We all need to take care of our mental wellbeing – and the earlier you start talking about mental wellness and the existence of complex emotions with your children, the better equipped they’ll be.
Even just being taught that it’s ok to speak about struggles is a crucial part of raising resilient children. On World Mental Health Day, here are some books which can help kickstart those vital conversations.
‘The Magical Wood’ by Mark Lemon
This is a story about loss, friendship and hope. When the strongest tree in the wood is blown over by gale-force winds, it falls to the floor and dies. The book is about how the tree family survives such tragedy and has been praised by families coping with grief.
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.
Buy it for £6.99
‘The Truth Pixie’ by Matt Haig
Matt Haig is best known for his candid account of living with depression and anxiety, and his experience of suicidal thoughts, in ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ – and now he’s brought out a self-help book (of sorts) for children who are struggling.
‘The Truth Pixie’ is a short rhyming story about accepting yourself and understanding the bad things that happen don’t define you forever. Read our interview with Haig here.
Buy it for £5.49
‘Scrambled Heads’ by Emily Palmer
This book explains mental health in a beautifully simple way – using eggs. Palmer decided to write the book after overhearing her dad describe her as appearing tough, but being a softy – just like an egg.
She explained: “It dawned on me that by using an egg, he so simply and effectively explained who I was, and from then on, the rest just came to.” Her book talks a lot about feelings and support networks.
One reviewer wrote on Amazon: “I like the way this book is written in simple, easy to understand language suitable to explain to kids of all ages about mental health issues.”
Buy it for £5.99
‘The Mystery Of The Colour Thief’ by Ewa Jozefkowicz
This book, which is popular among teenagers, is about a girl called Izzy who suffers badly with nightmares after an awful car accident which leaves her mum in a coma.
A shadowy thief steals all the colours from Izzy’s world leaving her feeling empty and hopeless. But a new neighbour brings light in a time of darkness. It’s a heartwarming story about families, friendships, school, nature, hope and self-confidence.
Buy it for £6.22.
‘The Unworry Book’ by Alice James
More of an exercise book than a story book, ‘The Unworry Book’ is filled with activities to help calm the mind, including making a mood grid and mindfulness activities such as colouring, doodling and mazes. The book has been written with the help of a psychologist, and there are links to websites for tips, advice and support too.
Buy it for £8.99
‘How Are You Feeling Today?’ by Molly Potter
This colourful book is a great way to kickstart conversations about feelings. Packed with fun, imaginative ways to help children understand and cope with a whole range of different emotions, the book also provides parents with the tools they need to help their child deal with those feelings.
One reviewer said: “This is such a positive book for children to understand and encourage them to express how they are feeling and to let them know that it is perfectly fine for them to be feeling the way they are. My 7-year-old daughter loves this book and reads it most days.”
Buy it for £10.99
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