Just like physical health, the habits we develop in our early years can affect our mental health for the rest of our lives. It’s important to teach children about their emotions and mental wellbeing as early as possible to give them the tools to cope and care for themselves when difficult times arise. Whether it's anxiety, grief, depression, anger, sadness or any other big emotion, there's a picture book to help you talk about these issues with your child.
Here are some great books to get you started:
Timid by Harry Woodgate – Timmy’s shyness and fear of performing is holding them back from doing the one thing they love. This beautiful book shows kids how to live with anxiety and talk about mental health.
Sometimes I Just Won’t by Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger – Part of a series of books about emotions, this funny story sees a child exploring their autonomy and all the emotions that come with it.
Up and Down Mum by Summer Macon – Having a parent with bipolar disorder is full of ups and downs. This book will help a child understand what their parent is going through and how to live alongside it.
How to Be a Lion by Ed Vere – Leonard isn’t like all the other lions, and soon his unique way of life is threatened. An empowering book about learning to speak up for yourself and others.
The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas – this ingenious book shows different emotions as colours to help children visualise and talk about them. A simple but effective introduction to emotions for young children.
Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival – part of a series about big feelings for children, in this book Ruby has a worry that soon grows out of control. A story that encourages kids to talk about their own worries.
The Stompysaurus by Rachel Bright and Chris Chatterton – Stompysaurus’s day keeps going wrong and his feelings of frustration start to take over until he manages to turn his day around. Part of a series of books with dinosuars and big emotions, this is perfect for talking about anger and annoyance.
When Sadness Comes to Call by Eva Eland – focusing on the importance of mental wellbeing, this picture book helps children understand and accept difficult emotions