Riley's Really Big Worries teaches kids emotional intelligence

New Book Helps Children Navigate Anxiety and Illness- Riley's Really BIG Worries

“Riley’s Really Big Worries is a gift, reminding us that nurturing responsive relationships supports children’s capacities to express emotions, manage difficult feelings, and develop confidence.”

—Anat Weisenfreund, MS, IMH-E®  /  President of Massachusetts Association for Infant Mental Health and Director of Head Start & Early Learning Programs at Community Action Pioneer Valley


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A Children's Book About Anxiety and Germs

In Riley's Really Big Worries, an ECSELent Adventures story, Riley's best friend, Milo, sneezes and sprays germs all over him! Riley has many worries, and icky germs are now at the top of his list. But are all germs bad? And do our worries need to take control of our thinking, feelings, and behavior? Learn, grow, and develop alongside Riley and friends as they begin to share their feelings and discover ways to become the boss of their worries.

Riley and his classmates (characters in Housman Institute's ECSELent Adventures program) invite children to join them in understanding that everyone has worries—big or small—and that by sharing them, they can begin to find solutions to their worry problems. Along the way, they learn what germs are and how each person can help keep germs—and worries!-from spreading.

Riley's Worry



emotions first

Emotional Focus

All our books focus on emotions first! Feelings like anxiety can feel overwhelming for little bodies. Kids need opportunities to talk and brainstorm strategies for dealing with big emotions before they happen. Reading this book before big anxiety-filled events-- first day of school, a performance, meeting someone new, a trip to the doctor, flying on the plane, etc... can help kids think of an action plan, practice, and build confidence!

Expert Created

Curated by Experts

This pedologically sound book was created by expert early childhood educators, and child psychologist Dr. Donna Housman. Therefore the tips used inside were refined over 35 years to fit the developmental needs of diverse groups of young children. Caregivers and educators alike can see examples of how to use tested techniques and strategies to help develop emotional regulation strategies with young children.

Relatable Situations and Characters

Relatable Situations

One of the charms of the ECSELent Adventures book series is the relatable situations and characters. Fall in love, laugh, and befriend the cuddly characters. Children will love pointing out the characters and scenes that resonate most with them as they reread this story, over and over.


Dr. Donna Housman has spent her professional career in the world of early childhood development and education. Believing that it is far easier to prevent than repair, Dr. Housman founded Housman Institute, along with its lab school and early childhood development center, based on emotional foundations of learning and cognition and informed by research in neuroscience, child development, and early education. Seizing the opportunity to inform the architecture of the brain in the earliest years, her Emotional, Cognitive, and Social Early Learning (ECSEL) approach promotes healthy brain development and a positive sense of self by fostering the building blocks of emotional intelligence starting from birth.

Dr. Housman has trained thousands of early childhood educators, children, and families in her ECSEL approach while being a consistent source of vital counsel and guidance for families and educators on young children’s social and emotional development.

Dr. Donna Housman with Hemmy and Shemmy

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“Riley's Really BIG Worries” is now released! Get your copy today.

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