Our Favourite Children's Books on Neurodiversity, Learning Difficulties, Anxiety and Grief

Our Favourite Children's Books on Neurodiversity, Learning Difficulties, Anxiety and Grief

Children today often face a wide range of challenges, from learning difficulties to emotional issues. At the same time, young readers require books that can help them learn about challenging issues in a way that is sensitive, empathetic, and relatable. That's where children's books can serve as valuable resources for parents, teachers, and young readers alike. A study published in the Journal of Paediatric Nursing found that using children's books with emotional themes can effectively help children learn about and cope with emotions.

In this blog post, we'll explore our favourite children's books on neurodiversity, learning difficulties (mainly Dyslexia), grief and anxiety from Magination Press, an imprint of the American Psychological Association.

 Front cover of picture book My Wandering Dreaming Mind by Merriam Sarcia Saunders. Pictures an illustration of a young girl with blonde hair imagining mermaids, icecream and unicorns. The book is to help explain ADHD to children

"My Wandering Dreaming Mind" by Merriam Sarcia Saunders, illustrated by Tammie Lyon

"My Wandering Dreaming Mind" is another tremendous book aimed at readers with ADHD. However, this book also offers practical tips and advice to a wider audience of readers. The wonderful book is aimed not only at children with ADHD but at children, parents, and educators. Merriam Sarcia Saunders' is a psychotherapist and ADHD-certified clinical services provider who works with families with ADHD experience with ADHD. The book includes a note to parents that includes practical advice on ADHD and helping your child.


The illustrations by Tammie Lyon, are both beautiful and powerful. Lyon's illustrations bring to life the wandering mind of the lead character, Sadie, in a way that complements Saunders' prose perfectly. By using line drawings illustrating what is in Sadies mind and superimposing this over what is actually happening in the story, children can see how two things may be going on at once. The illustrations effectively communicate Sadies struggles and her constant effort to keep her thoughts on track. The illustrations of this book are memorable and beautifully complement the story, making it an enjoyable and immersive reading experience.


"Brilliant Bea" by Shaina Rudolph and Mary Vukadinovich, illustrated by Fiona Lee

In this heartwarming and empowering tale, "Brilliant Bea", by Shaina Rudolph and Mary Vukadinovich, we see that having a learning difference, such as dyslexia, does not define who you are.

Bea struggles with reading and writing, but she has a natural talent for storytelling that shines through. With the help of a kind teacher, she discovers that using a tape recorder to speak her ideas and then play them back allows her to learn in a whole new way. By embracing this new approach, Bea can reveal her true self to her classmates and demonstrate her creativity and intelligence. The book is printed in EasyReading, a dyslexia-friendly font that makes it accessible and enjoyable for all readers.


Cover of picture book mindful bea and the worry tree. shows a young girl in a red dress holding a teddy and surrounded by vines. The book is for anxiety

"Mindful Bea and the Worry Tree" by Gail Silver, illustrated by Franziska Hollbacher

"Mindful Bea and the Worry Tree" is another excellent example of how valuable themes can be presented in fun and engaging ways accessible to children. This is an excellent tool for those dealing with anxiety, offering a range of mindfulness techniques to manage stress and anxiety. The book follows the story of Bea, whose anxiety is taking over her like a Willow tree. The book creates a relatable and enjoyable visualization for young readers.


"You'll Find Me" by Amanda Rogers Rawson Hill, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Grief is an experience that can be challenging at any age. However, the use of empathetic literature allows people to approach grief in a more wholesome and tangible way. "You'll Find Me" is a touching children's book that explores the experience of grief. The story is told through poetic verse, reminding children that although a loved one may not be there in person, they are still there in mind and spirit. Children who may be struggling with grief or loss can find the book a helpful tool for managing their emotions. A study by the Paediatric Journal of Nursing found books beneficial for children in processing grief.

Picture books have the power to act as a bridge between a child’s own life and the world of their imagination. Through images, stories, and metaphors they can help children express emotions and address difficult topics. For example, picture books can be used to help children with challenges such as bereavement, bullying, physical health issues, and behavioural problems. They can also provide comfort during times of stress or transition. Picture books can be a valuable tool for parents, teachers and healthcare professionals to help children understand complex topics such as death or disability in an accessible way.

Are you looking for more? We have created additional book lists on each of these topics. 

Here are some children's picture books that promote understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity:


  1. "All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism" by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer
  2. Remarkable Remy by Melanie Heyworth and Nathaniel Eckstrom
  3. "We're All Wonders" by R.J. Palacio
  4. "The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr Temple Grandin" by Julia Finley Mosca
  5. "My Brother Charlie" by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
  6. "Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You" by Sonia Sotomayor
  7. "Ellie Bean: The Drama Queen" by Jennie Harding
  8. "Why Johnny Doesn't Flap: NT is OK!" by Clay Morton and Gail Morton
  9. “My Brain is a Race Car” by Nell Harris
  10. “Some Brains” by Nelly Thomas


Here are some popular children's picture books that address learning difficulties:


  1. "Thank You, Mr. Falker" by Patricia Polacco
  2. "The Alphabet War: A Story about Dyslexia" by Diane Burton Robb and Gail Piazza
  3. "It's Called Dyslexia" by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos and Marta Fabrega
  4. "I Can't Do That, YET: Growth Mindset" by Esther Pia Cordova
  5. "A Boy and a Jaguar" by Alan Rabinowitz


Here are some children's books about anxiety and grief:


  1. "What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety" by Dawn Huebner
  2. "Wilma Jean the Worry Machine" by Julia Cook
  3. "The Invisible String" by Patrice Karst
  4. "The Little Book of Loss and Grief: You can read while you cry" by Liz Crowe
  5. "I Miss You: A First Look at Death" by Pat Thomas
  6. "The Goodbye Book" by Todd Parr
  7. "Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children" by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
  8. "When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death" by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
  9. "The Memory Tree" by Britta Teckentrup
  10. "The Heart and the Bottle" by Oliver Jeffers
  11. “The Tiny Star” by Mem Fox
  12. “Happy Hearts” by Jevita Nilson
  13. “Waiting for Wolf” by Sandra Dieckmann 
  14. “The Sour Cherry Tree” by Naseem Hrab and Nahid Kazemi
  15. Finn’s Feather by Rachel Noble
  16. Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley

Hope this has helped. Are there any books you would add to the list? please put them in the comments below. 


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