Books for helping kidsunderstand mental health
When dealing with issues such as anxiety, depression, or intense emotions, sometimes it can be difficult for a child or teen to make sense of what is happening in their mind and body, especially if they don’t have other experiences for comparison. For kids, reading about these topics can be effective in promoting problem solving, increasing compassion, developing empathy, and enhancing self-awareness. Here are some of our favorite books to help children and teens gain a better understanding of these complex topics. Books like the ones listed below can spark meaningful conversations with your kids and help make talking about mental health easier, more relatable, and a part of daily routine.
Okay to Say Kids’ Reading List
Written and illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
Breathe Like A Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere
Written by Kira Willey, illustrated by Anni Betts
Don’t Feed the WorryBug
Written and illustrated by Andi Green
Written and illustrated by Aliki
How Big Are Your Worries Little Bear?
Written by Jayneen Sanders, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings
Written by Jo Witek, illustrated by Christine Roussey
Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster
Written and illustrated by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt
Listening with My Heart
Written by Gabi Garcia, illustrated by Ying Hui Tan
Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda
Written by Lauren Alderfer, illustrated by Kerry Lee MacLean
Mr. Worry: A Story About OCD
Written by Holly L. Niner, illustrated by Greg Swearingen
My Many Colored Days
Written by Dr. Seuss, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
My Mixed Emotions: Help Your Kids Handle Their Feelings
Written and illustrated by Elinor Greenwood and DK Publishing Staff, foreword by Maureen Healy
Tiger Tiger is it True?
Written by Byron Katie, illustrated by Hans Wilhelm
What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety
Written by Dawn Huebner, illustrated by Bonnie Matthews
When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry…
Written and illustrated by Molly Bang
Written by Wesley King
Written by Lisa Yee
Written by R.J. Palacio
Prevention and early intervention are essential to children’s mental health!
Every child deserves to grow up healthy and strong, emotionally as well as physically. Yet, the facts are:
50% of all mental illnesses begin by age 14.
1 in 5 children (age 0-11) experience a mental disorder in a given year.
10% of children experience some impairment in daily functioning at home, in school, or in the community due to mental health problems.
It’s also true that most mental illnesses are treatable, and early detection and treatment offers the greatest opportunity for hope and recovery allowing children to grow to be productive, emotionally healthy adults.
Each year, over 550,000 Texas children and adolescents experience severe mental health needs. Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and its partners are working to change that through policy and system reforms to improve access to mental health services in our communities and schools.
For the latest information on this work, please click the “Learn More” button below.