Mental Health Awareness Week

For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme is kindness, a quality that is particularly relevant during these challenging times. Kindness is an antidote to isolation; it cultivates solidarity; it develops a crucial sense of community. And whilst it is important that we are kind to others, we must also remember to be kind to ourselves. This wonderful selection of titles from Hachette will equip children and young people with the tools, guidance, and reassurance to manage their mental wellbeing.

My Monster and Me by Nadiya Hussain

This charming picture book speaks powerfully from Nadiya’s own personal experience with panic disorder. No child should suffer in silence. My Monster and Me is a comforting tale with playful illustrations from Ella Bailey that will encourage children to share their worries. It tells the story of a little boy and his worry monster who follows him everywhere – and sometimes even stops him from doing the fun things he wants to. The little boy learns how speaking to a trusted adult about his anxieties helps keep his monster in check. This engaging tool will empower children to manage their own monsters and find the support to help them through life. Perfect for fans of Ruby’s Worry.

Find your Girl Squad by Dr Angharad Rudkin and Ruth Fitzgerald

Friendships are perhaps the most enduring relationships of our lives – and the most difficult to get right! Poppy keeps a daily video diary about her life and friendships, submitting her experiences to the Squad Finders who offer her assurance and practical advice. Find Your Girl Squad gives guidance on all manner of friendship related issues: how to handle bullies, swirling rumours, and cliques, just to name a few. Angharad and Ruth also stress the importance of communication, flexibility and speaking out. Above all, Find Your Girl Squad teaches us how we must be true to ourselves, and only give our love and attention to those who are grateful for it. With quirky illustrations by Sarah Jennings to complement the text, this is a fun and informative read.

You Got This by Bryony Gordon

A bible for any teenage girl – this should be required reading! Journalist Bryony Gordon has

delivered a bold, brilliant, and very timely book of sound life advice. Leaving no facet of life untouched, she addresses everything from exams and friendships to self-image and sexuality with wit and humour. Bryony’s style is chatty and accessible, and her advice is informative without ever being condescending. The chapters revealing the mental health issues Bryony faced in her teenage years - and in some cases still continues to manage – are particularly relevant today. With a focus on self-love, this is an open and affirming guide any teenage girl would appreciate.

Keep Your Cool by Dr Aaron Balick

Full of rationalising and grounding techniques, this title provides comprehensive guidance on navigating the pressures of the modern world. For everything from exam panic to family strife (perhaps topical in lockdown!), Dr Aaron Balick has an exercise to help you feel in control. With the help of Clotilde Szymanski’s vibrant illustration, Keep Your Cool explains the psychology of stress and negative thinking. With advice on how to manage the side effects of social media and time management, this is an endlessly relevant book to help young people through this new way of life.

Every one of these titles is a fantastic resource for children and young adults to explore, especially when Mental Health Awareness Week has passed. I hope these suggestions bring comfort and advice, and maybe even inspire you on your own mental wellbeing journey.

Stay safe!

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