5 Must-Read Kids Books That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Lovely Books for Lovely children

As the resident childrens author in my friend group, I get asked for book recommendations a LOT. 

Hey Laurie, do you know a good book about moving? 

Hey Laurie, do you know a good book about grief? 

 Hey Laurie, do you know a good book to give a 9 year old girl who loves dragons? 

Why YES, yes I do! 

Truth is, I’m part of a vast network of authors and while we don’t all ‘know’ one another, we are usually quite familiar with one another’s books.

In fact, I usually recognize a book first before the author name. 

Some authors are super famous – hello Dav Pilkey

And no, I don’t know him. 

Or Jory John. But I sure wish I did know them.  

Not just to impress my kids when they ask me to ‘ask *that* author when the next book is coming out, okay?’, but because their work is so inspiring. (I DO know Rick Riordin though**)

In my work with authors as a marketing coach, I come into contact with LOADS of incredible children’s books that I wouldn’t have known existed otherwise. And some of those are the ones you get to hear about today!


Books to help kids overcome worry & anxiety 

Here are 5 books that you might not have known about, that help children overcome worry & anxiety. 

  1. The Mindful Mantras series by Laurie Wright – This series helps kids overcome their worries or anxiety by helping them practice one positive self-talk ‘mantra’ per book. After repeating the mantra over and over, the positive affirmations get stuck in a child’s brain – exactly what we want to happen!
    Couldn’t make a list like this without mentioning my own books, could I?

If you hear your child saying, ‘I suck at this’ or ‘I’m terrible’ they need this series!

Self talk matters
Self talk matters


2. Willow Conquers Her Worries by Rachael Quickfall

This is a fairly new book, written by a fellow Canadian mom and teacher. Rachael is the kind of mom who turns everyday situations into math problems for her kids because math is REALLY her thing!  Having specialized in it while teaching, though, she knows that not all kids feel the same way.

Rachael says that any child can learn AND love math if given the opportunity. She is passionate about helping kids who think they can’t do math or worry too much about being called on in math class. She’s written a book and created many resources here to help them change the story they tell themselves.

If math is what your child is anxious about, these are terrific resources for you!


Help children conquer their worries
Willow Conquers her Worries


3. You Are Gonna Fail by Heidi Karlsson – If you’re a fan of telling the kids the truth, even if it’s difficult, you’ll enjoy this story!

Grumpy Granny has an unusual style of pep talk. She tells kids exactly what will happen when they try something new. They will FAIL, fall, be last, drop the ball, etc.

BUT, from those initial setbacks, next you’ll learn, try again and figure it out.

I find this idea quite reassuring. Tell kids what to expect. It isn’t normal to be GREAT at new things right away, and that’s OKAY.

If your child refuses to even try because they think they won’t be successful, this is the book for you!


'Sorry kid, you are gonna fail' image of stuffed gramma and the book 'You Are going To Fail'
‘You Are Going To Fail’ book about resilience

** If you, the adult, need some more hope in your life, read Heidi’s ‘Hope Notes’ by clicking here. Boy do they hit home**


4. When a Donut Goes to Therapy by Erin Winters – Sometimes kids really need to talk to someone, or play with someone – who isn’t related to them. But it’s scary! 

Do you know what’s NOT scary? DONUTS.

In this wonderful story, the donut learns coping strategies (shared in appropriate kid language of course) that will help children, even if they don’t go to therapy. 

If your child is scared about going to therapy, try this book out ahead of time. 

'Donuts are not scary' words and book cover
‘When a Donut Goes to Therapy’ book


5. I Can’t Reach It by Jana Buchmann – These illustrations are incredible which make the well written story even BETTER!

A young giraffe wants to be taller, because she can’t *quite* reach yet.  Sound familiar to your little one?!

Perseverance, patience and a loved one to lean on help this little one understand that it’s OKAY if you can’t do something, YET. Kids who love African animals will REALLY enjoy this book – my kids enjoyed the pictures just as much as the story. 

Need a light-hearted book for kids who can’t wait to be bigger? This is for you!

growth mindset image
I Can’t Reach It! by Jana Buchmann

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**I actually don’t. But wouldn’t it be SO COOL if I did?!

Laurie Wright

Laurie Wright

Teacher turned author, turned children's mental health advocate. Laurie has given a TEDx talk, gives workshops for parents, teachers, and children, and has published five books in the Mindful Mantras series, all to help combat the crisis kids are currently facing. Teachers can't stop the urge to teach! A course for creatives who want to write for kids is coming soon!
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