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Our Best Children’s Books About Mental Health

4 March 2021

As many children in the UK go back to school next week after having their world turned upside down yet again with another lock down, how can we help children understand and express how they are feeling? Books that explore children’s emotional and mental health can be a vital way to open a dialogue with children about how they are feeling and to help them feel they are not alone.

That’s why we’re thrilled to publish a series of books covering a variety of topics that are relevant to children today, including grief, anxiety, bullying, and sadness. By providing children with books that discuss a range of emotions they might be feeling, you can encourage children to speak with their parents or carers about their faith and emotions, and help them to find peace during these difficult times.

We hope these books will spark important conversations and help children learn how to understand their mental health and express their emotions.

Books About Children’s Mental Health and Emotions:

For 3+ Years:

Are You Sad, Little Bear? By Rachel Rivett and Tina Macnaughton

Are You Sad, Little Bear? by Rachel Rivett and Tina Macnaughton
Are you Sad, Little Bear?
Rachel Rivett and Tina Macnaughton

Grandmother Bear has gone for ever, and Little Bear is feeling sad. His mother wisely suggests that perhaps asking his woodland companions what saying goodbye means to them will help him understand his loss. 

Little Bear’s day of exploring and asking questions brings him comfort and hope.

This charmingly illustrated picture book will help young children in times of bereavement, loss or change, gently exploring the reasons for saying goodbye and giving reassurance that goodbye doesn’t mean the end of things.

Beyond the Setting Sun

Beyond the Setting Sun by Sarah J. Dodd and Cee Biscoe

Beyond The Setting Sun by Sarah J. Dodd
Beyond the Setting Sun
Sarah J. Dodd and Cee Biscoe

A picture story book about bereavement to support young children, specifically those who have lost a parent.

The waterholes of the African Savannah have dried up and there has not been enough to drink for some of the animals. Ekundayo, a young elephant, struggles to understand the loss of his mother, but the support of his family help and guide him through.

Carefully researched about the stages of grief for young children, Sarah J Dodd sensitively portrays this in the response and actions of Ekundayo to help children express and share how they are feeling with those around them. At the end, Debbie Duncan also provides helpful advice for parents and carers as consider how to talk about death and dying with young children.

You Are Very Special by Su Box and Susie Poole

This charming picture book helps even the youngest of children learn to value him- or herself, and to realise that each and every person is unique and special. 

Simple text and lively illustrations help to open the reader’s eyes to their God-given personality, their value as an individual and their importance as a part of God’s creation.

The surprise ending – a mirror in which children can identify themselves – will help little children put the life-affirming message of this book firmly into place.

The Biggest Thing in the World by Kenneth Steven and Melanie Mitchell

The Biggest Thing in the World by Kenneth Steven
The Biggest Thing in the World
Kenneth Steven and Melanie Mitchell

A heart-warming picture book about a little polar bear cub exploring the world with his mother.

He discovers many huge and wonderful things but in answer to the question, ‘is that the biggest thing in the world?’ The answer is always, ‘no.’

At the end of the day, little bear wants to know what the biggest thing really is — and with his mother’s help, he finds that it is love.

Just Like You by Sarah J. Dodd

Legs by Sarah J. Dodd and Guisi Capizzi

Legs by Sarah J. Dodd
Legs
Sarah J. Dodd and Guisi Capizzi

The sweet story of a very small meerkat, Miki who finds himself far from home & the keeper who bought him back.

Miki is a baby meerkat who lives with his Mama in a zoo. He’s happy at home with Mama and the kind keeper who cares for them, but soon he becomes curious about the wider world. Then one day Miki ventures a bit too far out into the world, and he’s not sure where he is anymore. Who do all these legs belong to? But just when Miki feels completely lost, there are the keepers familiar booted legs, and here’s the keeper to bring him home; and from his vantage point in the keeper’s arms all the legs that seemed so intimidating on the way out are revealed to have friendly, happy faces with them!

Just Like You by Sarah J. Dodd and Guisi Capizzi

Just Like You by Sarah J. Dodd
Just Like You
Sarah J. Dodd and Guisi Capizzi

Miki is a baby meerkat who lives with his Mama in a zoo.
When a new family move in next door, Miki hopes for a friend to play with. But the new arrival is different to Miki in every way.

She’s tall, he’s small; she sleeps standing up, he sleeps in a burrow; she eats from the freetops, he eats from the ground…
However, Miki and Raffa the giraffe soon realize that for every physical difference between them, there’s a similarity and compatibility in what they both enjoy – or are scared of! And seeing from the world from someone else’s point of view might be fun after all.

Just Because by Rebecca Elliot

Just Because by Rebecca Elliot
Just Because
Rebecca Elliot

This heartwarming picture book about being perfectly loved, no matter what, tells of a brother’s love for his sister.

He is so enthusiastic about just how loving and special she is, and delights in telling us about all the fun things they do together. Only as his tale unfolds does the reader begin to realize that his sister has special needs… and by then we just accept as he does all the wonderful things about her.

This amusing and often touching story encompasses the issue of disability in a charming celebration of sibling friendship to which all children can relate.

Sometimes by Rebecca Elliot

Sometimes by Rebecca Elliott
Sometimes
Rebecca Elliott

Toby loves his big sister Clemmie. She always looks after him and he looks after her, even when her disability means she has to go to hospital again.

When Clemmie has to go to hospital, they both have to help each other face their fears. Together, they make hospital a much better place.

 

For 5+ Years:

God Cares series by Debbie Duncan

God Cares Debbie Duncan

Our brand new God Cares series provides a Biblical approach to discussing emotions and behaviour with children to nurture an attitude of wellness. Children at different ages approach things differently in their stages of emotional development, so this series works at two different levels: illustrated Readers aimed at 5-7 year olds and Chapter books aimed at 8+ years. Please note that children progress at different reading abilities and stages of emotional development so the age ranges are only a guide for parents and carers.

The Bible stories are retold reflecting on the emotions and encourages children to discuss and relate this within their situations. Sections at the back provide a reflective space for children and practical advice for parents and carers.

Debbie Duncan, author of Gifted and The Art of Daily Resilience, is a nurse and a teacher, and mother of four children. She has considerable insight into what constitutes resilience and bravery: the ability to cope, to stay on course, to bounce back. In all her books, she considers what is required for physical, mental, and spiritual durability, interweaving biblical teaching, prayers, with personal anecdote and sound advice. This she now applies to her thoughtful God Cares series specifically to support parents and carers raising children.

Check out all the books in the God Cares series here.

When I Feel Down by Debbie Duncan

A chapter book retelling the story of Jonah who felt down about his situation and tried to hide away.

But God cares and never gave up on him. God was always there to talk to and help him.

A reassuring story to help older children reflect and talk to people they trust about Jonah’s emotions and support available to them when they feel sad, including help from God.

See other titles in the God Cares series here.

When I am Afraid by Debbie Duncan

An illustrated reader retelling the story of Jesus’ friends being afraid in the storm even though Jesus was in the boat with them.

But God cares and Jesus woke up and told the storm to be still.

A reassuring story to help young children talk to parents or those who care for them about their fears, when they are afraid, and that Jesus is always with them.

See other titles in the God Cares series here.

When I am Anxious by Debbie Duncan

A chapter book retelling the story of Jonah who felt down about his situation and tried to hide away.

But God cares and never gave up on him. God was always there to talk to and help him.

A reassuring story to help older children reflect and talk to people they trust about Jonah’s emotions and support available to them when they feel sad, including help from God.

See other titles in the God Cares series here.

When I am Strong by Debbie Duncan

A chapter book retelling the story of Jonah who felt down about his situation and tried to hide away.

But God cares and never gave up on him. God was always there to talk to and help him.

A reassuring story to help older children reflect and talk to people they trust about Jonah’s emotions and support available to them when they feel sad, including help from God.

See other titles in the God Cares series here.

The Good Thing About Bad Days by Margaret McAllister

The Good Thing About Bad Days

A warming practical book full of advice, suggested activities and encouraging messages to help young children (5-9 years) express and cope with their emotions, to reassure them about handling situations and to raise their self-esteem. With a repetitive mantra that: The good thing about bad days is-that they come to an end.

Space is provided for children to draw or jot down their thoughts and responses. Scattered throughout are verses from Psalms and other books of the Bible, and quotations from other sources.

There is a parent section providing additional advice by Dr Claire Parsons, a Christian GP, and a list of websites and contacts as resources and support for children and parents.

For 12+ Years:

A Guide to Growing Up by Sarah Smith and Alex Webb-Peploe

A Guide to Growing Up is an engaging, clear, and helpful guide for young people that shines God’s light into the topics of puberty, bodies and sex.

It is profoundly positive; about sex, about self, about faith, about relationships, love, boundaries, pleasure, choices – about all the sorts of things that could possibly matter when it comes to growing up. Full of distinctive illustrations that grab the attention, conversations with young people and detailed chapters on hot topics, such as masturbation and same-sex attraction.

A Guide to Growing Up is an invaluable tool to support parents in talking to their children, and an essential guide in any young person’s journey – a guide they can go back to time and again.

Watch author Sarah Smith talk about A Guide to Growing up below.

You might also be interested in:

Children’s Prayer Books

Prayers around the World by Deborah Lock and Helen Cann

Prayers Around the World by Deborah Lock
Prayers around the World
Deborah Lock and Helen Cann

Across the continents, this beautifully illustrated book of prayers reflects on God’s amazing world, celebrating different countries, landscapes and traditions.

From fishing villages to the African plains, farming in Peru to the snowy landscape of Greenland, blossoms in Japan and leaf kicking in eastern Europe and to the shores of the Pacific ocean, these prayers share God’s love and care for his world.

ABC Prayers by Myriam Baudic and Camille Bernard

ABC Prayers by Myriam Baudic
ABC Prayers
Myriam Baudic and Camille Bernard

Prioritise bedtime prayers and enjoy quality time growing together in prayer with ABC Prayers, a beautiful gift and endearing book that provides children with a starting point for what they can talk to God about.

  • A beautiful prayer book for children aged 4-7
  • Cultivate consistent prayers with your little one with this gorgeously illustrated prayer book with an adorable family of mice
  • Plant prayer seeds in children’s hearts

This padded hardcover picture book shows charming illustrations of a family of mice, playing, sharing, forgiving, and celebrating, wrapped around the letters A-Z .

Each prayer begins with the next letter of the alphabet, and covers prayers for families, friends, celebrations, peace, love, forgiveness, and kindness to one another.

ABC Prayers is the perfect children’s prayer book to establish routine bedtime prayer time.

99 Prayers for Children by Juliet David and Elina Ellis

99 Prayers for Children by Juliet David
99 Prayers for Children
Juliet David and Elina Ellis

A companion prayer book for 99 Prayers Stories from the Bible with delightful illustrations in a strong vibrant style, 99 Prayers for Children provide a great introduction to family prayer time.

  • Prayers for children aged 5-7
  • These 99 Prayers are for all occasions and a companion book to 99 Stories from the Bible
  • A great way to introduce young children to prayer

The prayers are a combination of traditional and modern prayers by Julie David, and provide an introduction to family prayer time with young children, bringing talking to God to life in the heart of every child.

My Very Own Bible and Prayers by Carolyn Cox and Lois Rock

My Very Own Bible and Prayers
My Very Own Bible and Prayers
Carolyn Cox and Lois Rock

A treasured combination of the much-loved My Very Own Bible and the companion prayer book My Very Own Book of Prayers.

  • My Very Own Bible and Prayers retells 37 great stories of the Bible and the prayers are packed full of words of reflection especially for young readers.
  • The prayers are selected and written with care to reflect the world and the concerns of children aged 5-7.
  • The prayers comprise of a mixture of familiar, traditional material, new prayers and blessings and paraphrases of some Bible prayers.

Carolyn Cox’s lively and vibrant illustrations received widespread acclaim when they first appeared in The Lion Children’s Bible and My Own Book of Bible Stories, and complement the prayers reflecting the mood and content of each subject. These have been refreshed for a new generation of young readers, appearing warm and brighter than ever.

A perfect gift for a special occasion or to use for sharing with children or at bedtime.

Picture Books About Bible Stories:

Albert and the Good Sister by Richard Littledale

Albert and the Good Sister by Richard Littledale and Heather Heyworth

Albert and the Good Sister by Richard Littledale
Albert and the Good Sister
Richard Littledale and Heather Heyworth

The Story of Moses in the Bulrushes

A heart-felt Bible story about Miriam watching over her baby brother, who would later become Moses, the leader of a nation.

Her quick thinking when the Pharaoh’s daughter pulls the basket he is in out of the River Nile saves his life. Maybe being a big sister to a baby isn’t so bad!

Albert and the Flour Sack by Richard Littledale and Heather Heyworth

Albert and the Flour Sack by Richard Littledale
Albert and the Flour Sack
Richard Littledale and Heather Heyworth

A Story about Elijah’s Visit

A warm-hearted Old Testament Bible story about Joe, who will never forget the day that Elijah came to visit.

The cupboards were empty and his mother only had a last bit of flour and a few drops of oil. Sharing their last loaves with Elijah was to change their lives.

Albert and the Big Boat by Richard Littledale and Heather Heyworth

Albert and the Big Boat by Richard Littledale
Albert and the Big Boat
Richard Littledale and Heather Heyworth

A Noah’s Ark Story

Join a family of mice as they gather around Albert, an elderly mouse, to hear the story of Noah and the animals that came to the Ark.

Stunning illustrations bring to life the excitement and the adventure of God’s Great Flood

Albert and the Slingshot by Richard Littledale and Heather Heyworth

Albert and the Slingshot by Richard Littledale
Albert and the Slingshot
Richard Littledale and and Heather Heyworth

The Story of David and Goliath

An action-packed Bible story about David, the shepherd boy who becomes a nation’s hero.

Stunning illustrations bring to life the excitement and the adventure of David’s day on the battle field, bravely facing Goliath.

For more wonderful children’s books, check out all our children’s books here.