13 Children's Books about Addiction and Recovery

Kelsey Ferrara
A stack of children's books

For more than 50 years, International Children’s Book Day has been celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books. This year, we gathered some of the top addiction and recovery books that are specifically designed for children.

Addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of people worldwide, and it can be especially difficult for young children to understand this disease. However, through the power of storytelling, children’s books can help introduce these topics in an age-appropriate manner. 

Below, you’ll find 12 books that teach young children about addiction, recovery, and treatment. Each book offers a unique perspective on these important topics and they can serve as a valuable resource for parents, teachers, and caregivers. 

Whether you are looking for a book to read with your child or for a classroom activity, these books are sure to engage young minds and encourage empathy and understanding: 

Books for Ages 3-5

I Want More ― How to Know When I've Had Enough (2020)

By Dagmar Geisler 
This picture book gives caregivers the chance to speak with kids about setting limits and developing their own internal feelings for when something is no longer fun or healthy. It teaches young children how to listen to their bodies and minds to determine when they are satisfied and content. With colorful illustrations and simple language, it encourages young readers to develop a healthy relationship with food, toys, and more. 

Where Did Mommy Go? (2020)

By Kandace Marugg 
Written by a licensed counselor to help young kids understand why a parent has to go away for a while to a treatment center to "get better." This book follows a young child as they navigate the emotions and questions that arise when a parent is absent. It also offers helpful resources and coping strategies for parents and caregivers to support their children during this challenging time.

Timbi Talks about Addiction (2020)

By Trish Healy Luna & Janet Healy Hellier
This superbly illustrated book is designed to help children cope with a parent’s SUD by learning that addiction is a disease, it is not their fault, and their emotions are valid. This children’s book aims to provide a safe space for kids to discuss addiction and its effects. It provides age-appropriate explanations of addiction, and the potential consequences of substance abuse. 

Books for Ages 6-8

Jumper (2022)

By Shelley Call Flake 
This is a tenderly-told story about an issue facing countless families. This book follows the story of a young horse who becomes addicted to a toxic plant. From fear and loss to healing and hope, this book portrays the complexities of addiction, abandonment, trauma, and healing. 

A Sickness You Can’t See (2019)

By Laura Washington
Based on the true story of three children who love someone with an addiction, this book helps kids understand why the disease sometimes takes the person they love away. It also helps parents broach the subject of addiction with young children. This book provides comfort to children and helps them feel less alone. 

Zeeko (2019)

By Nita Brady 
The poignant tale of a sweet bunny who goes down a risky path, which leads him to a forbidden garden. This book is a good introduction for young children to understand the dangers of drugs and their negative consequences. It also can be an important tool for parents or grandparents who want to open up a conversation about addiction. 

My Brother Is Not A Monster: A Story of Addiction and Recovery

By Lee S. Varon and illustrated by Alisha Monnin
This book is for children and their parents/caregivers, as well as any adult working to support a young person with a family member dealing with substance use disorder. It brings to life the story of a young girl, Sophia, whose older brother, Joey, is using drugs. The book includes tips for parents and children, as well as resources. 

Books for Ages 9-12

High (2019)

By David Sheff & Nic Sheff 
This book draws on the experiences of the NY Times bestselling father/son team to provide teens and tweens need to know facts about drugs, alcohol, and addiction. This book tells it as it is–with testimonials from peers who have been there and families who have lived through addiction. 

Louis Undercover (2017)

By Fanny Britt 
This graphic novel provides an illustrated portrayal of just how complex family relationships can be when addiction's involved. Louis Undercover tells the story of Louis, a young boy who is navigating a relationship with a parent who is an alcoholic. 

Moon Pie (2011)

By Simon Mason 
Moon Pie is a Poignant story of 11-year-old Martha who is doing her best to take care of her family. As her Dad's problems grow, Martha finally realizes it's not all up to her and reaches out for help.

Books for Ages 12+

Buzz to Buzzkill (2022)

By Annie Grace | Order on Amazon
With storytelling and fun illustrations, this relatable book explains basic facts so you can help kids understand what happens to the brain when people drink. This book strives to answer the tough questions and kids and young adults have about addiction. 

What’s the Big Deal About Addictions? (2021)

By James J. Crist, P.h.D. | Order on Amazon
Written by a psychologist and certified substance abuse counselor, this book speaks directly to teens about real-life struggles with casual use and addictions. This book was written to help teens make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing. 

Invisible Girl (2015)

By Mariel Hemingway | Order on Amazon
This book is written as the diary of a teen surrounded by a family who is struggling with addiction. Offers real life insight and coping strategies for young readers. In this compelling story, Mariel Hemingway writes as her teen self to share her pain, heartache, and coping strategies with young readers. 

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