Health

44 Children’s Books That Help Kids Understand Mental Health

This book helps children understand bullying. 22. Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum is a timeless story that many parents may remember from when they were children. It tells the… Trista - September 1, 2019
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This book helps children understand bullying.

22. Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum is a timeless story that many parents may remember from when they were children. It tells the story of a little girl named Chrysanthemum whose classmates make fun of her because she has the same name as a flower. Through charming illustrations and a heart-warming story, children learn about the harmful effects of bullying.

Ultimately, Chrysanthemum finds deliverance in a teacher, who has a similar name. Everyone decides that Chrysanthemum is a beautiful name, and Chrysanthemum decides that she likes her name, too. This book for young children will help them understand bullying, teasing, and self-esteem.

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This book helps children understand dyslexia.

23. Back to Front and Upside Down!

Dyslexia is a challenging diagnosis that can cause severe learning delays for children. Some may have a hard time explaining to their friends why they are slow at reading, and some may be so ashamed that they don’t want anybody to know that they have dyslexia.

Back to Front and Upside Down! helps to normalize dyslexia by telling the story of a fox named Stan, who has trouble writing letters the right way. He doesn’t ask for help, because he is afraid that the other kids will tease him. However, when he does, he can develop the skills he needs to succeed.

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This book helps children understand selective mutism.

24. Lola’s Words Disappeared

Lola’s Words Disappeared is a book about a little girl named Lola who, upon beginning the school year, finds that the words she intends to say are not coming out. She has developed selective mutism, a condition that is often associated with anxiety. She has to find a way to give her words the courage that they need to come back.

This book is designed with activities to help children with anxiety, specifically with selective mutism, find courage in challenging situations. It was written with the help of an early childhood psychologist and is part of a series on anxiety management and reduction.

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This book helps children to understand depression.

25. Can I Catch It Like a Cold? Coping With a Parent’s Depression

Parents are the people who usually are there to help a child navigate complex emotions. But when a parent falls prey to depression, he or she is not only unable to help the child; the child experiences new and challenging emotions about the changed parent-child relationship.

Can I Catch It Like a Cold? Coping With a Parent’s Depression tells the story of Alex, a boy whose father developed depression while serving as a police officer. Alex has many questions concerning the adult-sized problems that he now has to face. The book helps explain depression in a way that kids can understand and can be beneficial for children working with a professional therapist.

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This book helps children understand grief and loss.

26. The Invisible String

The Invisible String is a heart-warming story that is relevant for not only children but also adults of all ages. It begins with a mother telling her children that all people are connected, especially to those that they love, by an invisible string that creates ties that bind.

This book, which will become a classic for any child or adult that has ever felt the pain of loss, helps children to understand that even when those that they love are not with them, they are never really alone. The ties that bind never really go away.

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This book helps children learn about ADHD.

27. I Can’t Sit Still! Living With ADHD

ADHD is one of the most common mental health diagnoses for children, and it can cause an array of learning problems. Children with ADHD can be left out by their friends because of their impulsive behavior and excessive energy. Books about ADHD help normalize the diagnosis that these children must learn to cope with.

I Can’t Sit Still: Living with ADHD encourages children who have ADHD with the story of a little boy who is mistakenly labeled as unruly and disruptive. However, with the help of his parents, teacher, and doctor, he can develop strategies to cope with ADHD.

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This book helps children understand dyslexia.

28. Fish in a Tree

Dyslexia can be a lifelong challenge for people who have it, and how they experience their diagnosis as children can have implications for their success all through life. Helping them normalize their diagnosis can lead to vast returns on their resilience and quality of life.

Fish in a Tree is a novel about a girl named Ally who has dyslexia but is smart enough to hide the fact that she cannot read. However, when she gets a new teacher, Mr. Daniels, he sees that beneath her dyslexia is a bright kid who has nothing to be ashamed of. With his encouragement, she develops the confidence to explore the world.

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This book helps children understand bullying.

29. Wonder

Wonder is a short chapter book about a little boy whose extraordinary face has prevented him from going to a mainstream school until fifth grade. All he wants is to be treated like any other kid, but his extraordinary face is something that nobody can overlook.

The book tells a heart-warming story from multiple perspectives, including Auggie’s, the boy with an extraordinary face, and his classmates. Ultimately, it tells the tale of a community that comes together with empathy and understanding.

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This book helps children deal with trauma.

30. A Terrible Thing Happened

When children experience trauma, they are often unable to talk about it, as adults may be encouraged to do. The adults in their lives may feel uncomfortable and encourage them to not talk about it. As such, trauma erodes their resilience and potential for success.

A Terrible Thing Happened is about Sherman, a raccoon who developed anxiety and anger after witnessing something awful. He didn’t want to talk about it, but his counselor helped him open up. In the end, he feels better.

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This book helps older children understand sensory processing challenges.

31. Stanley Will Probably Be Fine

Stanley knows comic trivia better than anybody else, as his love of comics helps him feel safe in a world that can be disorienting. He entered Trivia Quest, where he can win some pretty great prizes and also overcome his anxiety.

This chapter book is excellent for middle-grade children who have sensory processing challenges or know someone who does. It will help those without sensory processing disorders develop empathy, and those with disorders realize that they have their own superpowers.

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This book helps children understand anxiety and develop strategies to overcome it.

32. Pilar’s Worries

Not all children who struggle with anxiety have what could be considered an anxiety disorder. After all, anxiety is part of a standard range of emotions, and learning to deal with it when it arises is a normal part of developing emotional intelligence.

Pilar’s Worries is a picture book about a girl who loves ballet and is excited about a big ballet audition. But she begins to feel so anxious about the audition that her whole body hurts. She develops coping mechanisms and focuses on how much she loves ballet to get through the anxiety and nail her audition.

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This book helps children who have experienced neglect.

33. Somebody Cares: A Guide for Kids Who Have Experienced Neglect

Children who have experienced neglect have many challenges to overcome, and overcoming those challenges begins with learning to trust their new caregivers. While time and patience on the part of the caregiver, and therapy on the part of the child, are valuable, knowing that other children have experienced similar things can send a powerful message.

Somebody Cares: A Guide for Kids Who Have Experienced Neglect is a book that can help kids in that situation know that they are not alone. It teaches them that they are brave for having endured so much and helps them understand the complicated feelings that they have to process.

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This book helps children understand anxiety and develop strategies to overcome it.

34. The Fix-It Friends: Have No Fear!

The Fix-It Friends are a group of kids that come together with a mission to find a solution to the problems that kids face. In this book in the series, they help Maya, one of their classmates who don’t like recess because she is afraid of bugs.

This chapter book is ideal for elementary-age children to understand fear and anxiety and beings friends with people who are facing challenges. The book includes a toolbox of strategies that children can use to deal with their own fears and anxieties.

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This book helps children understand grief and loss.

35. One Wave at a Time: A Story About Grief and Healing

There are a lot of different ways to understand grief. Metaphors are particularly helpful for children experiencing pain, and this book uses the metaphor of waves to help young children, as early as kindergarten, understand the complicated emotions associated with the loss of a loved one.

The book tells the story of Kai, whose father died. As he learns to live without his father, his emotions of fear, anger, sadness, guilt, and even apathy crash on him like waves. Sometimes they all become jumbled together and come in all at once. However, with support, he begins to heal.

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This book helps children understand emotions.

36. In My Heart: A Book of Feelings

Children don’t need to have mental health challenges to develop emotional intelligence. Helping children navigate and understand their emotions can help ground them with resilience to face whatever difficulties they may encounter.

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings is part of a series that can help children as young as toddlers begin to understand their emotions. The book describes emotions using analogies and metaphors that young children can understand, as well as how those emotions can make them feel physically.

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This book helps children understand bullying.

37. Tease Monster: A Book About Teasing vs. Bullying

When does teasing become bullying? Many children don’t know where to draw the line and understand when playful teasing becomes hurtful bullying. Tease Monster: A Book About Teasing vs. Bullying helps elementary-age kids understand the difference between the two.

Reading this book will help children understand the difference between friendly teasing and mean teasing. It will also help children develop strategies for responding to mean teasing, which is the same as bullying.

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This book helps children to understand ADHD.

38. Cory Stories: A Kid’s Book About Living With ADHD

Cory is a little boy who shares different stories and vignettes about his life with ADHD. Sometimes he falls out of his chair, and his friends don’t always want to play with him. However, by following through with a treatment plan, he can develop strategies for overcoming his ADHD.

In this book, Cory describes how his ADHD affects many aspects of his daily life, from his relationships with his friends and family to his overall ability to function. It will help elementary-age children understand ADHD.

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This book helps older children to understand Tourette’s Syndrome.

39. Forget Me Not

This chapter book for middle-grade children tells the story of Calliope, a girl with Tourette’s Syndrome and who recently moved to a new school. Despite her attempts to hide her TS, the kids realize that she makes faces and noises that she didn’t intend to make.

But Calliope’s neighbor, who is a popular kid at school, realizes that there is an extraordinary kid underneath the Tourette’s. Just as Calliope begins to make new friends, though, she may have to move yet again.

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This book helps children understand identity.

40. Red: A Crayon’s Story

Identity is something that all kids, not just those who are LGBTQ+, struggle with on one level. It tells the story of Red, a blue crayon who has a red label. Everyone tries to make him red, as his label suggests, but no matter how many times he tries to draw strawberries, he cannot force himself to be red.

When he encounters a purple crayon, the purple crayon helps him understand that he is actually blue. This book is something that all kids will be able to relate to on some level, especially those who try to conform to what others expect them to be.

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This book helps children understand anxiety and develop strategies to overcome it.

41. How Big Are Your Worries, Little Bear?

Even very young children can struggle with anxiety, just like Little Bear does in this book. He is especially afraid of making mistakes, just like many children are. However, when he talks about his worries with his mother, they get a lot smaller, and he can overcome them.

This book will help even young children understand that their worries are not as big as they think and that sometimes, talking to someone can help them go away. This book can be helpful for very young children, as young as three years old.

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This book helps older children understand bullying.

42. Warp Speed

This novel, which is appropriate for middle-grade children, tells the story of Marley, who is starting another boring school year. However, the school year becomes a lot less boring when the biggest bully in the school targets him.

Bullying can cause severe adverse effects in adolescent children, but helping them to address the issue in an age-appropriate way can lead to strategies for dealing with bullies. It can also help them understand where their own behavior may be considered bullying.

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This book helps children understand grief and loss.

43. When Dinosaurs Die

The wise dinosaurs, who have an entire series on helping kids deal with difficult issues such as divorce, are back in this book to help kids understand the process we go through when loved ones die.

This book, which is appropriate for children as young as preschool, answers many of the questions that children have about death. Parents and caregivers can read it with young children who are learning to navigate a profound loss so that they can begin to heal.

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This book helps children to understand Tourette’s Syndrome.

44. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

This chapter book for middle-grade kids tells the story of Aven, a cactus which was born without any arms. However, instead of admitting that he was born without arms, he likes to invent wild stories about how he lost them.

When his family moves, he makes friends with Connor, a classmate who has Tourette’s Syndrome. The two partner together to solve a mystery. This book will help children understand that the things that make them different give them the abilities to do things that other kids may not be able to do. Most importantly, the two characters discover friendship in the midst of coping with their disabilities.

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