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Books to help children understand depression in grown-ups

Brilliant

Reading can be a wonderful way to explore emotions or tricky situations.

If you're a parent or carer with depression, the fiction books below may help your child talk about their feelings and understand what's going on a bit better.

How to use books to talk about depression with your child

  • The Illustrated Mum

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator: Nick Sharratt

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • The Illustrated Mum

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator: Nick Sharratt

    Interest level: 10+

    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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  • 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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  • Lolly Luck

    Author: Ellie Daines

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Lolly Luck

    Author: Ellie Daines

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    Lolly has always been lucky but a series of catastrophes at home threaten both her family life and her experience at school

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  • Brilliant

    Author: Roddy Doyle

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Brilliant

    Author: Roddy Doyle

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    A high-speed, high-adrenaline and highly surreal adventure which deals with the difficult topic of depression with a sensitive, hu…

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  • The Boy in the Tower

    Author: Polly Ho-Yen

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • The Boy in the Tower

    Author: Polly Ho-Yen

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    Taking place in a believable urban, multicultural environment that will be familiar to many young readers, Polly Ho-Yen's debut is…

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  • Panther

    Author: David Owen

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Panther

    Author: David Owen

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 8+

    This is a clever, compelling and very moving novel about the debilitating effects of depression on both the sufferer and those aro…

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  • The Colour Thief

    Author: Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters Illustrator: Karin Littlewood

    Interest level: 4-8

    Reading age: 7+

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  • The Colour Thief

    Author: Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters Illustrator: Karin Littlewood

    Interest level: 4-8

    Reading age: 7+

    Drawing on personal experiences of living in a family blighted by depression, this unusual, yet important, book may help youngster…

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  • Small Things

    Author: Mel Tregonning

    Interest level: 4+

    Reading age: 5+

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  • Small Things

    Author: Mel Tregonning

    Interest level: 4+

    Reading age: 5+

    This brilliant book manages to deal with bullying, fear of being different, frustration at underachieving, and the fact that while…

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  • Mike

    Author: Andrew Norriss

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Mike

    Author: Andrew Norriss

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 10+

    Mike is a smart and humorous take on mental health and figuring out how to follow your own path in life. But it’s also so muc…

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  • Spooks and Scooters

    Author: Elen Caldecott Illustrator: Nathan Reed

    Interest level: 7-10

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Spooks and Scooters

    Author: Elen Caldecott Illustrator: Nathan Reed

    Interest level: 7-10

    Reading age: 8+

    When Flora and Sylvie's holiday with dad is cancelled, they are determined to discover who or what is responsible. Amid the excite…

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  • Joy

    Author: Corrinne Averiss Illustrator: Isabelle Follath

    Interest level: 4-7

    Reading age: 5+

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  • Joy

    Author: Corrinne Averiss Illustrator: Isabelle Follath

    Interest level: 4-7

    Reading age: 5+

    This uplifting tale, which explores the nature of happiness and celebrates the touching relationship between grandparent and child…

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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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  • A Library of Lemons

    Author: Jo Cotterill

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 8+

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  • A Library of Lemons

    Author: Jo Cotterill

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 8+

    Believable, memorable, charming and moving, fans of Jacqueline Wilson's domestic dramas will enjoy this bittersweet story of a fam…

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  • Willy and the Cloud

    Author: Anthony Browne

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 6+

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  • Willy and the Cloud

    Author: Anthony Browne

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 6+

    Former Children's Laureate Anthony Browne adds to his much-loved collection of picture books with a sensitive, supportive explorat…

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