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Gifted Students and Stress Management: Our Favorite Books

Gifted Resources

Highly gifted students often can experience high levels of stress to excel at everything they are involved with. They tend to be especially perceptive in picking up on environmental cues, so they may be more sensitive to issues in the world and judgments from others. They also often feel overloaded and overwhelmed by information. Gifted students can be very hard on themselves as they strive for high standards. The ongoing pandemic of course is another source of stress.

*Below are some of our community’s favorite books related to the topic of stress management, listed in alphabetical order.

A Leader’s Guide to The Struggle to Be Strong

Designed for use with the anthology The Struggle to Be Strong, this leader’s guide explains how to use the stories in the student book to build teens’ resiliency. Activities, exercises, role plays, and questions about the issues in The Struggle to Be Strong help students go deeper into the stories, reflect on them, relate them to their lives, recognize their own potential for resilience, and start building resilience skills.
A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children
Four experts (Webb, Gore, Amend, DeVries) in the field of gifted and talented provide practical guidance in the areas of: Characteristics of gifted children; Peer relations; Sibling issues; Motivation & underachievement; Discipline issues; Intensity & stress; Depression & unhappiness; Educational planning; Parenting concerns; Finding professional help; and much, much more! Click here to read a review of this book.
Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children
Written by Bonnie Zucker, Psy.D., this book offers parents strategies that help children become happy and worry free, methods that relieve a child’s excessive anxieties and phobias, and tools for fostering interaction and family-oriented solutions. Using a unique companion approach that offers two books in one—a practical, reader-friendly book for parents and a fun workbook for kids—this solutions-oriented guide utilizes the cognitive-behavioral approach to therapy by integrating the parent in the child’s self-help process. The new edition offers two new chapters—one on sleep and one on how to best parent kids with anxiety. Click here to read a review of the 2008 edition of this book.
Breath by Breath: A Mindfulness Guide to Feeling Calm
Lenny and Rosa are having tough days, and it’s hard to stay calm. Fortunately, their friend Sam is there to help! By teaching them how to use breathing exercises and other mindfulness techniques, Sam helps Lenny and Rosa relax, cope with worries and challenges, and turn their days around.
Do Gifted Children Need Special Help?
In this 45 minute DVD video, James Webb, Ph.D. describes the traits, common behaviors and challenges for gifted children from preschool through adolescence. As they enter school, gifted children are often criticized for their characteristics. Dr. Webb discusses ways to help and nurture gifted children as they grow.
Fighting Invisible Tigers: A Stress Management Guide for Teens
Now in its fourth edition, the revised and updated edition teaches teens proven techniques and stress management skills to face the rigors of growing up. Packed with useful information on how stress affects physical and emotional health, readers will learn: smart approaches to handle decision-making; easy steps toward greater assertiveness; relaxation and mindfulness exercises to focus their minds; time management skills to avoid feeling pressured; how to avoid online drama; positive self-talk techniques; and more! Click here to read a review of an older edition of this book.
From Worrier to Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Fears
A companion guide to Make Your Worrier a Warrior (for parents), this book is designed to teach students how to conquer the Worry Monster by using several easy-to-follow strategies to overcome worry and fear. From Worrier to Warrior teaches readers how to create a “toolbox” of ways to combat fear and anxiety, and conquer the Worry Monster at any time.
Get Organized Without Losing It (Revised & Updated Edition)
In the quest for school success—not to mention a happy home life—kids have a lot to juggle: schoolwork, friends, activities, chores, bedrooms, electronics, lockers, and desks. This book provides friendly, entertaining help for kids who want to manage their tasks, time, and stuff—without going overboard or being totally obsessed. Empower kids to: conquer clutter; prioritize tasks; master their devices (not the other way around); supercharge study skills, handle homework, and prepare for tests; and, stop procrastinating and start enjoying less stress and more success. Tips, examples, lists, and steps make it doable; jokes and cartoons make it enjoyable.
Grit in the Classroom: Building Perseverance for Excellence in Today’s Students
The combination of sustained hard work and resiliency, grit is the difference between those who give up and those who don’t. This book assists educators in creating a learning environment that fosters grit development for all students, regardless of ability. Each chapter includes stories to illustrate the research and ideas presented and ends with discussion questions that can be used to continue the conversation. In an era of talent development and the pursuit of excellence, learners must be equipped with the perseverance that is essential to reaching high levels of success. This book provides a rationale for cultivating grit in the classroom with the goal of propelling this topic into discussions of building passion and talent in today’s students.
Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers
This award-winning practical source for parents and teachers discusses the unique social and emotional needs and concerns of gifted students. Includes chapters on motivation, discipline, peer relationships, sibling relationships, stress management, depression, and many other issues that parents and teachers encounter daily. See also A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children for an updated version of this book.
Healing the Heart: Helping Your Child Thrive After Trauma
This book: provides parents with specific tools to help their trauma-impacted children; combines the research on adverse childhood experiences and other traumatic events, positive psychology, and resilience; uses evidence-based strategies, inspirational stories, and role-playing scenarios; and, more. With specific strategies to address diverse forms of trauma and diverse populations, this book is a must-read resource for anyone wanting to reestablish safety, increase resilience, and help heal the long-term impact of trauma.
Homesick & Happy – How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow
In an age when it’s the rare child who walks to school on his own, the thought of sending your “little ones” off to sleep-away camp can be overwhelming-for you and for them. But parents’ first instinct-to shelter their offspring above all else-is actually depriving kids of the major developmental milestones that occur through letting them go-and watching them come back transformed. In Homesick and Happy, renowned child psychologist Michael Thompson, PhD, shares a strong argument for, and a vital guide to, this brief loosening of ties.
How to Take the ACHE Out of Mistakes
Making a mistake can leave anyone feeling sick in the stomach or thinking that the world is going to end. Learning how to cope with mistakes—and how to stop that “ache”—can be one of the hardest parts of growing up. How to Take the ACHE Out of Mistakes takes a closer look at the mistakes kids make—honest and intentional—and offers practical advice on how to bounce back. With a healthy dose of humor, readers learn that embarrassing moments aren’t forever and a sincere apology can go a long way.
Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning
Executive functions are the cognitive skills that help us manage our lives and be successful. Children with weak executive skills, despite their best intentions, often do their homework but forget to turn it in, wait until the last minute to start a project, lose things, or have a room that looks like a dump! The good news is that parents can do a lot to support and train their children to manage these frustrating and stressful weaknesses. Written by clinical psychologists Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel, this book emphasizes the need for a two-pronged approach to intervention: 1) helping the child to manage demands in the short run, and 2) building independent skills for long-term self-management.
Make Your Worrier a Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Child’s Fears
A companion guide to From Worrier to Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Fears, this book offers parents the opportunity to help their children or teens do the most courageous thing they will ever have to do: conquer their Worry Monster. Make Your Worrier a Warrior provides useful and comforting methods that parents can use to help their children create an anxiety-reducing “toolbox” to carry with them wherever they go. In building this foundation for their children, parents might even find that these strategies will work just as effectively to manage their own anxieties.
Managing the Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted: A Teacher’s Survival Guide
This book offers teachers numerous concrete, easy-to-use teaching strategies to help gifted students develop socially, emotionally, as well as intellectually. Topics include resolving conflicts at school and at home, managing stress, and handling feelings of “differentness.” Teachers will also find helpful guidelines in dealing with parents, administrators, and attitudes about gifted education.
Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids: Practical Ways To Create a Calm and Happy Home
In this book, Naomi Drew presents the same action plan for parents that she developed for the classroom. Hands-on examples and testimonials give the reader such techniques as: Active listening – five simple principles that foster understanding and self-esteem; Resolving conflicts – six steps for turning tears and frustration into win/win outcomes; and, An “on-the-spot” tool to reclaim calmness instantly.
People Smarts for Teens: Becoming Emotionally Intelligent
This book helps teens develop specific skills for learning about themsef, understand why peers act the way they do, strengthen ability to make friends, develop coping strategies and manage stress.
Put Your Worries Away
All children worry sometimes and need help learning how to deal with anxiety. In this picture book, readers find ways to help themselves when they feel anxious, nervous, or fearful. Strategies for how to cope with worries are accompanied by gentle illustrations. Additional activities and a note to adults are included at the back of the book.
Relationship, Responsibility, and Regulation: Trauma-Invested Practices for Fostering Resilient Learners
In this book, Kristin Van Marter Souers and Pete Hall take you to the next level of trauma-invested practice. To get there, they explain, educators need to build a “nest”—a positive learning environment shaped by three new Rs of education: relationship, responsibility, and regulation.
Shadow Syndromes
This book brings to light a theory on life-limiting behaviors and tools for changing them. The book is about mild forms of major mental disorders that sabotage our life, including chronic sadness, obsessiveness, and acute anxiety. The authors incorporate information into chapters, such as The Noisy Brain, The Hidden Epidemic and The Biology of being “Difficult”.
Sleep Easy: Mindfulness Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Twins Billy and Betty are having trouble sleeping. Billy’s mind is noisy, constantly chattering, keeping him awake. Betty finds that as soon as her eyes close she starts to worry about what will happen the next day at school. But the twins learn how to have a restful night by using mindfulness techniques to help them sleep tight.
Sticks and Stones: Seven Ways Your Child Can Deal with Teasing, Conflict, and Other Hard Times – Tools for Navigating Parenthood
Scott Cooper helps parents teach kids how to speak up for themselves more assertively, gently, and effectively. Each chapter, based on the characteristics of a particular bird, uses a wealth of examples and imaginative exercises to give kids the confidence to speak truth to power.
Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves!
Stress can make you feel anxious, awful, and afraid. It can leave you jumpy and jittery, upset and uptight. When kids show signs of stress, they need stress management tools that work. With jokes, fun illustrations, and plenty of authentic examples, this book helps kids understand what stress is—and gives tons of tips to cope. Refreshed to address modern stressors like electronic devices and social media, this updated classic helps kids deal with stress like a seasoned panic mechanic.
Stressed Out!: Solutions to Help Your Child Manage and Overcome Stress
This is an easy-to-read guide for parents to help their children understand stress, its effects on kids’ day-to-day lives, and how to handle it. The book suggests stress management solutions that can be implemented by even the busiest parents and kids, focusing on a variety of common stressful situations that are grouped according to three categories—school, family, or environmental.
Take Charge of Anger
Everyone gets angry, including kids. But anger can feel overwhelming and hard to control. In this picture book, readers find ways to manage their emotions and feel calmer. Strategies for cooling down and coping with anger are paired with friendly illustrations.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Written by Sean Covery for ages 13 and up, this book, which is based on his father’s bestselling “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, applies the same principles to teens. To keep it fun, Covey filled this book with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world.
The Courage to Be Yourself: True Stories by Teens About Cliques, Conflicts, and Overcoming Peer Pressure
Cassandra is hassled by her friends for sitting with the “wrong” kids at lunch. Jennifer gets harassed because she’s overweight. Dwan’s own family taunts her for not being “black enough.” Yen is teased for being Chinese; Jamel for not smoking marijuana. Yet all find the strength to face their conflicts and the courage to be themselves. In 26 first-person stories, real teens write about their lives with searing honesty. They will inspire young readers to reflect on their own lives, work through their problems, and learn who they really are.
The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience
Written by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, this book offers parents and teachers the tools to teach children of all ages life skills that transform helplessness into mastery and bolster self-esteem. Learning optimism not only reduces the risk of depression but also boosts performance in school, improved health, and provides children with the self-reliance they need as they approach adolescence and adulthood.
The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
A practicing psychologist in Marin County, Calif., Madeline Levine counsels troubled teens from affluent families, and finds it paradoxical that wealth, which can open the door to travel and other enriching opportunities, can produce such depressed, anxious, angry and bored teenagers.
The Sensory Child Gets Organized: Proven Systems for Rigid, Anxious, or Distracted Kids
In this book by Carolyn Dalgliesh, the author helps parents with understanding what makes sensory children tick; how to create harmonious spaces through sensory organizing; how to use structure and routines to connect with children; preparing a child for social and school experiences; and, make travel a successful and fun-filled journey.
The Struggle to Be Strong
The teens who relate their stories in this book have had more than their share of troubles, but they also have the resiliency needed to move forward. In thirty first-person narratives, teen writers tell about overcoming obstacles in their lives, including new stories about social media and gender identity.
What Do You Really Want?: How to Set a Goal and Go for It! A Guide for Teens
Why do some people accomplish so much more than others? It’s not because they’re smarter or more talented. It’s because they know how to set and reach goals. Research shows that effective goal setters have less stress and anxiety, concentrate better, and are more satisfied with their lives. For teens, goal setting is linked to improved school performance, motivation, self-confidence, and self-esteem. What Do You Really Want? is a step-by-step guide to goal setting, written especially for teens.
What Do You Think? A Kid’s Guide to Dealing with Daily Dilemmas
The purpose of this book is to prepare children to make decisions and resolve conflicts before the need arises. The basic premises of the book explains that children are responsible for their lives, can control their lives by making choices, better choices mean better lives, and you can learn to make wise choices. The dilemmas are real, everyday choices children must make.
When a Friend Dies
The death of a friend is a wrenching event for anyone at any age and can spark feelings that range from sadness to guilt to anxiety. Teenagers especially need help coping with grief and loss. This sensitive book answers questions grieving teens often have and addresses the complicated emotions that can accompany the death of an acquaintance, as opposed to a close friend. The advice is gentle, non-preachy, and compassionate; recommended for parents and teachers of teens who have experienced a painful loss.
When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All The Answers: How to Meet Their Social and Emotional Needs
In this book, authors Jim Delisle and Judy Galbraith explain what giftedness means, how gifted kids are identified, and how we might improve the identification process. Then they take a close-up look at gifted kids from the inside out—their social and emotional needs. Topics include self-image and self-esteem, perfectionism, multipotential, depression, feelings of “differentness,” and stress. The authors suggest ways to help gifted underachievers and those who are bored in school, and ways to encourage healthy relationships with friends, family and other adults. Click here to read a review of this book (previous 2002 edition).
Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator?: An Explanation of Alzheimer’s Disease for Children
This book is a sensitive, light-hearted children’s story that seamlessly provides its young readers with a toolbox to help them overcome their fears and frustrations. It shares easy-to-understand explanations of what happens inside the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, how to cope with gradual memory loss, with a missed holiday, or even a missing Grandma! This 40-page fully illustrated children’s book is told from a second-grader’s perspective in her own style and vocabulary, but it lovingly shares real strategies, scientific insights and lessons of dignity from which adult caregivers may also benefit.
Why Smart Kids Worry: And What Parents Can Do to Help
In this book, author Allison Edwards guides readers through the mental and emotional process of where children’s fears come from and why they are so hard to move past. With years of experience as a therapist, Edwards provides answers to questions readers might have, and focuses on how to parent a child who is both smart and anxious.
Your Anxious Child: How Parents and Teachers Can Relieve Anxiety in Children
This book is for parents and teachers wanting to learn more about how to help their student(s) cope with anxiety. Filled with strategies, solid information, a four-step program, engaging activities and personal vignettes, this tome offers effective tools to help your child and/or student become a creative problem solver.

*Some links on this page go to and are affiliate links. While these books are available from many retailers, all links that go to help support the Davidson Institute’s mission and continuing work to support profoundly gifted students and their families.

Feel free to share your go-to resources in the comments below!


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