Must Have Books – Shyness and Worry

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This is Part 5 in my must have book series. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here!
Part 5: Shyness and Worry

In my first position as well as in all of my internships, anger was the biggest emotion the kiddos had trouble regulating. For the past few years however, we’ve seen a large number of our students experiencing a significant amount of shyness. And like the rest of the America, we are seeing increasing anxiety issues as well. While it’s easy to find books about fear and phobias, books that describe worry/anxiety are a bit harder to come by.

Counselor must haves for shyness and worry: There's a Bully in My Brain book cover
I love talking to students about self-talk and helpful thinking – this book is AWESOME for that. Such a great example of externalizing an uncomfortable emotion (which can then be beaten!). The examples in this book lean towards generalized anxiety but there are some social and phobic examples as well. It includes the somatic symptoms of anxiety, a positive shout out to school counselors, and specific coping skills. Those familiar with Paris Goodyear-Brown will recognize a lot of ‘boss back talk’!
Counselor must haves for shyness and worry: Weberly Worried book cover

Lots of students will likely have already read this as many teachers do author studies on Henkes – this book is still great though. Best for younger grades.

Counselor must haves for shyness and worry: David and the Worry Beast

This is a little lengthy, but really great for upper elementary and also so spot on in its examples of how the main character experiences anxiety (including, if my memory serves, how it manifests physically). It’s a smidge more suited for therapeutic work, but I still think it’s a must have.

Counselor must haves for shyness and worry:Wilma Jean the Worry Machine book cover

Do I love this book? No. The coping skills/problem solving that the character uses (and that the adults suggest to her) are 1) just not as effective as other strategies and 2) not as realistic for my students. That said, the first half of the book, describing Wilma Jean’s worries (and how they physically make her feel) is really good. It’s got the great rhymes Julia Cook is known for, wacky illustrations, and I think hits the sweet spot of 2nd/3rd/4th grade.

Counselor must haves for shyness and worry:Willow's Whispers book cover

Sweet and simple, about a girl who learns to use her voice (literally and figuratively) with the help of a “magic microphone”. This story is direct and sets the counselor up for helping the student practice finding their voice with a magic microphone as well.

Counselor must haves for shyness and worry:Too Shy for Show and Tell book cover

I like to have this one on my shelf because too many books on shyness and worry have female main characters and this cutie giraffe is a boy. This story is also great because it sets up the counseling session (especially if it’s small group) for an experiential practice activity.

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Hello, I’m Sara!

With 10 years of experience in
elementary school counseling,
I get to serve in a different way now
– by helping fellow counselors and

I value quality over quantity,
effective practices and resources,
and meeting the unique needs of all
our diverse learners.

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