As a former teacher, I’m always looking for fun ways to educate kids (because boring is boring). Of course, my idea of fun is probably not a toddler’s (or teen’s) idea of fun (like, you know R-E-A-D-I-N-G). But as with the “Harry Potter” phenomenon, we know that kids do actually like to read, sometimes.
In honor of Mental Health Month, I rounded up five young children’s books that center around mental health and emotional growth–because it’s never too early to begin teaching your kids how to balance their feelings.
Here are some of my favorites:
1. “Grumpy Pants” by Claire Messer
Dedicated to “anyone who has hissy fits,” this book teaches young kids how to be optimistic and look on the bright side–and understand that a bad day doesn’t have to stay that way.
2. “The Fox and the Star” by Coralie Bickford-Smith
This book portrays the story of Fox, who is very lonely, and Star, who guides him through the dark forest. When Star suddenly goes out one day, Fox has to make new friends and be brave enough to be alone sometimes–this story teaches children that it’s OK to feel alone, but to also reach out for support.
3. “Be a Friend,” by Salina Yoon
Dennis is a boy who expresses himself in different ways, like miming. Because of this, though, he feels lonely often, until he meets Joy. He and Joy become good friends, which also allows him to accept who he really is and feel special. This book teaches kids that it’s OK feeling different–and that friendship can make us feel loved.
4. “Everyone,” by Christopher Silas Neal
This book allows kids to explore how they actually feel, and understand that having an array of emotions (especially unpleasant ones) is healthy. It also promotes empathy, as it will enable the young readers to understand how and why someone else may feel a certain way.
5. “Purplelicious,” by Victoria Kann
A follow-up to the ever popular “Pinkalicious,” this book teaches kids about the ramifications of teasing–and that being different, and having different interests, is not something to feel ashamed of. Pinkalicious loves the color pink, but all the girls at school like black, which makes them tease her. This makes her sad–but what is she going to do?