Looking after your Mental Health.
We talk about our physical health – but not so much about how we’re feeling. With lots of practical advice, this lively, accessible guide explains why we have emotions, and what can influence them. Covering everything from friendships, social media and bullying to divorce, depression and eating disorders, this is an essential book for young people
The Huge Bag of Worries.
Age 2 – 5 years
Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her – in a big blue bag. They are with her all the time – at school, at home, when she is watching TV and even in the bathroom! Jenny decides they have to go, but who will help her get rid of them?
A funny and reassuring look at dealing with worries and anxiety, to be used as a spring board into important conversations with your child.
What to do when you worry too much.
Age 6 – 12 years
What to Do When You Worry Too Much is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioural techniques most often used in the treatment of generalized anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change. It includes a note to parents by psychologist and author Dawn Huebner, PhD
What to do when your brain gets stuck.
Age 6-12 years
This story guides children and their parents through the cognitive-behavioural techniques used to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Revealing OCD in a whole new light, this interactive self-help book turns kids into super-sleuths who can recognize OCD’s tricks. Engaging examples, activities, and step-by-step instructions help children master the skills needed to break free from the sticky thoughts and urges of OCD, and live happier lives. This is the complete resource for educating, motivating, and empowering children to work toward change.
What to Do When You Don’t Want to Be Apart: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Separation Anxiety
by Kristen Lavallee and, Silvia Schneider
Hot air balloon pilots have wonderful adventures, where they get to see things they have never seen before and learn all about the world outside. Flying a hot air balloon sounds like a lot of fun to some kids. But for other kids, the idea of flying off on their own, away from their parents or homes, doesn’t sound like fun at all. If you feel scared when you do something alone or away from your parents, this book is for you! The latest addition to the popular What-to-Do Guides for Kids series addresses separation anxiety, a common developmental phase. This workbook introduces kids and parents to cognitive-behavioural therapy-based strategies that can help them understand and cope with any type of separation anxiety. Like the other books in this series, it includes activities designed to change kids’ perspectives on being separated and includes an introduction for parents and caregivers about how to most successfully use the book.
Listening to my body.
This engaging and interactive book guides children through the practice of naming their feelings and the physical sensations that accompany them.
From wiggly and squirmy to rested and still, Listening to My Body helps children develop a sensations vocabulary so that they can express what they are experiencing.
Easy, kid-friendly mindfulness activities are woven throughout to reinforce the teachings.
Big emotions can be overwhelming! Help your child build on their capacity to engage more mindfully, self-regulate, and develop emotional resilience.
Listening to My Body is a wonderful tool for parents, counsellors and teachers! Free resources to accompany this book can be found at http://bit.ly/gabigarciabooks.
The colour monster.
One day, Color Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through color. As this adorable monster learns to sort and define his mixed up emotions, he gains self-awareness and peace as a result. Caregivers will enjoy sharing this concept book that taps into both socio-emotional growth and color concepts in a simple, friendly way.
The Invisible String.
Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they’re all connected by an invisible string. “That’s impossible!” the children insist, but still they want to know more: “What kind of string?” The answer is the simple truth that binds us all: An Invisible String made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love. Does everybody have an Invisible String? How far does it reach? Does it ever go away? This heart warming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us, and opens up deeper conversations about love.
Recommended and adopted by parenting blogs, bereavement support groups, hospice centres, foster care and social service agencies, military library services, church groups, and educators, The Invisible String offers a very simple approach to overcoming loneliness, separation, or loss with an imaginative twist that children easily understand and embrace, and delivers a particularly compelling message in today’s uncertain times. This special paperback edition includes includes vibrant new illustrations and an introduction from the author.
What’s going on inside my head.
We all know that healthy minds are really important but how do we make sure we look after our mental health from a very young age? What’s Going On Inside My Head? is a book for children that explores practical ways we can keep our minds in good shape as well as our bodies.
Starving the Anxiety Gremlin
Help children to understand and manage their anxiety with this engaging and imaginative workbook. The Anxiety Gremlin is a mischievous creature who loves to gobble up your anxious feelings! The more anxiety you feed him, the bigger and bigger he gets and the more and more anxious you feel! How can you stop this? Starve your Anxiety Gremlin of anxious thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and watch him shrink! Based on cognitive behavioural principles, this workbook uses fun and imaginative activities to teach children how to manage their anxiety by changing how they think and act getting rid of their Anxiety Gremlins for good! Bursting with stories, puzzles, quizzes, and colouring, drawing and writing games, this is a unique tool for parents or practitioners to use with children aged 5 to 9 years.
Starving the Anxiety Gremlin
Age 10 -16 years
The Anxiety Gremlin loves one thing – to feed on your anxiety! But watch out, as the fuller he gets, the more anxious you get! How can you stop him? Starve him of his favourite food – your anxiety – and he’ll shrink and shrivel away. Starving the Anxiety Gremlin is a unique resource to help young people understand different types of anxiety and how to manage them, including panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety, generalised anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Based on cognitive behavioural principles that link thoughts, feelings and behaviours, the techniques described help young people to understand why they get anxious and how they can ‘starve’ their anxiety gremlin in order to manage their anxiety. This engaging workbook uses fun activities and real life stories, and can be used by young people aged 10+ on their own or with a parent or practitioner. It is also an ideal anxiety management resource for those working with young people, including mental health practitioners, social workers, education sector staff and youth workers.
My Hidden Chimp
Prof Steve Peters
My Hidden Chimp is an effective and powerful new educational book that offers parents, teachers and carers some ideas and thoughts on how to help children to develop healthy habits for life. The science behind the habits is discussed in a practical way with exercises and activities to help children think the habits through and start putting them into practice. The neuroscience of the mind is simplified for children to understand and then use to their advantage.
Professor Steve Peters explains neuroscience in a straightforward and intuitive way – offering up 10 simple habits that we as adults and children should have in our arsenal to deal with everyday life.
Helping your child with Fears and Worries
Cathy Creswell & Lucy Willetts
Fears and worries are very common among children with around 15% thought to suffer from anxiety disorders; the most commonly identified emotional or behavioural problems among children. However, if left unchecked, they can cause more serious problems such as school avoidance, difficulties in making friends and long-term problems with anxiety and depression.
Written by two of the UK’s foremost experts on childhood anxiety, this extremely useful guide will enable you to understand what is causing your child’s worries and to carry out step-by-step practical strategies to help him or her to overcome them, including:
· Addressing specific fears and phobias as well as general anxiety and ‘worrying’
· Using case studies, worksheets and charts
Helping Your Child is a series for parents and caregivers to support children through developmental difficulties, both psychological and physical. Each guide uses clinically-proven techniques.
Think Good, Feel Good
This is a companion guide to Think Good Feel Good: A Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Workbook for Children and Young People. Designed for clinicians using the original workbook in their work with children, the book builds upon the workbook materials by offering guidance on all aspects of the therapeutic process and a range of case studies highlighting therapy in action. Topics covered include parent involvement, key cognitive distortions in children, formulations, challenging thoughts, guided discovery and the use of imagery. Also included is a chapter focusing on possible problems in therapy and strategies for overcoming them. To supplement the workbook, the clinician’s guide offers further materials and handouts for use in therapy, including psycho-educational materials for children and parents on common problems, such as depression, OCD, PTSD/Trauma and Anxiety
Age 8-12 years
Justin constantly feels worried and afraid to try new things until he realizes that a bully is living in his brain! He has the choice to allow his bully to continue to scare him, or finally stand up to it and face his fears. Written by a licensed clinical social worker and child therapist with over 15 years of experience supporting children with anxiety disorders, There’s a Bully In My Brain helps teach children to recognize warning signs and simple exercises they can use to overcome anxiety.
Starving the Exam Stress Gremlin
Age 10 – 16 years
Stressed out by exams? Then the exam stress gremlin is in town! Exam fears and worries are his favourite foods, and the more of these you feed him, the bigger he gets and the more stressed you become. But he can be stopped! Starve him of stress-related thoughts, feelings and behaviours and feel him and your stress fade away!
Part of the award-winning Starve the Gremlin series and full of engaging activities, this self-help workbook explains what exam stress is, how it develops and the impact it can have – providing the reader with an understanding of their own exam stress. Rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy, it is also bursting with strategies to help the reader manage their exam stress by changing how they think and act.
Overcoming your child’s shyness and social anxiety,
Lucy Willetts and Cathy Creswell
Many children are naturally shy but extreme shyness and social anxiety can become a major childhood problem, leading to avoidance of school, difficulty in making friends and even developing into social anxiety in adulthood.
In Overcoming Your Child’s Shyness and Social Anxiety, child psychologists Lucy Willetts and Cathy Creswell explain how parents can help a shy child learn to challenge their thoughts and behaviour patterns and learn to participate confidently in every aspect of their lives.
Based on clinically proven CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) principles, the book explains what causes shyness, how to identify social anxiety in your child (sometimes masked by anger or stubbornness) and how to gradually help your child face their anxieties and develop problem-solving strategies. This book is a must for parents, teachers and anyone working with children.
Books to support children with Bereavement
Age range 0-5
Robie H. Harris & illustrated by Jan Ormerod,
This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of a little boy who’s told that his pet mouse has died. At first he doesn’t believe it, thinking it is just asleep, but by asking lots of questions and with the help of his family he begins to accept Mousie’s death. This is a great story and would be very helpful to introduce death to young children and a starting point to discuss what happens after someone dies and the different feelings one may have.
I Miss You: A First Look at Death
Pat Thomas & illustrated by Lesley Harker, 2001
This bright and colourful picture book very simply talks about life and death. It briefly covers a range of issues such as why people die, how you may feel when someone dies and what happens afterwards. It includes questions for the reader to answer about their own experiences and a section at the back for adults on how to best use the book. An excellent educational book, which could be used as a starting point for discussion.
Age range 5-8
A Birthday Present for Daniel: A Child’s Story of Loss
Told by a young girl whose brother, Daniel, has died, she talks about how things have changed in the family. She also talks about the things she does when she is sad and how these differ from other members of her family. This book has small black and white pictures with minimal text but it conveys some important issues. It would be particularly useful to broach the subject of birthdays as it describes how the family remembered Daniel on his birthday.
Always and Forever
Otter, Mole and Hare miss Fox when he falls ill and dies. They stay at home and don’t want to talk about him because it makes them sadder. Then Squirrel visits and reminds them of all the fun times they had together. They all find a way to remember Fox and get on with their lives. Colourful, detailed pictures in this book emphasise the importance of holding on to memories.
Badger’s Parting Gifts
Badger is old and knows he is going to die soon. When he does, the other animals think they will be sad forever, but they begin to talk about the memories they have of the things Badger taught them and learn to cope with his death. A lovely picture book that emphasises the importance of remembering the person who has died.
Age range 9-12
Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between
Bryan Mellonie & Robert Ingpen,
A beautiful way to explain life and death to children.
This thought provoking book has large pictures complemented with small sections of text. It clearly explains about life and death focussing on plants, animals and insects before moving on to people. It emphasises that death is part of the life cycle and is natural and normal whenever it occurs. A simple book with a powerful message.
Death: What’s Happening?
Karen Bryant–Mole, 1994
This factual book has clear text and large photos. It uses stories of young people to discuss issues surrounding death such as feeling frightened, the funeral and the future. It includes advice on how to feel better and cope with difficult situations after someone has died. Using straightforward language, this book may reassure the reader there are other young people who have had someone important to them die and answer some of their questions and concerns.
The Cat Mummy
Verity’s Mum died the day she was born but she rarely talks about her. Verity doesn’t want to upset her Dad or Grandparents. This humorous but sensitive story mainly focuses on Verity’s missing cat Mabel but reveals some of the misunderstandings and anxieties children can have about death. It also shows it can be good to be open, honest and to talk about difficult issues.
Jacqueline Wilson & illustrated by Nick Sharratt,
Ruby and Garnet are 10-year-old twins. They do everything together, especially since their mum died three years ago. When their dad finds a new partner and they move house, Ruby and Garnet find it hard and get into all sorts of trouble. Eventually, they settle down and learn to live with the changes. A lively and humorous book that deals sensitively with change.
Jacqueline Wilson, 2002
April was abandoned in a dustbin as a baby on the 1st April. Having spent all her life in a children’s home and with different foster parents (one of whom committed suicide), things haven’t been easy and April is struggling. Now she’s fourteen and on her birthday, determined to find out more about her past, sets off to find some important people. This is an emotive book with a great storyline in usual Jacqueline Wilson style. It is open and honest.
Straight Talk about Death for Teenagers: How to Cope with Losing Someone You Love
Earl A. Grollman,
This book was written after the author spoke to thousands of teenagers and found they often felt forgotten after someone has died. Written in short, clear sentences that are easy to read, it covers feelings, different types of death and the future. This book gives the reader many options of what can happen, how s/he may feel, giving advice and reassuring readers grief is normal.
BOOKS FOR ADULTS SUPPORTING A BEREAVED CHILD
A Child’s Grief: Supporting a child when someone in their family has died
Julie Stokes, Diana Crossley, Katrina Alilovic & Di Stubbs. Winston’s Wish,
A useful and informative introduction for any adult who is supporting a child through bereavement. Covering a variety of issues that may affect a child when a person close to them dies, both immediately and in the longer term, the booklet also offers practical activities to do together and a section on further reading and support.
Grief in Children: A Handbook for Adults
This is a very practical and useful book written for adults to help them understand how children feel when someone important in their life dies. It covers areas such as children’s grief reactions at different developmental levels, sex differences and different types of death. It makes many useful suggestions about how children can be helped to cope with their grief in an open, honest and positive way.
Talking about Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child
Earl A. Grollman,
This guide for parents recognises that many adults find it hard to honestly and openly explain death to children, especially when faced with their own grief. It includes quotes and examples from other parents and suggestions of what to say to a child as well as general advice.
We all have sad stuff – maybe you have some right now, as you read this. What makes Michael Rosen most sad is thinking about his son, Eddie, who died. In this book he writes about his sadness, how it affects him and some of the things he does to try to cope with it. Whether or not you have known what it’s like to feel really deeply sad, its truth will surely touch you.
And When Did You Last See Your Father
Blake Morrison, 2006
The book tells of how Dr Morrison’s life slowly slips away during the last few weeks of his life. Interspersed with this are the authors recollections of his father, who whilst being a difficult man at times, always remained a loving husband and father. The author is at all times open and honest – sometimes brutally so – and lays open his feelings for all to share.
One of the strengths of the book is that whilst it is about the death of a loved one it never gets too mawkish or sentimental and remains at all times a good read
Books for Families when Someone is Seriously ILL
The Secret C
Julie A. Stokes, Winston’s Wish,
The Secret C – straight talking about cancer, attempts to answer some of the questions and worries a child may have about cancer, especially when it involves someone in the family. This reassuring book will help adults and children to talk about the difficult issues and feelings involved when someone is seriously ill and briefly talks about the possibility of death.
Donna Jo Napoli
This bright and colourful book is told by a young boy whose Dad is seriously ill and dies soon after a trip to Florida to see the place where he grew up. The collage style illustrations capture the things the boy collects to remind him of his Dad. A sensitive but honest book, which emphasises the importance of memories.
When someone has a very Serious Illness: Children can learn to cope with Loss and Change
Marge Heegard (workbook)
Aiming to be used weekly, over a number of sessions, this workbook will help families communicate and teach children about illness and coping skills. With simple, clear writing and plenty of space for children to draw and colour, it covers areas such as change, feelings and looking after oneself. It also has suggestions for how adults can help children as well as useful addresses and additional reading.