The Complete List of Children's Books about Bad Events & Trauma

In this collection, I've gathered a diverse range of stories that navigate the complexities of difficult experiences, offering young readers an empathetic space to explore, process, and heal. These books provide a thoughtful and age-appropriate approach to fostering resilience and hope.

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447 reviews - 4.7 stars
Once I Was Very Very Scared

A little squirrel announces that he was once very, very, scared and finds out that he is not alone. Lots of little animals went through scary experiences, but they react in different ways. Turtle hides and gets a tummy ache, monkey clings, dog barks, and elephant doesn’t like to talk about it. They need help, and they get help from grown-ups who help them feel safe and learn ways to cope with difficult feelings. This story was written to help children and grown-ups understand how stress can affect children and ways to help them.

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317 reviews - 4.8 stars
Help Your Dragon Cope with Trauma: A Cute Children Story to Help Kids Understand and Overcome Traumatic Events. (My Dragon Books)

Having a pet dragon is so much fun!
e can sit, roll over, and play…
e can candle a birthday cake, lit a campfire, or so many other cool things…
ut what if your dragon experienced a traumatic event?
hat if he’s constantly having bad dreams about the terrible thing he experienced?
hat if he wasn’t able to rest well, and telling you his tummy hurts?
hat if he tried to run away but couldn’t escape from his thoughts of the awful thing that happened?
hat if he didn’t want to share with you or to talk about the terrible thing he saw?
hat if his broken heart can’t seem to heal, and you’re really concerned?
hat should you do?
ou help him talk about and understand the experience.
ou give him practical advice and activities to overcome his fear.
ou help him understand his feelings and you teach him that life goes on, and most of it is good, and so much, much more…
ut How?
et this book and learn how!
un, cute, and entertaining with beautiful illustrations WITHOUT being scary and specific about traumatic events, this is a must have book for children, parents and teachers to teach kids to understand and overcome traumatic events that they might experience.

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268 reviews - 4.6 stars
Healing Days: A Guide For Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma

2013 Gelett Burgess Children's Book Award: Mind, Body and Spirit
ealing Days is a sensitive and reassuring story intended for children who have experienced trauma and covers the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that many kids have after a bad and scary thing happens.
useful book to read with a parent or therapist, Healing Days emphasizes that children are not to blame for what happened, and that they can get help and look forward to a happy future. Kids will begin to understand their response to the trauma and learn some strategies for feeling safer, more relaxed, and more confident.
ids will begin to understand their response to the trauma and learn some strategies for feeling safer, more relaxed, and more confident.
ou can download an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers including a list of helpful resources from

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165 reviews - 4.8 stars
Trauma: Teaching kids all about trauma

Trauma: Teaching Kids all about Trauma is a wonderful book to help children. How trauma affects our thoughts, feelings and behavior are discussed to help children recognize and express how they might have, or might be, affected by stressful events in their lives. Ways of coping with trauma are suggested as well as the message that kids are survivors and can overcome things that might have been traumatic in their lives. The book includes vivid illustrations, keywords, simple explanations, open-ended questions as well as a fun “Can you spot it?” game throughout the book to keep children engaged and refocus if they become distracted or anxious due to the nature of the topic being discussed. Review questions, a word search as well as useful on-line resources are also provided.
OTE: This book contains real-life illustrations of traumatic events which could be triggering for children (and adults) who might have experienced a recent or unresolved trauma. It should be read with a responsible adult and is designed to educate and facilitate open discussions about trauma between children and counselors, therapists, social service staff, etc. as well as conscientious parents/caregivers.
LSO AVAILABLE IN SPANISH - Disponible en Español

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123 reviews - 4.7 stars
What's Inside Your Backpack?: Coping Skills For Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma (Your Magic Backpack)

All around us, children are carrying backpacks that are heavy with more than just textbooks. Each day, they also bear the weight of difficult life experiences and intense feelings.
oey Harmon just wants to feel light-hearted and carefree. Unfortunately, she keeps getting weighed down by pesky "books" in her backpack, like Worry and Shame. Much to her surprise, she's not the only one! Zoey learns that the adults in her life deal with difficult feelings too! Luckily, they have some ideas that can help her set aside the books she's not meant to carry. Will it be enough to help her unload the heaviest book of all?hile there are no quick fixes for all of life's complex problems, What's Inside Your Backpack? highlights some of the ways we can nurture resilience in body and mind. Using the metaphor of books and bookmarks, author Jessica Sinarski offers gentle, effective strategies to help children impacted by trauma. By sharing their burdens with people they trust, kids can lighten their load and realize just how strong and courageous they really are!

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91 reviews - 4.6 stars
Something Bad Happened: A Kid's Guide to Coping With Events in the News

When children learn about something bad that has happened - even when they hear only bits and pieces of it - their brains get busy trying to make sense of it.
"Something Bad Happened" guides children ages 6 to 12 and the adults who care about them through tough conversations about news of large-scale disasters, addressing questions such as: "Where did it happen?" "Why did it happen?" And, "Will it happen again?" Feelings such as sadness, fear and confusion are normalized, and coping tools provided.
For children and parents to read together, this helpful resource by child psychologist and best-selling author Dawn Huebner provides comfort, support and action plans for children learning about troubling world events.

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61 reviews - 4.8 stars
EMDR Workbook for Kids: A Collection of EMDR Handouts & Worksheets to Help Kids Process Trauma, Stress, Anger, Sadness & More

Help kids get unstuck from scary and traumatic thoughts, memories, and emotions.
hen Christine Mark-Griffin began working with young kids, she quickly realized that traditional therapy was often not enough to fully unravel the trauma and pain that these little ones were carrying. Inspired by her clients’ creativity and imagination, she set out to create a resource specifically designed for use with young clients. What started off as a few kid-friendly EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) worksheets has now evolved into an entire collection.
illed with colorful visuals, worksheets, and activities, the EMDR Workbook for Kids will allow you to playfully integrate EMDR therapy into your practice with elementary-aged children. Grounded in the core components of EMDR, the tools in this workbook can address a variety of common childhood concerns, including:
nxiety, worry, sadness, and anger
Parental divorce, separation, and conflict
Medical problems
Grief and loss
Nightmares and sleeping problems
And much more!

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16 reviews - 4.5 stars
Jayne's Story: A Children's Book About Understanding Neglect

Jayne and her brothers live in a foster home because of “neglect”. This book uses concrete examples to explain what neglect is and the impacts involved. The story explores Jayne’s feelings and how to manage feelings through coping skills. The story also helps her understand why neglect can occur. Told from Jayne’s perspective, this story provides a child-friendly explanation of the difficult to understand topic of neglect. This book will be a benefit to caregivers, caseworkers, therapists, and other helping professionals.

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1 reviews - 4.8 stars
A Terrible Thing Happened: A Story for Children Who Have Witnessed Violence or Trauma

A gently told and tenderly illustrated story for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire.
herman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better.
hildren who have witnessed violence or other traumatic incidents are at surprisingly greater risk for committing violence in the future than are children who have actually been involved in such events. The event might be a car accident, domestic or school violence, suicide, or a natural disaster such as a tornado, flood, or fire. Regardless of the type of incident, child witnesses often react by trying to forget or ignore the experience. When their feelings are pushed underground in this manner, these children may begin to feel bad in ways they don’t understand, and become angry as a result of feeling bad. It is this anger that can give way to violence.
aring adults can make all the difference by helping children talk about and understand the experience. An afterword by Sasha J. Mudlaff written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.