Top 5 Children’s Books to Spark Conversation About Mental Health

recommended by Daisy Reynolds

With mental health concerns for children on the rise, it’s vital that parents, families and teachers can spot the signs of a child struggling and know the best ways to spark conversations to address any concerns or worries they may have. These five books are great to read with children to create an open and calm space where they feel comfortable to talk about their feelings and emotions.

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    Hank the Hungry Monster (The Mind Monsters)
    by Julie Derrick

    Hank the Hungry Monster is a sweet tale designed to introduce the topic of childhood OCD and help parents and teachers talk openly to children about it. Both a fun story, and an educational resource, it is the perfect book for those who might struggle to talk to children about mental health and how to battle it. The sequel, Trixie the Treat Monster continues the story and explains how rewards and children’s favourite things can help combat disruptive thoughts and behaviours.

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    The Princess and the Fog: A Story for Children with Depression
    by Lloyd Jones, Lloyd Jones, Melinda Edwards & Linda Bayliss

    As the title explains, this little book is all about childhood depression, how to look out for it and how it might present itself in children. Aimed at ages 5-7, it creatively explains what someone with depression might be feeling, and why they don't act 'like themselves' anymore, but then later they do. Both informative and entertaining, and including beautiful illustrations, it is a great way for families, or even teachers, to help children understand their feelings, the feelings of friends, or even parents who may suffer from poor mental health.

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    What If...
    by Samantha Berger & Mike Curato

    Written by two real-life best friends, What If… is the perfect book to inspire children to follow their dreams. Touching on the power and importance of self expression and spending time on your passions without worrying about what might prevent them, it is the perfect way to encourage discussions about being yourself and staying true to your interests. Beautifully illustrated and written in a lyrical text, it highlights why we all believe in imagination, art and pursuing what we love.

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    Daisy Finds Her Smile
    by Melanie Broughton & Sarah Alicia Smith

    Designed for children aged four to eight, Daisy Finds Her Smile is a book all about friendship, acceptance and treating everyone with kindness. Telling the story of one lonely duck who became much happier when she made new friends, it is an ideal way for families to spark conversations about bullying, mental health and the power of sharing a smile with others. It is a subtle and heart-warming story with unexpected depth, drawing on subjects from how to treat those with hidden disabilities kindly and why friendship is important for everyone.

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    RUBY'S WORRY
    by PERCIVAL TOM

    This book is all about dealing with worry and anxiety, however large or small they may be. An essential aid to any discussion about worrying, it helps illustrate to children how we can manage unhelpful thoughts and make sure that they don’t take over. Reading this book with children will encourage open discussion, create a safe space for them to share their concerns and help them understand that everyone worries, it's normal and they can be overcome.

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