The Worry (Less) Book: Feel Strong, Find Calm, and Tame Your Anxiety!

Little, Brown. Sept. 2020. 64p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780316495196.
Gr 2-5–Who experiences anxiety? Certainly we know that adults do, and much has been written in the past few decades about adolescents and anxiety—but we are becoming increasingly aware that school-age children and even preschoolers experience occasional and even chronic anxiety. As explained in this excellent graphic novel, anxiety is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shortness of breath or nausea, which can in turn cause more fearfulness. Brian gives children facts and words for these strong feelings and reassures them that they are not alone in having them. A modicum of brain science and anatomy helps explain why we confront anxiety, how it affects our bodies, and what to do about it. Short, declarative sentences and expressive but simple illustrations ensure that the text won’t introduce more fears than it alleviates, and Brian’s sense of humor, evenhanded acceptance, and gift for analogies (anxiety is represented as a gloppy gray mass with googly eyes and stick arms) make the book fun and informative. Cartoon characters are depicted in a variety of ethnicities. Those who are prone to anxiety will find practical advice about dealing with it, while those less familiar with it will learn to recognize it in others and what they can do to help. Perhaps most important, the book ends with the message: “Being brave doesn’t mean you don’t have fear or anxiety. Bravery can mean doing what’s important to you despite your anxiety.”
VERDICT Easy to understand and entertaining, this offering makes light work of an important subject.

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