Reading books together is a great way to start to talk to your kids about mental health and wellness. Did you know? There’s a type of therapy, called “bibliotherapy,” which involves a therapist selecting books for a client that are tailored to their specific mental health concerns or life challenges. In bibliotherapy, the therapist and client read and discuss the book and relate it to the client’s life, so the client can learn from it. Parents can also carefully select books for their children that help them learn and grow. Below are some picture book picks about mental health that your child may enjoy.
After you read a book together, ask your child open-ended questions about the book. Open-ended questions often begin with the words, “What…” or “How…” They tend to inspire longer responses and discussion, rather than just “Yes/No” answers.
Let us know what you and your child think of these titles, and if you have other book recommendations you’d like to share. We’d love to hear from you!
Out of a Jar – by Deborah Macero (3-7 years old)
In this delightful story, a bunny feels strong emotions, and decides to bottle them all up in jars and put them in a closet, because they are too painful. Can you guess what happens? Spoiler alert… The closet gets too full and all of the jars come crashing down! The bunny is overwhelmed by emotion, and is surprised that he actually feels better when he feels and accepts his emotions, rather than locking them up.
The Boy with Big, Big Feelings – by Britney Winn Lee (3-7 years old)
This book tells a story about a boy who experiences “big feelings” and feels ashamed, thinking he must be different than the other kids at school. But he learns that everyone experiences big feelings at times, and he is not alone.
Hey Warrior: A Book for Kids about Anxiety – by Karen Young (5-12 years old)
A clear, accessible introduction to anxiety, that helps kids understand what anxiety is, and empowers them to overcome it.
Divorce & Loss
Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families – by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (4-8 years old)
This book describes what divorce is all about and how it affects children and families, in a gentle, accessible, and comprehensive way.
Two Nests – by Laurence Anholt and Jim Coplestone (3-6 years old)
A lighthearted, compassionate story about a baby bird who learns to adjust to living in two different nests, after his parents start to fight and need more space. Unlike the book above, this book does not mention the words “divorce” or “separation.”
The Invisible String – by Patrice Karst (3-7 years old)
This well-known story describes how we stay connected with people we love even when a loved one goes far away, or dies.
Body image/ body appreciation
Bob the artist – by Marion Denchars (Ages 3+)
In this fun, sensitive book, Bob starts to feel self-conscious about his skinny legs. He transforms his feelings and regains his confidence by painting his beak different colors and celebrating his body.
We hope you and your children enjoy these books! Stay tuned to this blog for more mental health book recommendations for kids, young adults, and parents. At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.