Books that acknowledge or explore mental health issues can help to increase awareness, encourage dialogue, reduce stigma and develop real understanding.
The following suggestions offer a spectrum of different perspectives and are well worth seeking out.
This book has been designed to help young readers of up to five years talk about, and unpack, their feelings.
One day Color Monster wakes up confused: he feels angry, happy, calm and scared all at once. As he learns to define his emotions, he gains peace and with that comes understanding.
Have you got a child who’s a bit of a worrier? This sweetly illustrated book by Tom Percival follows the story of Ruby, who has a worry which grows and grows – we know the feeling!
How can she let go of it? The resolution is optimistic but realistic, and hopefully this read will enable your child to open up about any anxieties as you look at it together.
Author Molly Potter taught in a primary school for 11 years, and this book has been designed to help open up conversations about mental wellbeing with children.
It explores the ways that kids can keep their minds healthy, exploring topics such as positive self-image, emotional intelligence, relationships and mindfulness. It could prove a great foundation for some positive habits.
This self-help book for older kids, aged 12 and above, was written by a teacher turned psychotherapist, and has been designed to help teens understand the neuroscience of their brain.
“It’s a book to help you to be happy with who you truly are, now and in the future,” says Sharie Coombes.
If you think your child would benefit from writing their thoughts and feelings down rather than speaking aloud, this journal, designed for six- to 12-year-olds, will give them the opportunity to share their emotions, but also to be more positive, note down achievements and write and doodle as they want to.
You can take five minutes to go through it with them each day (or perhaps they might want to do it with a sibling) or leave them to it, and try and ask them later about what they’ve written down.
On the surface, it’s a sweet boy-wants-pet story. Bixby’s (aka Bat’s) mum is a veterinarian, and she brings home a baby skunk that he desperately wants to keep. But readers with autism may relate to chatter about itchy and uncomfortable clothes, sticking with routines, and only having friends who are grown-ups.
This sweet story prepares kids for how short-lived teasing can be. On the first day of school, Victoria picks on Chrysanthemum because she has the same name as a flower, and Chrysanthemum wilts under the ridicule. Then the students learn that a teacher has a similar name, and all of a sudden Chrysanthemum is cool.
This bestselling picture book introduces little ones to the concept of an invisible link between people, even when they’re separated. In the story, a mum explains to her children that there is a “very special string made of love” that connects them to everyone they love. “When you’re at school and you miss me, your love travels all the way along the string until I feel a tug on my heart,” Karst writes. The story continues with explaining how far the string reaches — to a submarine captain in the ocean, a dancer in France, and even to a beloved relative in heaven.
There a so many books that can support you and your child through all sorts of things.