Our top picks for Children’s Mental Health Week
9th February 2022
We can learn so much from a good book. While a riveting plot can keep us turning the pages, often it’s the meaning behind the story that can have the most impact.
Children’s picture books have long held poignant messages that help children deal with the emotions, anxieties and the trials of every day life. Most importantly, they pave the way for open discussion and honest discussion about feelings.
For children who are blind or visually impaired, they often miss out on the illustrations that bring the story to life. Luckily, we’ve adapted lots of books that promote positive mental health into tactile, Braille and audio experiences for blind children.
To mark Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13th February) we’ve delved into our collection and picked out our top tactile books for blind children that explore emotions and carry poignant messages on how to handle them.
Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura
Arthur doesn’t want to go to bed. He’s quite happy staying up and watching TV! So, when his mum tells him to turn the TV off – Arthur isn’t happy. Arthur’s anger manifest itself as a storm cloud, a hurricane and an earthquake, causing devastation everywhere it goes. But eventually the storm calms, as Arthur begins to wonder what made him so angry in the first place, leading to a surprising discovery as he finally begins to fall asleep.
My Monster and Me
This is the touching story of a young boy whose worry monster follow him everywhere. It’s there when he gets dressed, when he plays with his toys – even when his friends come to visit him. It seems like there is no escape.
The author, TV chef Nadiya Hussain has written this book based on her own struggles with anxiety – in the hope that it’ll help no more children suffer in silence. We think it does the job wonderfully!
Where the Wild Things Are
This classic storybook is the perfect vehicle to explore the idea of giving in to your “wild side”. Feeling misunderstood at home and at school, Max sets sail in his imagination to the island of the Wild Things. They allow Max to become their king and he promises to create a kingdom where everyone is happy. But being a king isn’t as easy as he thought – and even though he has made new friends with the islands fantastical beasts, he is drawn back to the real world when he realises how much he loves his home.
Who doesn’t feel relaxed after a little bit of yoga? This beautifully illustrated picture book from Fearne Cotton takes a look at a family life that so many of us will be able to relate to – busy and stressful – and incorporates yoga as a way to relax and forget the worries of the day.
The book is full of practical exercises that will have your little one embracing the ‘zen’ life in no time!
Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch
Grace loves stories, whether they’re from books, movies, or the kind her grandmother tells. When her school decides to perform Peter Pan, Grace longs to play the lead, but her classmates point out that Peter was a boy. Besides, he wasn’t black.
With the support of her family, Grace learns that she can be anything she wants to be, and the results are amazing!
Everyone loves Elmer, the patchwork elephant! If you haven’t read its sequel, Elmer’s Walk – we couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s a wonderful celebration of mindfulness from master-storyteller David McKee.
Elmer is enjoying his walk through the jungle. He’s smelling the flowers, watching the cloud and listening to the sound of the waterfall. He’s taking everything in – and just wants to share that joy with others. But none of the other animals have time. Every time he points out the beauty around them, they tell him they are far too busy to stop and chat.
When Elmer starts to feel sad, his cousin Wilbur arrives at last to share Elmer’s enjoyment in the stars.
Hannah is a young girl who desperately wants to spend more time with her father – she feels lonely and neglected. Hannah loves animals – and her favourite is the gorilla. One day, her father buys her a toy gorilla and that night, Hannah has a very special dream. She dreams she is taken out to the zoo by a life size gorilla! But there’s something familiar about the way he dresses. The next morning, Hannah wakes up. It’s her birthday – and her father surprises her with a trip to the zoo.
Throughout, the book deals with family relationships and carries a poignant message around dealing with unwanted emotions.