As part of Children's mental health week we have put together the top 5 books we think you should encourage your children to read to help them understand their emotional and mental health and help them to #findtheirbrave
The Magical Wood - 4-7 Years
"This is a story about friendship and hope. The Magical Wood is set in a beautiful wood with a river wandering through. One cold and stormy day, the wind blew a terrible gale. The next day the tree family woke to find that Strongest Tree had fallen to the woodland floor and had sadly died. How would the tree family survive the seasons without the strength of Strongest Tree? This book has been praised by parents and care givers that have had a loss in the family, helping children to understand grief and how to manage those emotions. This is a vital and valuable tool to have and to help children to understand that those emotions are normal and you should be able to talk about them freely. Mark Lemon’s own father was murdered when he was just 12 years old. He drew on this childhood trauma to write the book, which was published on the 26th anniversary of his father’s death.
The Truth Pixie - 5 - 7 Years
"A very funny and lovable tale of how one special pixie learned to love herself. The Truth Pixie is an enchanting, rhyming story that will delight younger readers" A lovely story about a Pixie who has to tell the truth, the story is meant to help children to understand that the bad things that happen wont define you forever, it is written by Matt Haig who wrote Reasons To Stay Alive, and he has said "it’s important for kids to be aware of mental health from a young age, but it doesn’t have to be in a “cold, clinical way”. What’s more important, he says, is that kids can learn self-acceptance and feel comfortable about their own experiences".
The Mystery of the Colour Thief - 10+ Years
"After a frightening car accident, Izzy's mum is in a coma. Her family is in pieces. Her best friend at school has dumped her. And her nightmares are haunted by a shadowy man stealing all the colours from her world. She's trying so hard to be brave, but Izzy thinks everything is her fault. Then she meets her new neighbour, Toby, paralysed after a skateboarding accident, Written with insight, compassion and empathy – an authentic story about real life and how to survive it." A book for a slightly older audience, being aimed at 8-13 year old's, is a fascinating and empathetic look into how young people deal with loss and trauma, this would be a great book for a family member or friend to read to get a better understanding of what might be going on in the heads of their loved one. written brilliantly by Ewa Jozefkowicz
My Many Coloured Days - 3-5 Years
'You'd be surprised how many ways I change on different coloured days. 'Maybe on some days you feel sort of brown, like a bear; you feel slow and low, low down. But then comes a yellow day and wheeeeeeeee! You feel like a busy, buzzy bee. Dr. Seuss takes the reader on a journey through many moods in this vibrant and highly original book, as one of the not as well known Dr. Seuss stories but one that can help younger children start to be able to describe their emotions using colour and simple language, it also helps to confirm that all these emotions will pass and you will still be you. A great read for children of all ages but mainly marketed towards younger children from reception to year one.
Mind Your Head - 13+ Years
We all have a mind, so we all need to take care of our mental health as much as we need to take care of our physical health. And the first step is being able to talk about our mental health. Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt. Covering topics from anxiety and depression to addiction, self-harm and personality disorders, Juno and Olivia talk clearly and supportively about a range of issues facing young people's mental health - whether fleeting or long-term - and how to manage them. With real-life stories from young people around the world and witty illustrations from Gemma Correll. This is a great book for teenagers and young adults, helping young people to understand mental health in a non-formal and humorous way, illustrated by Gemma Correll who is also well known for her witty take on mental health this book will engage a range of ages, and would also be helpful for siblings and friends of someone who is struggling with their mental health to give them a better understanding of what their friend/sibling might be going through.
We hope you are able to find something that could help someone you know or might even be helpful for you to read yourself, we have tried to cover a range of ages but if you have any books you think are great for helping children and adolescents learn about mental health and their emotions leave them in the comments!
This is a post which is part of #CMHW2020 which is trying to raise awareness for children's mental health, it has been organised by Place2B.
Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity working with pupils, families and staff in UK schools. We provide counselling and mental health support and training, using tried and tested methods backed by research.