Here is a collection of some of my favourite resources for use with children and young people.
Little Meerkat’s Big Panic: A Story About Learning New Ways to Feel Calm – Jane Evans
This playful full-colour storybook shows children aged 2-6 easy ways for them to calm their body and brain when feeling anxious. It also includes guidance for parents or professionals on the neuroscience behind the strategies, and how they can use the book to help children.
Alex and the Scary Things: A Story to Help Children Who Have Experienced Something Scary – Melissa Moses
Alex is an alligator who has experienced ‘scary’ things. In this charmingly illustrated story, he talks about how this affects him and how he copes.
By reading about the different parts of Alex that come out because of the scary things he has experienced, such as The Destroyer when he is angry, Spacey when he dissociates, and Puddles when he is sad, children will learn to recognise when they experience these emotions themselves and find solutions for overcoming them. Alex talks about the different coping strategies he uses to get back to being himself, such as breathing techniques, a counting game, painting, and finding a safe space he can go to, encouraging children to think about when they can do to help themselves handle difficult feelings.
An essential resource for professionals working with children who have experienced trauma, including social workers, counsellors, therapists, and child psychologists, as well as for parents and foster carers. Suitable for children aged approximately 4 to 8 years.
Secret, Secret – Daisy Law
There are lots of different types of secrets. There are big secrets, small secrets, ones you’d never tell, ones you want to tell, ones you keep locked up, or hidden under your bed. There are ones that make you smile, and others that make you scared.
This charming picture book subtly explores the different types of secrets children may have, and encourages them to feel confident to share their secrets. It will be perfect for any child aged 3-7 who has trouble opening up and provides a great opportunity for discussing the things we should and shouldn’t keep secret. The book also includes a section at the end for adults on how to respond to disclosures.
Beautiful Oops! – Barney Saltzberg
A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. Barney Saltzberg, the effervescent spirit behind Good Egg, offers a one-of-a-kind interactive book that shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion telescope each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.
Your Body is Brilliant: Body Respect for Children – Sigrun Danielsdottir
Bodies do all sorts of amazing things, like move around, grow bigger and heal themselves. Bodies also come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and we need to take care of them so that they stay healthy and strong. If we listen to our bodies they tell us exactly what they need. The colourful illustrations in this unique picture book will encourage children to love their bodies from an early age. By learning about all the wonderful things bodies can do, and how each body is different and unique, children will be inspired to take good care of their bodies throughout their lives. Promoting respect for body diversity among children will also encourage kindness and help prevent bullying. This book is ideal for children aged 4 and upwards to read at home or school, either alone or with a parent, family member, teacher or other caring professional.
How are You Peeling?: Foods with Moods – Saxton Freymann, Joost Elffers
“Who’d have dreamed that produce could be so expressive, so charming, so lively and funny?…Freymann and…Elffers have created sweet and feisty little beings with feelings, passions, fears and an emotional range that is, well, organic.” – The New York Times Book Review. “Use this book to discuss different moods, to introduce the names of many fruits and vegetables, to identify colors, and to inspire young artists to create sculptures of their own.” – School Library Journal, starred review
The Princess and the Fog: A Story for Children with Depression – Lloyd Jones
Once upon a time there was a Princess. She had everything a little girl could ever want, and she was happy. That is, until the fog came…
The Princess and the Fog is picture book to help sufferers of depression aged 5-7 cope with their difficult feelings. It uses vibrant illustrations, a sense of humour and metaphor to create a relatable, enjoyable story that describes the symptoms of childhood depression while also providing hope that things can get better with a little help and support. The story is also a great starting point for explaining depression to all children, especially those who may have a parent or close family member with depression.
With an essential guide for parents and carers by clinical paediatric psychologists, Dr Melinda Edwards MBE and Linda Bayliss, this book will be of immeasurable value to anyone supporting a child with, or affected by, depression, including social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, arts therapists, pastoral care workers and school staff, as well as parents and carers.
Luna’s Red Hat – Emmi Smid
This beautifully-illustrated storybook is designed as a tool to be read with children aged 6+ who have experienced the loss of a loved one by suicide. Suicide always causes shock, not just for the family members but for everyone around them, and children also have to deal with these feelings. The book approaches the subject sensitively and includes a guide for parents and professionals by bereavement expert, Dr Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers. It will be of interest to anyone working with, or caring for, children bereaved by suicide, including bereavement counsellors, social workers and school staff, as well as parents, carers and other family members.
How Are You Feeling Today Baby Bear?: Exploring Big Feelings After Living in a Stormy Home – Jane Evans
A gentle story to help children aged 2 to 6 years who have lived with violence in their home Baby Bear lives in a home with the Big Bears, and loves to chase butterflies and make mud pies – they make Baby Bear’s tummy fill with sunshine. Then, one night, Baby Bear hears a big storm downstairs in the house and in the morning, Baby Bear’s tummy starts to feel grey and rainy. How will such a small bear cope with these big new feelings? This sensitive, charming storybook is written to help children who have lived with violence at home to begin to explore and name their feelings. Accompanied by notes for adults on how to use each page of the story to start conversations, it also features fun games and activities to help to understand and express difficult emotions. It will be a useful book for social workers, counsellors, domestic violence workers and all grown-ups working with children.
When Sophie Gets Angry–: Really, Really Angry – Molly Bang
When Sophie gets angry, she goes outside and runs, cries, climbs her favourite tree–and then, calmed by the breeze, she is soon ready to go back home.
Sophie gets mad, climbs a tree to calm down, and is soon ready to come home to her loving family. “The text is…brief, for it is Bang’s double-page illustrations, vibrating with saturated colours, that reveal the drama of the child’s emotions.” – School Library Journal, starred review. “Bang’s strong, non-proscriptive acknowledgment of a feeling most children will recognize will be welcomed.” – Booklist, starred review
Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall
Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heart warming, colourful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!