Book to support mental health awareness for ages 8 and over

Michael Rosen's Sad Book

Books that acknowledge or explore mental health issues can help to increase awareness, encourage dialogue, reduce stigma and develop real understanding.

The following suggestions offer a spectrum of different perspectives and are well worth seeking out. 

Books for children under 9

  • When I See Blue

    Author: Lily Bailey

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • When I See Blue

    Author: Lily Bailey

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    This is a touching and honest book about life in the grip of OCD but also the power of friendship. It’s also a reminder that good …

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  • War of the Wind

    Author: Victoria Williamson

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • War of the Wind

    Author: Victoria Williamson

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    Max is sure that the new wind turbines on his island are sinister, but will anyone listen to a frustrated deaf schoolboy? Gripping…

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  • How to be More Hedgehog

    Author: Anne-Marie Conway Illustrator: Danielle Dey

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • How to be More Hedgehog

    Author: Anne-Marie Conway Illustrator: Danielle Dey

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    Lily has a stammer and when a video of her practising a school presentation is posted online, she feels humiliated. She wants to h…

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  • The Sad Ghost Club

    Author: Lize Meddings

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 12+

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  • The Sad Ghost Club

    Author: Lize Meddings

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 12+

    A sad ghost wants to go to a party, but his social anxiety keeps holding him back. When he meets another anxious ghost, he realise…

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  • A Pocketful of Stars

    Author: Aisha Bushby

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • A Pocketful of Stars

    Author: Aisha Bushby

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

    Safiya must uncover the truth of her mother’s history to help her survive the present. A beautifully written and page-turning…

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  • Hopewell High: All Too Much

    Author: Jo Cotterill Illustrator: Maria Garcia Borrego

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Hopewell High: All Too Much

    Author: Jo Cotterill Illustrator: Maria Garcia Borrego

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    An absorbing school story that looks at the pressures and mental health challenges for young people when trying to live up to expe…

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  • Paper Avalanche

    Author: Lisa Williamson

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 12+

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  • Paper Avalanche

    Author: Lisa Williamson

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 12+

    Fourteen-year-old Ro Snow’s got a secret: her house is filled to the doors with her mother’s hoarded rubbish. A brilliant, th…

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  • The 10pm Question

    Author: Kate Di Goldi

    Interest level: 14-15

    Reading age: 10+

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  • The 10pm Question

    Author: Kate Di Goldi

    Interest level: 14-15

    Reading age: 10+

    Like his desk, Frankie likes life to be orderly and neat. But then Sydney arrives, and disturbs Frankie's carefully organised worl…

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  • Tiny Infinities

    Author: J H Diehl

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Tiny Infinities

    Author: J H Diehl

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    Thirteen-year-old Alice is trying to stop her family falling apart. A very beautiful and sensitively handled book that touche…

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  • The Mystery of the Colour Thief

    Author: Ewa Jozefkowicz Illustrator: Sophie Gilmore (front cover)

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9-11

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  • The Mystery of the Colour Thief

    Author: Ewa Jozefkowicz Illustrator: Sophie Gilmore (front cover)

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9-11

    The book paints a convincing picture of a harrowing time in a young life, and the time, talking and friendship that helps her to p…

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  • The Goldfish Boy

    Author: Lisa Thompson

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 9+

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  • The Goldfish Boy

    Author: Lisa Thompson

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 9+

    Matthew has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Can he help an investigation into the abduction of a child, perhaps without even leavin…

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  • Michael Rosen's Sad Book

    Author: Michael Rosen Illustrator: Quentin Blake

    Interest level: 6+

    Reading age: 6+

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  • Michael Rosen's Sad Book

    Author: Michael Rosen Illustrator: Quentin Blake

    Interest level: 6+

    Reading age: 6+

    The subject of bereavement is treated in an unusual way in Michael Rosen's Sad Book, which deals with the death of the author's ow…

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  • The Pond

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Cathy Fisher

    Interest level: 5+

    Reading age: 7+

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  • The Pond

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Cathy Fisher

    Interest level: 5+

    Reading age: 7+

    A young boy and his father are planning a pond in their back garden - but they only get as far as digging a muddy hole when Dad pa…

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  • Running on the Cracks

    Author: Julia Donaldson

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • Running on the Cracks

    Author: Julia Donaldson

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

    Julia Donaldson's first novel for young adults is a tense thriller about a runaway. Donaldson addresses numerous issues in her gri…

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  • Optimists Die First

    Author: Susin Nielsen

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 12+

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  • Optimists Die First

    Author: Susin Nielsen

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 12+

    Petula's life is ruled by anxiety, fear and pessimism after her little sister died two years before. Then she meets Jacob, and an …

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  • The Illustrated Mum

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator: Nick Sharratt

    Interest level: 10-14

    Reading age: 10+

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  • The Illustrated Mum

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator: Nick Sharratt

    Interest level: 10-14

    Reading age: 10+

    This is a moving yet unsentimental account of two children coming to terms with their mother’s depression, mental instability and …

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  • More Than This

    Author: Patrick Ness

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

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  • More Than This

    Author: Patrick Ness

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

    Carnegie Medal-winning author Patrick Ness tackles weighty questions of life and death head on in this provocative and challenging…

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  • Scarlet Ibis

    Author: Gill Lewis

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Scarlet Ibis

    Author: Gill Lewis

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 7+

    At times heart-rending, this is a powerful story which skilfully gains our sympathy for those who are often misjudged, feared and …

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  • Finding a Voice

    Author: Kim Hood

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Finding a Voice

    Author: Kim Hood

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 10+

    This is an engaging story about the two-way nature of friendship and the risks of making assumptions. The overriding message is up…

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  • The Ghosts of Heaven

    Author: Marcus Sedgwick

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 12+

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  • The Ghosts of Heaven

    Author: Marcus Sedgwick

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 12+

    The Ghosts of Heaven is an excellent book that will open up new avenues of thought and future reading and introduces teenage reade…

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  • My Life on Fire

    Author: Cath Howe

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • My Life on Fire

    Author: Cath Howe

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

    Since her house burned down, Ren has nothing. Surely everyone else deserves to lose stuff too? Friendship and ‘doing the right thi…

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  • Frankie’s World

    Author: Aoife Dooley

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Frankie’s World

    Author: Aoife Dooley

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    This lovely, often funny, relatable and sensitive story about Frankie, a girl with autism, was inspired by the author Aoife Dooley…

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  • Am I Normal Yet?

    Author: Holly Bourne

    Interest level: 14-16

    Reading age: 12+

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  • Am I Normal Yet?

    Author: Holly Bourne

    Interest level: 14-16

    Reading age: 12+

    This is a powerful and engrossing read that successfully informs, shocks, reassures and entertains in equal measures.

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  • Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot

    Author: Horatio Clare Illustrator: Jane Matthews

    Interest level: 8-12

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot

    Author: Horatio Clare Illustrator: Jane Matthews

    Interest level: 8-12

    Reading age: 8+

    This fabulously illustrated book addresses the difficult subject of parental depression, at once describing the horror of Aubrey&r…

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  • The Red Tree

    Author: Shaun Tan

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • The Red Tree

    Author: Shaun Tan

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    The perfect blend of words and pictures, this is a wonderful book to share with anyone suffering from depression or uncertainty

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