Little Llama is initially apprehensive about starting preschool but once he realizes that his mother returns at the end of each day, he happily joins in the classroom fun.

I Love You With All My Heart by Jane Chapman

This sweet story reinforces the absolute love felt between parents and children, assuring children that they will always be loved forever by their parents, despite mistakes made or the distance between them.

First Day Critter Jitters by Jory John

This delightful story follows a group of adorable animals who share their unease about starting school for the first time. From a kangaroo anxious about leaving his mother’s pouch to an energetic bunny worried about sitting still, many of the common fears presented will resonate with children.

I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything! by Alissa Holder

When Ayaan’s mother notices he looks upset one morning, her young son confesses that sometimes he doesn’t feel very smart. Ayaan’s mother encourages him to say affirmations that give him the self-assurance to face the day with conviction.

The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague

While the world outside our immediate family may seem like a scary place, if we expand our own personal circle to include new friends, teachers, etc., we can build an incredible community.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

Nervous about her first day of school, Sarah Jane Hartwell, refuses to get out of bed. After she begrudgingly makes her way to the classroom, readers are surprised to learn that she is the teacher!

The End is Just the Beginning by Mike Bender

This book teaches readers that the end of one thing is actually the beginning of another. This clever book is perfect for teaching children that while change may be scary, it may also bring unexpected happiness.

Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by Jessica Hische

Illustrations, hand-lettering, and easy-to-read text reveal a child’s bedtime promise to strive the next day to be adventurous, strong, curious, and more.

Franklin Endicott and the Third Key by Kate DiCamillo

Frank Endicott is a worrier. He worries about lions, submarines, black holes, leprosy, and armadillos. He lists his worries alphabetically in a notebook and suffers vivid nightmares that even a certain neighborhood pig can’t dispatch. When he accompanies Eugenia Lincoln on an errand to duplicate a key at her favorite dark and dusty thrift shop, Frank earns fresh cause for alarm.

Grumpy Monkey: Freshly Squeezed by Suzanne Lang

It’s Wednesday! Which means it’s time for Jim Panzee’s weekly Wednesday walk. He wakes up, stretches a little, grabs his stress orange, and sets off. Jim’s favorite part of the walk is the blissful silence. When he’s alone, he can hear all the jungle sounds. Until… his best buddy, Norman, decides to join him. And before he knows it, Jim is followed by every animal in the jungle. It’s all just too much.

Rumple Buttercup by Matthew Gray Gubler

Rumple Buttercup has five crooked teeth, three strands of hair, green skin, and his left foot is slightly bigger than his right. He is weird. Join him and Candy Corn Carl (his imaginary friend made of trash) as they learn the joy of individuality as well as the magic of belonging.

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

It’s the start of a new year at Snow Hill School, and seven students find themselves thrown together in Mr. Terupt’s fifth-grade class. There’s Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings’ lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win—or even if their fight will ever end.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

Arturo’s Miami summer is marked by the arrival of poetry enthusiast Carmen, who helps him use the power of protest to fight the plans of a land developer who wants to demolish his Abuela’s restaurant.

Bo the Brave by Rebecca Elliott

In order to earn their Bravery Patches, Bo and the other unicorns of Sparklegrove Forest have to camp out in the forest for three nights; but the night is full of frightening noises, and when a misunderstanding offends some pixies, the unicorns resolve to face their fears and confront the “monsters” who are stealing the pixies’ houses.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Delsie loves tracking the weather, living with her grandmother, and the support of friends and neighbors, but misses having a “regular family,” especially after her best friend outgrows her.

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Depending on an older sister who protected her when their mother went to prison and their mother’s boyfriend committed a terrible act, 10-year-old Della tries to figure out what to do when her older sister attempts suicide.

Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos

Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger–it’s the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.

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