A few weeks ago, we did the first compilation of children’s books that encourage good mental health. This is Part 2 because, there are more! 🙂

As we mentioned before, it’s never too early for kids to start developing good thinking habits, have a sense of self-worth, and some might also need to learn how to process anxiety and grief. Storybooks give them a platform to explore these ideas, process big feelings, and understand themselves and their world a little more.⁠

These books are also for kids aged 5 and up. Links to Read Aloud Videos are also included so you can vet through before purchasing.

1. What Do You Love About You?

By Karen Lechelt

This fresh, stylish picture book with unique graphic art encourages everyone to be true to yourself and embrace what makes you different. There is a lot to love about each one of us.

Chipmunk loves his cheeks . . . They help him blow kisses.
Giraffe loves his neck . . . It helps him touch the stars.

Everyone has something that makes them unique, and there is a lot to love about each one of us! Debut creator Karen Lechelt’s unique art style brings these charming animals to life. We are all special in our own way. What do you love about you? [Source: Amazon.com]

Click here for Read Aloud Video

Why we love it: It’s an easy read with animal illustrations that captivate very young children (Which toddler doesn’t like showing off how much they know their animal names?). The concept is simple as well, pointing out wonderful features of each different creature. The key word is different. Hopefully, growing up with a favourite bedtime storybook like this will help kids remember that being different is normal and that means there is always something uniquely beautiful to love about yourself and each other.

 

2. What Are Feelings? (Lift-the-Flap First Questions and Answers)

by Katie Daynes

This thoughtful book explores happiness, sadness, anger, fear and worry in a friendly and approachable way for little children. Adorable animal characters experience different emotions, while flaps reveal the answers to important questions such as ‘Why don’t I feel happy all the time?’ and ‘How can I cheer up my friend?’

“A great book for discussing or explaining feelings to children. There are questions which will be good for asking the children what they think before the pull the flap to reveal the answer or advice. The questions are simple, illustrations are fun and colourful and represent each feeling in the book. Would be a good book for Reception or Year 1” – A Good Reads Review

Click here for Read Aloud Video

Why we love it: Explaining abstract concepts to very young children can be a little challenging. Perhaps they may know what the basic feelings are, having experienced it for themselves. This book has a whole array of feelings with really cool illustrations to introduce “new feelings” to a child so that he / she can learn to recognise and identify these different feelings in the moment. It helps them learn to better articulate how they feel using the right words. If anything – its like a shape and colour book of feelings!

 

3. The Lion Inside

By Rachel Bright

A bestselling story about confidence, self-esteem, and a shy little mouse who sets out on a journey to find his roar.

In a dry dusty place where the sand sparkled gold, stood a mighty flat rock, all craggy and old. And under that rock in a tinyful house, lived the littlest, quietest, meekest brown mouse. Fed up of being ignored by the other animals, Mouse wishes he could roar like Lion. But, as he discovers, even the biggest, bossiest people are scared sometimes … and even the smallest creatures can have the heart of a lion!

A modern classic, The Lion Inside has sold over 200,000 copies in the UK alone and been translated into over 30 languages worldwide.

“Rather than just reviewing the book myself, I asked the 5/6 year old children I read to for their feedback. Here follows a selection of their thoughts on this book:
-‘It’s good that the lion is friends at the end because it’s a happy ending’
-‘The best bit is that the mouse is brave and the lion is brave’
-‘It rhymes!’
-‘It tells you that you can be brave no matter how small you are’
-‘I would have preferred the house to be a different colour and the lion to be a leopard’ (you can’t please everyone)
In short, the book was a hit. I can fully recommend it for KS1 readers.” – A Good Reads Review

Click here for Read Aloud Video (with sound effects!)

Why we love it: It rhymes! Rhymes help retain memory (like songs do) so books like this which combine the use of rhyme, storytelling, great illustrations, colour, and characters that children can identify with… What’s not to love! This one isn’t so much about feelings or being self-aware when it comes to mental health, but the lessons throughout the book and also at the end of the book are pretty powerful. That is, to not let your fear get the better of you. Sometimes, you could be wrong. It’s a battle of the mind. Be prepared to read this one over and over again!

 

4. Unstoppable Me! 10 Ways to Soar Through Life

by Wayne W. Dyer, Kristina Tracy

Dr. Dyer teaches children how to hold on to the no-limit thinking he believes they were born with, rather than just trying to “fit in.” In doing so, they can learn to truly enjoy life and become unstoppable as they strive to attain their dreams.     The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment. Each point includes an example showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life. Similar to his other book, Incredible You! there are questions at the end of the book to help spark discussion and to further reinforce Wayne’s message.

[Source: Good Reads]

Click here for Read Aloud Video

Why we love it: This one is a great conversation starter with your kids. It’s porbably more suitable for primary school-aged children (7 – 10). The examples given in this book drive home a similar theme: That life is NOT perfect, and sometimes we will struggle, but we can pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. There are one or two lines that are a bit too simplistic (Eg. Chapter 9) – kids should read with parental guidance just to make sure they understand these ideas following your family values.

 

5. My Strong Mind: A Story About Developing Mental Health

By Niels Van Howe

Do you want to teach your children about Confidence, Resilience and a Growth Mindset? With My Strong Mind your children will be introduced to mental strength and learn about techniques to develop their own strong mind. The story is about Kate, a sporty and happy girl who uses her strong mind to tackle her daily challenges with a positive attitude.

[Source: Good Reads]

“The message of empowerment and mental strength is one that definitely needs to be out there – especially with young children.” A.J. Spedding, children’s book editor

“We used this with our child who was experiencing problems in school We saw some immediate impacts from reading it regularly and using the language present in the book.” An Amazon customer

Click here for Read Aloud Video (by a puppet!)

Why we love it: If “Unstoppable Me!” paints a real picture of life and its little challenging moments, this one goes into even more detail. It has a pretty straight forward story line, following the life of little Kate. Because the book describes different situations that a child might face on an ordinary day, it might give children something to recognise and identify with. The way the story is told can feel a little long-winded compared to other books, but still worth having on the children’s bookshelf at home. You never know who might benefit!

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Part1 and Part 2 list of recommended books relating to kids and mental health! Let us know what you (and your kids) think of these and if you have any other good books to recommend, we’re all ears!

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