All posts tagged OCD Characters in Children’s and Young Adult books

OCD Characters in Children's and Young Adult books

OCD Characters in Children’s and Young Adult Books

My son has had a series of tics since he was little from squeeky sounds, to a Tiger Woods arm pump, to an extra hop in his step. There was also a throat clearing noise and excessive eye blinking. He generally would move from one tic to the next one in smooth succession.

When he had a severe concussion this past year, his neurologist said that he had Tourette’s Syndrome. His psychologist — very helpful for concussion because it can cause depression and anxiety — said that my son would have to have three tics simultaneously for it to be Tourette’s so he was deemed with just having a tic.

We actually think his tics are cute and it never worried us like his concussion does. We also figured he would outgrown it, which may very well be the case according this therapist.

This is what I learned about tics, Tourette Syndrome, and OCD:

Tics, Tourette Syndrome, and OCD

Tics are rapid, repetitive movements or vocal utterances. They may be motor (like excessive eye blinking) or vocal (such as a habitual cough or chronic repetitive throat clearing noises), chronic (continuing throughout childhood), or transient (lasting less than 1–2 years). In children who eventually develop tic disorders and ADHD, the ADHD usually develops 2 to 3 years before the tics.

Tourette syndrome, which is quite rare, is a more severe form of tic disorder involving motor and vocal tics that occur many times per day. The average age at which it appears is 7 years. While children with Tourette syndrome may develop ADHD, the 2 disorders are separate and independent conditions. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is not a variant of Tourette syndrome, and Tourette syndrome is not just a variety of ADHD. Research has shown that chronic tic disorders, Tourette syndrome, and OCD may stem from some common factors, and a child with any of these conditions is quite likely to also have ADHD.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves such symptoms as obsessive thoughts (such as a highly exaggerated fear of germs) and compulsive behaviors (for example, excessive hand-washing  in an attempt to reduce the fear of germs) that the child is unable to control or limit. In this sense, OCD is similar to tic disorders and Tourette syndrome, and creates additional functioning problems for children with ADHD. From


One out of a hundred children suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Research indicates that it is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. From Mr. Worry

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. from NIMH

I found that I was misinformed about OCD. Author Wesley King also helped to set me straight:

“Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD) is one of the most common but least understood mental illnesses in the world today. ‘I am so OCD’ has become a popular saying to describe someone who likes things clean and organized. But OCD is not liking things clean or organizing your socks. It’s a constant battle with your mind that can afflict every minute of every day.” OCDANIEL author note by Wesley King 

I hope these books with characters who suffer from OCD help us all to understand this mental health disease. I am going to keep this list updated as I find more books, and will also link back to book reviews from other bloggers. Thanks for your help in building this list!


OCD Characters in Children’s and Young Adult books

Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD by  Holly L. Niner, illustrated by Greg Swearingen 

This is a great picture book for anyone who wants to understand what it is like to be a child with OCD. It explains why they can’t help checking the same things over and over again. In this story, Dr. Fraser explains how his brain handles doubts and fears. She teaches him how to “hang up”–  the same as if you receive a wrong number phone call — on those doubts and fears using a combination of medicine and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). This is a comforting story to understand the battles that children with OCD face in their heads, and the strategies to overcome them. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

OCDaniel by Wesley King

Ms. Yingling Reads has a great review here which is how I discovered this book.

This is an almost autobiographical account of the author’s 8th grade when he hid his OCD from everyone. He used ritualized compulsions to try to control anxiety and panic attacks and had no idea what the cause was until he was 16. OCDANIEL deals with fitting in, a girl crush, and discovering the hero within himself. It’s an uplifting story of unlikely friendships. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

Read more…