Book Reviews: Two Great Back-to-School Books to Help With Anxiety

Mothernova's Book ReviewsAre you and your kids getting anxious as the first day of school approaches? As we get ready for school to begin, the worries inevitably surface–especially if you’re attending school for the first time or you have food allergies or other health concerns.

I can’t help but share two great back-to-school books that we’re already putting to good use: Kari Dunn Buron’s When My Worries Get Too Big! and School Made Easier, by Wendy L. Moss and Robin A. Deluca-Acconi.

Help kids manage big emotions and worries.

How can we help our kids relax and gain control over their worries when they feel like they will explode? Buron, who has worked with students on the autism spectrum for over 30 years, offers an expanded second edition of When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live With Anxiety that gives practical tips for coping with anxiety.

This is a fantastic workbook for the classroom. Buron offers a helpful foreword and a three-page letter to parents and teachers about three key areas:

  • heightened levels of anxiety,
  • the loss of emotional control and
  • cognitive behavioral management tools.

These tools are designed to help kids learn how to manage what can be very overwhelming feelings.

What really stands out is Buron’s five-point scale that gives kids a tangible way to define how they’re feeling.

For example, how can kids bring a five feeling, where they feel like they are losing control, down to a one?

Interactive activities include a colorful, fun chart for filling in their own stress scale. The large text, simple sentences and comic-like sketches of a young boy working through his feelings throughout the workbook are easy to relate to, easy-to-follow and engaging.

At the end, Buron provides recommendations for teachers and parents, six evidence-based strategies for proactively supporting highly anxious children, references and other related books.

What is fantastic about Buron’s humorous illustrations of her calming sequence is that it could be helpful for any age! She totally gets an A+ for giving teachers and parents tangible and fun ways to help kids learn how to calm down and focus when they are faced with what can be very challenging emotions.

You can find When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live With Anxiety on Amazon: Shop at! (affiliate link)

Get rid of anxiety with these fantastic tools.

With so much emphasis on getting the best grades and being the best in everything, kids are under a lot of stress. (Aren’t we all?) They find themselves in school with a lot being asked of them.

School Made Easier: A Kid’s Guide to Study Strategies and Anxiety-Busting Tools is a study skills guide published by the American Psychological Association. It really hits the mark by getting to the heart of kids’ anxieties at school.

This study skills guide gives kids step-by-step strategies for getting their work done and feeling confident.

It’s a must-have toolkit for teaching affirmative, tangible and fun ways to tackle everyday stressors.

A note to readers in the beginning and a conclusion at the end give helpful overviews. Throughout the chapters, examples of other kids’ concerns and circular call-outs reinforce tips and action points.

Moss and Deluca-Acconi start with a toolkit to help kids understand and recognize the signs and symptoms of stress.

The second chapter provides games and activities for handling academic anxieties. For example, a toolkit for reducing internal stress tells kids to practice positive self-talk. They are then asked to write out their top three negative thoughts along with new positive thoughts.

The authors provide great skill sets for coping with external stresses, organizing and preparing, studying, managing time effectively and doing homework.

A sample chart for study time and a calendar for completing homework show how to put these tips into practice.

All of the chapters lead up to the final tool set: skills for the big day when it’s time to complete a test, give a presentation or talk with a teacher.

While the book speaks to middle-graders, its detailed lessons on preparation, time management and relieving anxiety could benefit any age!

You can find School Made Easier: A Kid’s Guide to Study Strategies and Anxiety-Busting Tools on Amazon: Shop at! (affiliate link)

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Please note that my writing, advice, tips, and all other information given by Mothernova stems from my personal experience and opinion; it should not be used as a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. In a similar vein, my interviews with specialists, doctors, and other professionals are conducted with a general audience in mind and are not to be taken as individual-specific advice or diagnoses. My content is meant only for support.

Also note that I review books for Children’s Literature in Washington, D.C. This is an unpaid position. They provide books to review, which I get to keep, but the reviews are my own. You can find my reviews on their website. I post the reviews that are of interest to the parenting and food allergy communities in the “On the Shelves” section on my blog.

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Vector illustration by Pakhnyushcha/