Kids love to see themselves in the books they read. It’s comforting to know they’re not alone. Authors have become a significant force in bringing awareness of the mental challenges kids face. It’s not easy dealing with or understanding ADD, OCD and anxiety, but these books help bring about some clarity and hopefully empathy. Step in the shoes of these amazing characters.
Focused by Alyson Gerber
Clea wants to do well in school, but she struggles with the basics, like doing her homework, staying organized, getting places on time. The only things she is good at is Chess. When the school suggests she get tested for ADHD, she is dead set against it. She doesn’t want to be labeled.
Lights, Camera, Disaster by Erin M. Dionne
Hess has anxiety. She’s unorganized. She’s failing 8th grade. But she loves making movies. She and her two friends are planning to make a movie for the talent show, but if she doesn’t get her grades up, she won’t be allowed to participate.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos
Joey Pigza‘s life can’t get much crazier. His mom left when he was a baby, leaving him to be raised by his less than competent grandmother. Now she’s back, and Joey’s about to prove that raising a kid has its challenges. Joey has ADD and his teachers know one thing for sure. Wherever Joey is, there’s bound to be trouble.
Sidetracked by Diana Harmon Asher
Joseph’s ADD annoys everyone and he’s the target of the school bully. His resource teacher encourages him to join the Cross-Country team even though he is a slow runner and gets upset when the starting gun fires. Luckily he has his grandpa and teammate, Heather, to remind him to ‘Go for your personal best’ and ‘don’t give up.”
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
Matthew, has OCD and is a germ fanatic. He sits at his bedroom or office window and observes everything going on in his cul-de-sac. If he could have his way, he would never leave his house. After partially witnessing a toddler go missing from his neighbor’s yard, there’s a citywide search to find the boy.
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McNulty
When Lucy was struck by lightning at age 8, her damaged brain compensated by overstimulating her mathematical reasoning region. Along with that came a tendency toward OCD. Now Lucy is 12 and smart enough for college, but her nana insists that she pass middle school first. She keeps her math genius under wraps, but the OCD isn’t quite so easy when she carries cleansing wipes everywhere.
All the Things That Could Go Wrong by Stewart Foster
Alex has severe OCD about germs and he’s bullied relentlessly by a group at school. Dan is a bit of a problem kid, especially since his brother has been away at a juvenile detention center. He is one of Alex’s tormenters. Alex’s plan to avoid the bullies at all costs fails when his mother arranges for the boys to work on Dan’s raft building project together.
The Right Hook of Devin Velma by Jake Burt
Devin needs money. The quickest way to fame is through YouTube. He does a series of attention-getting videos which backfires when his best friend gets all the attention instead. The problem is that his friend has major social anxiety and freezes up when he’s confronted about anything.
Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla
Stanley has Sensory Processing Disorder and anxiety. His brother teases him relentlessly, an odd girl, Liberty, has moved in next door, and his best friend has dumped him as a partner for the Comic Trivia Quest. Liberty agrees to be his partner, but she has her own set of problems.