Five inspirational books to encourage children that their voice matters as we welcome Children’s Mental Health Week


As we welcome Children’s Mental Health Week from February 5-11, The Works have unveiled their top books to read to children that can promote positive mental health.

Reading can play a hugely important part in encouraging children to relax during difficult periods of their life, offering escapism, protection and inspiration.

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity said, “Cultivating an enjoyment of books and stories from an early age can offer children a strong foundation for healthy emotional development as they grow, providing gentle yet vital support in helping children process how they are feeling.”

This year, Children’s Mental Health Week is themed around “My Voice Matters”, empowering young people to use their voice and share what matters to them.

To encourage young people, Madeline O’Keefe, Children’s Book Buyer at The Works has collated the best books to read to your child that can inspire and emphasise that their voice matters…

Whale Feels Worried by Katie Woolley

“Whale Feels Worried offers a gentle exploration of dealing with worry and anxiety. Following the story of a whale who is worried about her schoolwork, her relationship with her school teacher highlights that it’s ok to make mistakes, placing the importance on, speaking out, learning from mistakes and finding ways to cope with worries.”

Can I Have A Hug by Rosie Greening

“A part of the Worry Monsters series, Can I Have A Hug encourages children to understand that you don’t always need a hug to feel close to loved ones, but communication is key. An important story to help children deal with separation, it encourages and inspires children to reach out to loved ones who may not be around frequently to use their voice and channel their love in other ways such as writing letters, video calling or getting creative.”

Healthy Habits: Elephants Guide to Making Friends by Lisa Edwards

“The Healthy Habits series cover a range of topics that can boost a child’s mental health. Ideally for children around aged four and above, an Elephant’s Guide to Making Friends showcases the value of social engagement and interaction through bold, bright, and humorous illustrations and highlights the value of being a good friend.”

Little People, Big Dreams collection by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

“Little People, Big Dreams tell the story of many figures throughout history and can really inspire children to follow their dreams. The collection varies from sports people to movie stars and musicians, to trailblazers such as Amelia Earhart and Rosa Parks. It’s the definitive collection on why everybody’s voice matters and that everyone can achieve what they want to with hard work and determination.”

The Smeds and The Smoos by Julia Donaldson

“Highlighting that everybody matters and our voice is valued regardless of how we look, The Smeds and The Smoos is a gentle and fun way to educate around equality. It’s a story of love, adventure and togetherness between a young red Smed and a young blue Smoo, a group of people who don’t usually mix.

It’s a book that has all the hallmarks of a great Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler read, and a real classic from her catalogue.”

Madeline, continued: “Studies have shown that children who read for pleasure earlier in life have a better mental wellbeing, showing fewer signs of stress and depression, while also reducing behavioural problems and improved attention.

They added, “A good read can provide the base for many of the values we hold as we develop in life, increasing confidence, learning about the world and developing empathy and emotional awareness that provides an understanding that it’s not just your own voice that matters, but also that everybody else’s does too.”

You can find a range of books to read that can benefit a child’s mental health during Children’s Mental Health Week and beyond by visiting:

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