The challenges we all face adapting to our new circumstances affect us all, including children. Books and sharing stories can help us all to increase our understanding of others and to manage our own feelings better.

The Reading Agency has developed a list of books which can support children to manage their feelings and mental wellbeing. This might be through sharing a story together and asking how some of the characters may be feeling, or reading a self-help style book for older children.

The Reading Well for Children book list ranges from picture books to non-fiction books and is aimed at children aged 7-11. Here are some of our favourites:

Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival
Ruby loves being Ruby. Until, one day, she finds a worry. At first, it’s not such a big worry, and that’s all right, but then it starts to grow. It gets bigger and bigger every day and it makes Ruby sad. How can Ruby get rid of it and feel like herself again?
This is a perceptive and poignant story about anxiety and how a problem shared is a problem halved.

Mindful Me: Exploring Emotions by Paul Christelis
This mindfulness story book for children includes simple mindfulness activities, which have been shown to help relieve stress and anxiety and improve health and mental well-being. Children are gently guided into mindfulness exercises that encourage an exploration of emotions.

Something Bad Happened: A Kid’s Guide to Coping with Events in the News by Dawn Huebner
Full of advice for children who may be worried about events in the news, this guide offers advice for having tough conversations with 6-12 year olds about world events such as natural disasters, terrorism and war. It addresses common questions and provides tools to calm fears.

If you’d like to find out about all of the recommended books on the Reading Well for Children list, see here.

You might also like to explore some other books to help children deal with their emotions. Read Manchester have developed a list with the National Literacy Trust which includes twenty five books to support children from 0-16 years old.

And of course, we’re celebrating Empathy Day on 9 June and the Empathy Lab have a fantastic website with recommended reads and activities. We can develop our empathy through sharing stories and viewing things from a different perspective. One of our favourites at Manchester Libraries is The Boy at the Back of the Class – a compelling and powerful must-read by Onjali Q. Rauf.

Look out for more news from Manchester Libraries too as we’re developing a comprehensive programme for Empathy Week, including activities and storytimes.

For some advice and tips for getting help and support both for your own mental health and with practical issues, try these sites, which include routes to getting support. 

Mental Wellbeing While Staying At Home | Every Mind Matters | One You

Covid-19 and your mental health