As it’s World Mental Health Day today, I thought it would be good to highlight some of our resources, which can be used to encourage children to talk about mental health issues. To begin, let’s take a look at some picture books dealing with emotions/mental health which have been published in the past few years.
The Garden of Hope by Isabel Otter & Katie Rewse
Maya and her father are coming to terms with the fact that Maya’s mum is no longer around. As they struggle to deal with their loss, Maya’s father talks about how Maya’s mum used to plant seeds when she was worried about something. So, Maya follows this example and in doing so, she brings hope back into their lives.
Another picture book which can be compared to this one is Rabbityness by Jo Empson. In this story, a rabbit has disappeared and his friends are very sad. But rabbit has left them some things to remember him by, which they use to bring the light back into their lives.
In this story, Ed is really struggling with his very bad mood and as he sweeps up the autumn leaves, he leaves a trail of destruction around him. The story really shows how overwhelming emotions can be, but there is a really uplifting ending. An ideal story for discussing bad moods!
Willy decides to go to the park, but he is followed by a cloud, which gets bigger and bigger, and prevents him from having fun. This is a great picture book for introducing children to depression or anxiety. It also reminds me of another picture book Max and the Rainbow Rain Hat by Gus Clarke in which Max has a big black rain cloud over his head. He has quite a different solution to Willy and it makes for an interesting comparison.
Fergal is Fuming by Robert Starling
Fergal is a dragon with a bit of a temper, which causes him to get into all sorts of trouble. However, his mum steps in with some good advice for him that really saves the day. This is a great book for discussing anger or frustration with children.
Black Dog by Levi Pinfold
Aimed at older children, this story is about a black dog that comes to visit the Hope family. The story describes how the dog gets bigger every time a member of the family sees it, until the youngest member of the family finally confronts it. A great book for discussing fear with children.
Finally, if you are looking for picture books that deal specifically with depression, take a look at some of these:
- Not Today, Celeste! by Liza Stevens
- Small Things by Mel Tregonning
- The Red Tree by Shaun Tan
- Night Shift by Debi Gliori
- The Cloud by Hannah Cumming
- Black Dog by Pamela Allen
And for picture books dealing specifically with anxiety, take a look at some of these:
- Silly Billy by Anthony Browne
- Worries Go Away by Kes Gray & Lee Wildish
- The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside & Frank Rodgers
If you find a resource that you think would be useful for introducing children to the topic of mental health, do let us know.