reading for mental health

13 Empowering Children’s Books For World Mental Health Day

Lift kids up with books that instill self-love, self-confidence, and a healthy outlook.

Feelings can be scary, they can be confusing, they can be joyful, and they can be all-encompassing — especially for children. World Mental Health Day is a perfect time to conduct a mental health check on your child’s library. Do they have books that help them understand their emotional and mental health? Are there stories that encourage them to feel all the feels while also offering tips on how to manage the overwhelming ones?

Children’s books about feelings and emotions are incredible resources for both young and adult readers. Not only do they help increase your kid’s mental health awareness, but act as a catalyst for conversations your family can continue off the page. When kids can relate to characters, they may feel more inclined to vocalize similar feelings or thoughts they, too, are experiencing. Prioritize your kid’s mental health this World Mental Health Day with this list of amazing reads, targeted at kids who are pre-schooled aged and up.

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You’re Always Enough: And More Than I Hoped For by Emily Ley

Through vibrant illustrations and powerful reinforcement, Emily Ley’s colorful picture book preaches “grace, not perfection,” reminding kiddos that it’s perfectly OK to make mistakes — and that neither or mistakes or our accomplishments make us more or less worthy as a person. The book’s title lends itself as a positive affirmation you can repeat to your child every day as well.

I Can Do It by Inspired Inner Genius

Inside this collection are 10 inspirational stories that evoke messages of courage, strength, trust, and self-confidence. Each short story follows a different character as they learn how to overcome a situation that’s left them feeling sad, scared, or worried. Young readers are taught the importance of never giving up, because why? “I can do it!”

The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart

From beloved actor and mom Kristen Bell, comes a feel-good children’s book all about embracing the wacky, colorful, fun, beautiful, and unique things that make you, YOU! Lil’ bookworms are then encouraged to discover those same wonderfully unique things in their peers. Purple people aren’t afraid to ask questions and be themselves.

I’m So Happy You’re Here by Liz Climo

Sometimes kids just need a little reminder that you’re so happy they’re here. Cartoonist Liz Climo has penned an amazing picture book with adorable animal caricatures that uplifts children (and adults) through the highs and lows, and all the little moments in between.

I Believe I Can by Grace Byers

I Am Enough author Grace Byers is back with an affirmation book for children. Help your tiny tot face the day head on with mantras like, “My presence matters in this world,” and, “I know I can do anything.”

The Worrysaurus by Rachel Bright

Nothing ruins a fun day of plans like the flutter of a butterfly deep in your belly, and Worrysaurus knows that anxious feeling all too well. Help this little anxious dinosaur learn to combat his fears and worries, so they can have the best day ever!

Marcy's Having All the Feels by Allison Edwards

Sad, happy, angry, confused, jealous, embarrassed, excited… there’re so many feelings out there in the world, what is a person supposed to do with all of them? Licensed professional counselor and author Allison Edwards is helping kids understand that their feelings don’t have to defy them as a person or their actions. In fact, feelings can be quite powerful if you know how to put them to good use.

The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerl

This colorful children’s book is designed to help kids find the right perspective and discover the positive. on I can’t write my ABCs — yet! I can’t write a bike — yet! I can't reach the pull-up bar — yet! All of us are constantly learning and growing, just think of all the exciting things that are yet to come!

How to Train Your Pet Brain by Nelly Buchet

Just like pets, our brains need training and lots of TLC. In this book, kids learn how to love and nourish their brains (feel all the feels!) and helpful tips for staying calm.

Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig

Camila would rather stay at home under the covers than go on a class field trip to the aquarium. While trying to settle butterflies of her own, Camila bumps into a fellow anxious classmate. When they ask for help, Camila digs deep to put her fears behind her and be the calming voice both she and her classmate needs.

A Blue Kind of Day by Rachel Tomlinson

Written by psychologist and author Rachel Tomlinson, A Blue Kind of Day explores the ways in which depression may feel in the body and how as parents and siblings, we can support our younger loved ones. It’s easy to forget, but as Tomlinson reminds readers: listening is a very powerful tool.

My Monster and Me by Nadiya Hussain

As someone with anxiety, author Nadiya Hussain is here to help parents help their children (it’s a team effort!) kick worry monsters to the curb. This animated book is a launch pad for a bigger conversation about the things that make us feeling worried and anxious and how you as a family can find ways to manage those worry monsters.