Children's Mental Health Week, Bev Humphrey

Next week is Children’s Mental Health Week (https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk), a week that stresses the importance of children & young people’s mental health, and the theme this year is ‘Find Your Brave’. There are some excellent resources available to download for both primary and secondary schools on the website but I thought I’d suggest some books that fit the theme. 

Picture books 

Ruby’s Worry. Tom Percival – this is a lovely story about how Ruby learns to deal with her anxiety and realises that everyone has their own worries. Bloomsbury have some fun resources you can download to use with Ruby’s Worry here: https://tinyurl.com/wu792ty

Black Dog, Levi Pensfold – allows children to explore their fears in a safe comforting way. There are great ideas for using the book here: https://tinyurl.com/rwkw3l7

Julian is a Mermaid, Jessica Love – such a warm fun story about being brave enough to be yourself and express your individuality. Walker Books classroom resources here: https://tinyurl.com/vtm3hv9

Middle Grade

I Go Quiet, David Ouimet – a picture book for older children that explores what it feels like to be an introvert in a noisy world. Gorgeous, poignant pictures and sparing but perfect text.

Wildspark, Vashti Hardy – The young female protagonist in this magical book is struggling to deal with her grief over the loss of her brother but she is definitely brave and strong. Resources available on the author’s website https://tinyurl.com/u467khq

Because of You, Eve Ainsworth – this one has an important message about standing up to online bullies – in the right way. Published by Barrington Stoke so a short read but a very strong one.

YA

Letting Go, Cat Clarke – Fast paced adventure story about climbing a mountain both literally and figuratively. Powerful themes of dealing with depression and grief and building self confidence and independence. 

The Boy in the Black Suit, Jason Reynolds – both the main character and the girl he makes friends with are struggling with their own mental demons but manage to help each other see hope for the future.

Rowan the Strange, Julia Hearn – not a new book by any means but a story that has always stayed with me and that I think deserves to be more widely read. In wartime England Rowan who is suffering from mental health difficulties is sent to a lunatic asylum in Kent where he is treated with Electric Shock Therapy.

Positively Teenage etc, Nicola Morgan – there’s no one I trust more when talking about teen mental health than Nicola and all of her books would be a valuable read for students. Good resources on her website too : https://tinyurl.com/sfrw62w

Hopefully promotion and events of this special week will encourage young people who are having difficulties to seek help and to realise that they are not alone. Our libraries can provide a safe haven for struggling children and teenagers and if we have more books that mirror their feelings what a wonderful comfort that could be.

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