This week we celebrate World Book Day and to mark the occasion our Mentor; Fiona reviews 3 fantastic books which focus on mental health wellbeing.
World book day aims to change lives through a love of books and reading and as we at Our Place Support aim to change lives through our work it seems a great chance to suggest some books that can be shared with your children to help them understand their feelings and to develop skills that will help them through out their lives.
Change can be something that can cause anxiety in children and adults alike and so I have chosen three different books that all look at feeling worried, or anxious and offer suggestions on managing those feelings. So if you are sitting comfortably let me begin….
Little Meerkat’s Big Panic by Jane Evans
Little Meerkat has always wanted to be the lookout for his Meerkat friends but when he gets to take his turn doing the very important job he finds it very overwhelming. Along the way he meets Elephant and Monkey who help him understand his feelings, find ways to feel calm and solve his worries.
The book is beautifully illustrated and explains the triune brain – how our brain processes information to keep us safe, how we store and retrieve memories and feelings and how we plan and problem solve; in a way that is easy to understand.
Little Meerkat’s Big Panic offers many words for all the feelings explored and asks the readers to look for sensations in their bodies that can accompany a worry or a change. In the main story the characters practice calming down together and there are more suggestions in the back of the book to help. It is a great starting point for understanding why we feel anxious and how we can start to learn to manage it.
No Worries by Dr Sharie Coombes
No Worries is an activity book in a range of titles by Dr Sharie Coombes. This is a book you can dip in and out of and complete different pages as you feel the need. It encourages children to be mindful – a way of focussing on the present moment to help manage big emotions – by colouring and drawing their thoughts and feelings.
There are pages that prompt children to share their worries, express their moods and it explains ideas using drawings and short chunks of text. This makes it particularly accessible for children who prefer to be doing rather than reading. Some of the suggestions include making worry jars, challenging negative thoughts, questioning how true the worries really are and making lists of things that help. This is bright and engaging and gives a lot of practical ideas.
Stuff That Sucks By Ben Sedley
As the back of the book says “Sometimes life sucks” and knowing how to deal with the thoughts and emotions we have when this happens is what this book sets out to do.
Using ideas from Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT); it bases it’s suggestions for helping yourself on understanding what matters to you or your values. It first walks through the big feelings like anger, sadness and loneliness and how they can make you think and behave. The illustrations are cartoon based but mature, striking to the eye and give a real sense of power to the book. Having explained the big feelings this book then moves on to help you identify your values so that you can use these to find ways to accept things that can’t be changed and bring yourself more energy to focus on the things that matter to you. There are many suggestions to find ways to be present and calm through grounding ideas such as listening to music and it explores breathing techniques that can help you feel calmer anywhere. It is a really easy to read and understand book and one which would appeal to older children, teens and adults.
Those are my three suggestions for books to encourage positive mental wellebing, all the authors have other content that can be found online, for example on YouTube, which means you can find out more about their techniques and ideas once you have read the books.. We would love it if you would share your thoughts about both these books and any others you have used and found helpful. Tag us into your feedback using @OurPlaceSupport on any of our social media channels.
Happy reading and relaxing!