10 Best Books for Child Depression

At Washington Psychological Wellness, a psychotherapy center in Gaithersburg, MD, we get asked the question all the time. What are the best books for child depression? Well, we asked our mental health clinicians and put together this list of recommended readings!

Want more recommended mental health book options? Check out our Books We Love section to discover a list of hand-picked resources!

The Energy Bus for Kids

By Jon Gordon

Best Books For Child Depression 


An illustrated adaptation of the bestselling business fable, The Energy Bus, teaches children the benefits of staying positive

In this illustrated adaptation of the bestselling fable, The Energy Bus, author Jon Gordon shows children how to overcome negativity, bullies and everyday challenges to be their best. The Energy Bus For Kids is a story that will teach kids how to find their inner motivation and pass on that positive energy to others.

  • The Energy Bus For Kids presents five rules for the “Ride of Your Life”
  • Teaches kids how to fuel your ride with positive energy
  • Shares with kids how to love the people you share your journey with and how to enjoy the ride

Positive kids become positive adults. So get kids on the Energy Bus and infuse their lives with a newfound vision, attitude, and positivity.

The Very Cranky Bear

By Nick Bland

Best Books For Child Depression


Four animal friends cheer up a very cranky bear.

Nick Bland’s expressive, adorable illustrations complement delightful, rhyming, read-aloud text in this lesson about the importance of sharing with others. Moose, Lion, Zebra, and Sheep take shelter in a cave on a cold and rainy day, only to realize that a bear is there. The bear roars loudly and says that he is trying to sleep. Not understanding why the bear is so cranky, the other animals come up with ways to cheer up the bear. Moose finds antlers for him, Lion gives him a mane, and Zebra paints on stripes. Is there anything the four well-meaning friends can do to help the bear sleep?

When Sadness Is At Your Door

By Eva Eland

Best Books For Child Depression


A comforting primer in emotional literacy and mindfulness that suggests we approach the feeling of sadness as if it is our guest.

Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age! When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are–an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation.

In When Sadness Is at Your Door, Eva Eland brilliantly approaches this feeling as if it is a visitor. She gives it a shape and a face, and encourages the reader to give it a name, all of which helps to demystify it and distinguish it from ourselves. She suggests activities to do with it, like sitting quietly, drawing, and going outside for a walk. The beauty of this approach is in the respect the book has for the feeling, and the absence of a narrative that encourages the reader to “get over” it or indicates that it’s “bad,” both of which are anxiety-producing notions.

Simple illustrations that recall the classic style of Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon) invite readers to add their own impressions.

Eva Eland’s debut picture book is a great primer in mindfulness and emotional literacy, perfect for kids navigating these new feelings–and for adult readers tackling the feelings themselves!


By Julia Cook

Best Books For Child Depression


I’m a blueloon. I’m supposed to be a regular balloon,

but I’m just not having fun like the others.

I’m kinda dull, and I’m kinda flat.

My string is tied up in knots.

I have a case of the blues…that’s why I’m a blueloon.

I’ve felt like this for weeks!

Meet Blueloon a sad little balloon who is suffering from depression. With help from the wise rock, Blueloon learns what he can do to “bounce back” to being the way he used to be bright, round, and full with a very straight string!

Although clinical depression is often thought of as an adult disease, it can affect children, as well. Unfortunately, children may not have the maturity to understand what is happening to them, or they may feel powerless to change their situation, so they don’t speak up about what they are going through. It is up to adults to be on the lookout for signs of trouble, and recognize when a child needs help.

Finally! A book on depression that works for Blueloons of all ages!

Blueloon Activity & Idea Book

By Julia Cook

Best Books For Child Depression


The perfect companion to the Blueloon picture book.

Although clinical depression is often thought of as an adult disease, it can affect children, as well. Unfortunately, children may not have the maturity to understand what is happening to them, or they may feel powerless to change their situation, so they don’t speak up about what they are going through. It is up to adults to be on the lookout for signs of trouble and to recognize when a child needs help. This activity book offers processing tools and strategies to help children and parents cope with this difficult situation.

When I couldn’t Get Over It, I Learned to Start Acting Differently

By Bryan Smith

Best Books For Child Depression


It’s easy for kids to feel sad when bad things happen in their lives. This is especially true when boys and girls are bullied or picked on, or feel left out.

Kyle is a fourth-grader who sometimes feels blue and out of sorts. He’s not sure why, but he can never bounce back when he faces tough situations in school or at home. Some feelings of sadness are easy to get over, but others are really hard, and he can’t shake it off and just move on.

With the help of a kind teacher, Kyle learns how to recognize and manage his sadness by reframing his thinking and learning how to Start Acting Differently.

If Kyle can think about his anxiety and feeling of depression differently, he can develop the skills he needs to build positive relationships and deal with his feelings of sadness.

Written for kids ages 6 to 8 (Grades K-6), this book shows kids that feeling sad sometimes, is a normal part of life, and by using a few simple strategies, they can overcome and manage that sadness. Included are tips and suggestions for parents, teachers, therapists and counselors to use to teach kids how to manage sadness.

Please note: This book is intended to help kids realize and manage common situations that lead to feelings of depression (fighting with a friend, facing an overwhelming challenge, being bullied, etc.).

The Little Unicorn is Sad 

By Aurélie Chien Chow Chine

Best Books For Child Depression


A little unicorn’s rainbow-colored mane shifts to a single color when he’s feeling a particularly strong emotion. It seems like a storm comes over him when he’s sad, and his mane turns deep blue. But when he repeats a breathing exercise, the clouds clear and his rainbow returns–and if he ever feels sad again, he’ll know just what to do.

This distinctive series about coping with strong feelings integrates a breathing exercise into the story, making these books perfect for parents who are seeking practical tools for their children. With accessible, mainstream artwork and unicorn character appeal, each book focuses on just one emotion, allowing parents and children to dive deeper into individual moods. Little Unicorn is Shy will release at the same time.

Glad Monster, Sad Monster

By Ed Emberley & Anne Miranda

Best Books For Child Depression


Glad, sad, silly, mad – monsters have all kinds of different feelings! In this innovative die-cut book, featuring a snazzy foil cover, you’ll try on funny masks as you walk through the wide range of moods all little monsters (and kids!) experience.

Here’s a fun, interactive way to explore the many different ways we feel!

The Way I Feel

By Janan Cain

Best Books For Child Depression


Our most popular children’s book, now with 1.2 million copies in print. Praised by parents, who say it’s especially valuable when getting children to talk about the day’s triumphs and troubles, and by professionals, who use it in pediatric clinics and with the developmentally disabled and emotionally troubled. Janan Cain’s kids ooze anger and bounce with excitement as they teach the words for emotions. This award-winning, full-color book comes in two editions.

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book

By Rebecca E. Williams & Julie S. Kraft

Best Books For Child Depression


With unmitigated honesty, a touch of humor, and sensitive illustrations by Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen explores the experience of sadness in a way that resonates with us all.

Sometimes I’m sad and I don’t know why.
It’s just a cloud that comes along and covers me up.

Sad things happen to everyone, and sometimes people feel sad for no reason at all. What makes Michael Rosen sad is thinking about his son, Eddie, who died suddenly at the age of eighteen. In this book the author writes about his sadness, how it affects him, and some of the things he does to cope with it — like telling himself that everyone has sad stuff (not just him) and trying every day to do something he can be proud of. Expressively illustrated by the extraordinary Quentin Blake, this is a very personal story that speaks to everyone, from children to parents to grandparents, teachers to grief counselors. Whether or not you have known what it’s like to feel deeply sad, the truth of this book will surely touch you.

About Washington Psychological Wellness

At Washington Psychological Wellness, our therapists have extensive training, experience, and insights into treating childhood depression. Our therapists provide an integrative and holistic treatment approach to child depression, incorporating parents and family members in the therapeutic process, as needed.

Child depression therapy at Washington Psychological Wellness can include treatment modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, play therapy, art therapy, humanistic therapy, or crisis intervention therapy. As therapists for child depression and other disorders, the treatment team at Washington Psychological Wellness will find a way to help your child overcome depression and regain their quality of life and health.

Ready to seek child depression counseling?

Contact us now to schedule your complimentary 15-minute initial consultation.

Telehealth (online) therapy options are available.

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