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Inspirational Books – Children’s Mental Health Week

Today marks the beginning of Children’s Mental Health Week (5 – 11 February) which is now in its 10th year. Set up by children’s mental health charity, Place2Be, the aim is to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health.
‘My Voice Matters’ is this year’s theme, in the hope that awareness will be raised to encourage children to speak up and be open about their mental health.
Today’s feature explores five inspirational books recommended by Madeline O’Keefe, Children’s Book Buyer at The Works. Reading can play a hugely important part in encouraging children to relax during difficult periods of their life, offering escapism, protection and inspiration.
Madeline said: “Studies have shown that children who read for pleasure earlier in life have a better mental wellbeing, showing fewer signs of stress and depression, while also reducing behavioural problems and improved attention”.

Madeline’s picks contain a range of children’s books that can help young people to use their voice in different ways, from speaking out about their own worries, helping others, as well as being inspired by the stories of others too.

Whale Feels Worried by Katie Woolley

Whale Feels Worried offers a gentle exploration of dealing with worry and anxiety. Following the story of a whale who is worried about her schoolwork, her relationship with her school teacher highlights that it’s ok to make mistakes, placing the importance on, speaking out, learning from mistakes and finding ways to cope with worries.

Can I Have a Hug by Rosie Greening

A part of the Worry Monsters series, Can I Have A Hug encourages children to understand that you don’t always need a hug to feel close to loved ones, but communication is key. An important story to help children deal with separation, it encourages and inspires children to reach out to loved ones who may not be around frequently to use their voice and channel their love in other ways such as writing letters, video calling or getting creative.

Healthy Habits: Elephants Guide to Making Friends by Lisa Edwards

The Healthy Habits series cover a range of topics that can boost a child’s mental health. Ideally for children around aged four and above, an Elephant’s Guide to Making Friends showcases the value of social engagement and interaction through bold, bright, and humorous illustrations and highlights the value of being a good friend.

Little People, Big Dreams collection by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Little People, Big Dreams tell the story of many figures throughout history and can really inspire children to follow their dreams. The collection varies from sports people to movie stars and musicians, to trailblazers such as Amelia Earhart and Rosa Parks. It’s the definitive collection on why everybody’s voice matters and that everyone can achieve what they want to with hard work and determination.

The Smeds and the Smoos by Julia Donaldson

Highlighting that everybody matters and our voice is valued regardless of how we look, The Smeds and The Smoos is a gentle and fun way to educate around equality. It’s a story of love, adventure and togetherness between a young red Smed and a young blue Smoo, a group of people who don’t usually mix. It’s a book that has all the hallmarks of a great Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler read, and a real classic from her catalogue.

You can find a range of books to read that can benefit a child’s mental health during Children’s Mental Health Week and beyond by visiting: