With Children’s Mental Health Week just around the corner (5-9 February) we’re sharing our top 5 recommendations for children’s books that are perfect for exploring the topic in the classroom.
1. The Very Hungry Worry Monsters by Rosie Greening
This fantastic story book introduces us to the friendly Worry Monsters who are there to gobble up our worries. Led by resident Worry Monster Expert, Frettie Fluster, this humorous and gentle story explores common and daily worries faced by many children (and sometimes even the experts!) and is a perfect tool to begin normalising these feelings and spark age-appropriate conversations.
We love this book because it appeals to a wide age-range. Our own children, 5 and 8, return to this book time and again either for a giggle or when they might be feeling a little unsettled. We highly recommend this book for carpet time!
2. Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee Maclean
Follow the emotional journey of Piggy when things don’t quite go his way. What can he do when the anger and sadness seem overwhelming? Find a quiet spot, sit and breathe.
This is a book we’ve used time and again to introduce the concept of meditation in primary school classrooms. Simple and accessible, the children we’ve worked with really respond to the narrative and, if you’re a teacher who is new to meditation then this is a great tool to get you started!
3. 50 Ways to be Happy by Vanessa King
Geared towards KS2 children, this book is packed full of evidenced-based activities which bring to life the science of happiness (yes there is such a thing!).
Broken down into 10 key areas of happiness such as Resilience, Giving and Connecting, each chapter begins with an overview of the science behind the topic followed by engaging and creative ideas to try that are perfect practical activities for the classroom.
We love the combination of science and practical tasks!
4. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak
In our experience, children absolutely LOVE to learn about how their brain works and this is one of our go-to books to teach children about neuroscience and neuroplasticity in an age-appropriate way.
But what does this have to do with the topic of mental health? Of course, understanding how your brain can stretch and grow can extend to our emotional health. By instilling a growth mindset, we can help children learn that they can actively contribute to their own positive mental health and wellbeing.
5. It’s Ok Not to be Ok: A Guide to Wellbeing by Dr Tina Rae
Written for KS3 and above, this book explores common mental health disorders such as depression, eating disorders and anxiety. It explains why they happen and offers ways of looking after our mental health in our fast-moving world.
This positive guide to mental health for young people shines an important light on issues they might already be aware of or even experiencing by giving them the scientific facts and useful, non-judgemental ways of dealing with these situations. This is a great resource for teachers needing a way to broach these topics with their class.
We'd love to hear which books on mental health and wellbeing you like to use with your classes and why!