Coping Strategies for Children from Popular Children's Books

Posted by Bijal Shah on

In the enchanting world of children's literature, stories often do more than entertain; they teach. From the pages of beloved tales emerge valuable life lessons, imparted through endearing characters and captivating adventures. And these life lessons include game-changing coping strategies that are the cornerstones of children's bibliotherapy.

This article delves into the magical realm of popular children's books to discover the coping strategies embedded within the narratives. In the pages of these cherished tales, children and adults alike can find inspiration, resilience, and tools to navigate the complexities of life.

From unwavering courage to humour to expressing our emotions, these characters and their stories offer a treasure trove of coping strategies that can empower young readers to face the challenges and emotions of their own journeys.

Here are some examples of coping strategies inspired by timeless children's classics and their wise characters offering valuable wisdom for children and adults alike.

1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Coping Strategy - Acknowledging FeelingsLearn from Alexander that it's okay to have bad days and that acknowledging your feelings can be a coping strategy.

2. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

Coping Strategy - Positive Affirmations: "I think I can, I think I can" is a powerful example of using positive self-talk to overcome challenges.


3. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Coping Strategy - Responsibility: Peter's story teaches children about the consequences of not following rules and taking responsibility for their actions.


4. Matilda by Roald Dahl

Coping Strategy - Resilience and Courage: Matilda's courage and determination to stand up against unfairness can inspire children to face challenges with resilience.


5. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Coping Strategy - Comfort Objects: The book introduces the idea of a "kissing hand" as a comforting ritual to ease separation anxiety.


6. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

Coping Strategy - Humour: The book's humor and the pigeon's antics can help children learn to find humour in frustrating situations.


7. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Coping Strategy - Acceptance and Emotional Expression: The Velveteen Rabbit's journey toward becoming "real" emphasizes the importance of being genuine and expressing emotions.

These children's books can serve as both entertainment and sources of inspiration for coping with various life challenges. Reading and discussing these stories with children can help them learn important life lessons and coping strategies for dealing with adversity, emotions, and difficult situations. You might find the Children's Bibliotherapy Venn Diagram for helping a child make connections to the text and identifying coping strategies.

You might also find our book and/or online course on Bibliotherapy helpful too:


A big hello and thank you for reading. Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I offer bibliotherapy sessions and curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course).

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc).

There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish two books called Bibliotherapy: The Healing Power of Reading and The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines.

I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications.

If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at


Book Therapy is a participant in the Amazon EU, US and Canada Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, and

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