8 Books To Help Teens Cope With Difficult Times by...

Photo by Matias North

As adults, we tend to forget what it was like to struggle with life as a teen. Instead, we reflect on our teens as a nostalgic era full of youthful shenanigans and endless dreams. And we sometimes forget how confusing it was to be that young and have to deal with the uncertainties of life. 


Life’s habit of throwing curve balls affects both the old and the young. While adults may have the proper tools and the emotional and mental maturity to deal with most of what life throws their way, children and teens do not have that just yet. In many ways, they look to adults as examples of how to deal with life’s problems. Apart from observing how adults react in difficult situations, many books also talk about how teens can cope in difficult times. This is called bibliotherapy, which effectively reduces anxiety and depression in children and teens. 

Books to help teens cope in difficult times

Many things happen in life that makes things more difficult. Changes, losses, and other unfortunate situations happen and leave teens hurt, confused, and struggling to deal.


Books with characters going through the same things as a teen struggling become relatable, making readers feel less alone. And if the characters get past their difficulties, young readers can also believe they can make it through.


Below are some books for different challenging situations teens may need help coping with. 

Books for dealing with incarcerated loved ones

When a loved one goes to jail, it doesn’t just affect the person convicted. It affects their families, as well – especially their children. 

Teen Guide to Living with Incarcerated Parents: A Self-help Book for Coping During an Age of Mass Incarceration by Anyé Young


This book talks about Anyé Young’s life and how she coped when her father was sentenced to 12 years in prison. She talks about how she managed in a single-parent home while her father was incarcerated.

What Will Happen to Me? by Howard Zehr


This book contains portraits of 30 children whose parents are incarcerated. It also includes their thoughts about their situation and what they want the world to know about their parents. 

Books for dealing with loss

When teens lose people, they tend to either act out or fall into a depression or pretend to be okay while falling apart on the inside. Losing a loved one is difficult at any age. Still, it is even more challenging when you are a teen dealing with all the confusion of an ever-changing body and suffering a loss. 

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


Theodore Finch and Violet Markey develop an unlikely friendship as they both deal with their own loss, Violet with her sister’s death, and Theodore with having an abusive father who left his family and an undiagnosed bipolar disorder. They are each other’s anchors amid all the struggles they both face. 

Fire in My Heart, Ice in My Veins by Enid Traisman


This is a grief journal for teens where they can write their thoughts, lyrics to songs that remind them of their departed loved ones, write poems or verses dedicated to them. This journal will help teens process their grief. 


Books about stress and anxiety

Teenagers now are dealing with more stress and are exhibiting more signs of anxiety than teens from previous generations. Whether this is because of social media, the quickly changing societal weather, or the ever-present pressure that teenagers are subjected to, they need ways to help them cope with all their stress and anxiety. 

One Year Wiser: An Illustrated Guide to Mindfulness by Mike Medaglia


Mindfulness is awareness of ourselves in each moment, our thoughts, feelings, and our surroundings. And at the same time, it is also accepting and acknowledging everything we feel. This book explores how mindfulness and self-discovery can help someone transform fear and anxiety by using the tools that they already have within themselves. 

Don’t Let Emotions Run Your Life for Teens by Sheri Van Dijk, MSW


This book discusses mindfulness, managing and regulating emotions, stress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. This is perfect for teens seeking help managing their emotions and stress. 

My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic by Michael A, Tompkins, Ph. D., Katherine A. Martinez, Psy. D. Illustrated by Michael Sloan


This book teaches teens strategies to help them control their anxiety. This included breathing techniques, nutrition guides, panic attacks, medication, and more. 

I Want More Pizza: Real World Money Skills for High School, College, and Beyond by Steve Burkholder

This book, written specifically for young adults, demonstrates the importance of budgeting and that personal finance does not require a lot of time.  It contains a plethora of real-world examples and provides teens with options. When teens are given the idea that they can have control over their finances, this, in turn, relieves them of the stress from the financial aspect of their life.   


There are many books designed and written to help teens during difficult times. However, along with reading helpful literature, teens still need support from their parents and families. Both bibliotherapy and parental and familial support, along with a solid and supportive friend group, can help teenagers overcome whatever difficulties may come.