Books to support mental health awareness for readers under 9

I Am Every Good Thing

Books that acknowledge or explore mental health issues can help to increase awareness, encourage dialogue, reduce stigma and develop real understanding. The following books are aimed at readers who are in their first few years of school, and they are perfect for sharing.

Books for children aged 8+

  • The Worries: Shara and the Really Big Sleepover

    Author: Jion Sheibani
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6-8

    Shara’s mum is going away for a couple of days with her netball team, and so Shara and her little brother Keita are going to stay with her grandfather Baba while she’s away. The thing is, Shara doesn’t want to admit it, but she’s actually quite worried about Mum being away. 

  • Charlie Changes into a Chicken

    Author: Sam Copeland Illustrator: Sarah Horne
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 6+

    Something strange happens to Charlie at random times for no apparent reason: he changes into animals. This book cleverly portrays ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, and provides some sound advice throughout. Brilliant and positive. 

  • I Am Every Good Thing

    Author: Derrick Barnes Illustrator: Gordon C. James
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 7+

    The little boy depicted in this gorgeous book is a ball of energy; a gentleman and a scholar; a hilarious friend and a good brother. But, sometimes, he is afraid of the world around him. A stunning visual poem dedicated to supporting and loving black boys.

  • Dream Defenders: Erika and the Angermare

    Author: Tom Percival
    Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    After storming off to bed upset and in a terrible mood, Erika wakes up in the most incredible place ever: there are rainbow-coloured trees, super bouncy grass and waterfalls that flow up instead of down. But she's in danger of being trapped there... can she find her way home?

  • Courage Out Loud

    Author: Joseph Coelho Illustrator: Daniel Gray-Barnett
    Publisher: Quarto (Wide Eyed Editions)
    Interest age: 6-12
    Reading age: 6+

    This inspiring and dynamic poetry collection from Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho is about courage in lots of different forms. Not only are there poems about courage – from facing a fear or setting a boundary to trying something new – it also guides children on how to be brave through poetry, whether that’s through performing a poem aloud or having a go at…

  • Sam Wu is Not Afraid of the Dark

    Author: Katie & Kevin Tsang Illustrator: Nathan Reed
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    The quest continues for Sam Wu to prove that he is not afraid of anything. This time he is out to prove that he is not by any means afraid of the dark... This series is going from strength to strength and is a great accessible read.

  • The Worry Website

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson
    Publisher: Random House
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 7+

    A Jacqueline Wilson title popular with boys and girls alike that deals with the issues children can have. Good for children to read by themselves but also a good chapter-a-night or read-aloud book.

  • Wilf The Mighty Worrier Saves the World

    Author: Georgia Pritchett
    Publisher: Quercus
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    Lots of things worry Wilf: peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of his mouth, stuffed animals, rollnecks and creepy crawlies with lots of legs. But one day, something worse than any of those things changes Wilf's life forever:

  • Colour Away Your Worries

    Author: Leslie Ironside and Haia Ironside
    Publisher: Buster Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 6+

    This drawing and colouring book is a very gentle way to encourage children to work through their worries and let go of stress. It also happens to be a lot of fun.