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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Books for younger children: Pre-school to 12 years

Mental health books for pre-school children

The selection of books and materials below has been put together on behalf of the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Faculty based on recommendations received from child and adolescent mental health professionals and members of the FOCUS network around the country. Dr Ian Wilkinson and other colleagues working in the field have also been instrumental in creating the list.



Abandonment by Parent

Flour Babies, Anne Fine
ISBN 0140361472, Puffin Books
For ages 9-12. Participating in a class assignment that calls for the students to watch over flour sacks as if they were babies, Simon learns much about this own family life, including why his father walked out on him.



Eukee Jumpy Jumpy Elephant book coverEukee the Jumpy, Jumpy Elephant, Clifford L. Corman & Esther Trevino
ISBN 0962162981, Partners Publishing Group
For ages 4-8. Eukee is a jumpy hyperactive elephant who moves through the jungle like a tornado, unable to pay attention like the other elephants. He begins to feel sad, but gets help after a visit to the doctor.


Jumpin' Johnny get back to work! A child's guide to ADHD/Hyperactivity, Michael Gordon
ISBN 0962770116, GSI Publications
For ages 6-10. An amusing book for children which tells the story of Johnny and what it is like for him to be impulsive and inattentive, and how his family and school make life easier for him.


My brother's a world class pain. A sibling's guide to ADHD, Michael Gordon
ISBN 092770124, GSI publications
For younger children up to about 10. This story centers on an older sister's efforts to deal with her active and impulsive brother. It sends a message to siblings of an ADHD child that they can play an important role in a family's quest for change.


Putting on the brakes: A Young People's Guide to Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Patricia Quinn and Judith Stern
ISBN 1557987955, Magination Press


Putting on the brakes Activity Book for Young People with ADHD, Patricia Quinn
ISBN 0945354576, Magination Press
For ages 9-12. The book focuses on the feelings and emotions of children with ADHD and suggests specific techniques for gaining control of the situation, becoming better organised, and functioning better at school, home and with friends. The activity book is a companion to the above and allows children to put their understanding of ADHD into action.


Shelley, the Hyperactive Turtle, Deborah Moss
ISBN 093314931X Woodbine House
For ages 4-8. The story of a bright young turtle who's not like other turtles.


Full of Beans, Chris Wever
Shrink-Rap Press Australia PLC
This book explains ADD clearly in simple words and pictures.



IReckless Ruby book cover want my potty, Tony Ross
ISBN 0862641373, Andersen Press

Baby/pre-school level. A little princess, tired of nappies, learns to use the potty, although it is not always easy.


Where the wild things are, Maurice Sendak
ISBN 0099408392, Red Fox
For ages 4-8. Max is sent to bed without supper and imagines sailing away to the land of wild things, where he is made king.


Reckless Ruby, Hiawyn Oram & Tony Ross
ISBN 0006640648, Picture Lions
For ages 4-8. Ruby does anything she can - including crossing canyons on tightropes and dangling from skyscrapers by her shoelaces - to defy her mother's expectations and forge her own identity.



Anger/Stroppy Children

Angry Arthur, Hiawyn Oram
ISBN 0099196611, Red Fox
Arthur's mum won't let him stay up to watch television, so Arthur gets angry, very, very angry until his anger blows the universe into little pies.


Don't rant and rave on Wednesday: the children's anger-control book, Adolph Moser
ISBN 0933849540 Landmark Editions Inc
Thorough discussion of anger, describes common and inappropriate behaviours and suggests ways to control anger and express feelings.



The Crowstarver, Dick King Smith
ISBN 0552546038, Corgi Juvenile
Moving story of a foundling raised by a shepherd in Wiltshire in the 1920's who turns out to have Autism and learning difficulties but an idiot savant capacity for mimicking and communicating with animals.



A Boy and Bear book coverA Boy and a Bear - The Children's Relaxation Book, Lori Lite
ISBN 1886941076, Partners Publishing Group
This book for 3-10 year olds teaches young children how to relax and calm themselves. The book tells the story of a young boy who encounters a polar bear while they are both climbing a snow-covered mountain.


Indigo Dreams Audio CD, Lori Lite
Indigo Dreams is a 60 minute CD/audiobook designed to entertain your child while introducing them to relaxation/meditation techniques. Four unique stories introduce breathing, visualisations, muscular relaxation and affirmations. Children follow the characters along as they learn to manage their own stress, anxiety and energy. The narration is accompanied by healing sounds of nature and an additional music sound track to further enhance your relaxation experience.
ISBN 0970863349,


Sweet Dreams and Monsters, Peter Mayle
ISBN 1556709455 Stewart, Tabori and Chang
A beginner's guide to dreams and nightmares and things that go bump under the bed. An extremely fun book for younger children in discussing dreams and nightmares.


Tim and the blanket thief, John Prater
ISBN 0689318812, Atheneum
For 4-8 years. In the middle of the night, shy, unadventurous Tim courageously pursues and does away with the blanket thief. Triumphantly, he returns home not only with his own security blanket, but also the beloved blankets and toys of a number of other children.



Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
ISBN 0440863562, Corgi Juvenile
For 9-12 years. Ten-year-old Mandy is being tormented by her class mate Kim and her friends.


Death and Dying

Lifetimes book coverGranpa, John Burningham
ISBN 0099434083, Red Fox
Aimed at baby - pre-school children. Adorable Granpa nurses his grand-daughter's dolls, mistakes her strawberry-flavoured ice-cream for chocolate, and falls in with her imaginary plans to captain a ship to Africa.


Lifetimes: a beautiful way to explain life and death to children, Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
ISBN 0553344021, Bantam Books
All ages reading level. This is a simple, yet moving way of helping children understand and cope with death.


Badger's parting gifts, Susan Varley
ISBN 0006643175, Picture Lions
Babies and pre-school children. Badger's friends are sad when he dies but treasure the memories he left. The animals find the strength to face the future with hope.


Nana upstairs and Nana downstairs, Torrie de Paola
ISBN 0698118367, Puffin Books/Penguin
For 4-8 years. Tommy is four years old, and he loves visiting the home of his grandmother, Nana Downstairs, and his great-grandmother, Nana Upstairs. But one day Tommy's mother tells him Nana Upstairs won't be there anymore, and Tommy must struggle with saying good-bye to someone he loves.


Remembering Grandad, Gianni Padoan
ISBN 0859537544, Child's Play (International) Ltd
For 4-8 years. Uses vocabulary to communicate feelings and promotes positive role-modeling. Contributes to the child's awareness and understanding of the world.


Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
ISBN 0440864151, Corgi Juvenile
For 9-12 years. The book talks about a tragic and traumatic experience: the death of a friend.


Fred, Posy Simmonds
ISBN 0099264129, Red Fox
For 4-8 years. This book explores the death and life of a dear cat.


Some of the Pieces, Melissa Madenski
ISBN 0316543241, Little Brown and Company
Story of a family's experience of losing Dad. About working through acceptance and separation. A young boy tells how he deals with his father's death. It describes the various stages of grieving and the healing process.


Come Back, Grandma, Sue Limb
ISBN 0099219514, Red Fox
For 3-8 years. Line and watercolor illustrations and a spare text show the special relationship between a girl and her grandmother. When Grandma dies, Bessie misses her and can't forget her. But when Bessie grows up, marries, and has a baby--who looks and acts "just like Grandma, only a little girl."


Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between, Bryan Mellonie
ISBN 1855617609, Belitha Press
For 4-8 years. There is a beginning and an ending to everything that is alive. In between there is lifetime. It is the same for people as it is for plants, animals and insects.


When Something Terrible Happens: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief, Marge Heegaard
ISBN 0962050237, Fairview Press
For 9-12 years. This book helps children explore feelings in a non-threatening and focused manner.


Another Look at the Rainbow: Straight from the Siblings, Gloria Murray & Gerald G Jamplosky
ISBN 0890873410, Celestial Arts
With drawings and quotes from bereaved brothers and sisters, the editor creates a memorial to the love between siblings. The book brings out not only the sadness, but also the difficult feelings, such as jealousy and guilt that trouble the survivors.



The Suitcase Kid book coverStep by Wicked Step, Anne Fine
ISBN 0140366474, Puffin Books
For 9-12 years. Five children gather around a mysterious diary and share an evening of stories about their lives and trials, discovering common bonds in adversity. This is a story about the effects of divorce and remarriage upon children.


Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
ISBN 0440863112, Corgi Juvenile
For 9-12 years. A hard look at joint-custody life, the book follows Andrea West and her tiny stuffed rabbit, Radish, through the painful adjustment of being a kid with divorced parents.


My Parent's Divorce, Julia Cole
ISBN 0761308695, Copper Beech Books
For 4-8 years. Discusses why divorce happens, how to cope with it, and how to deal with difficult feelings as well as friends whose parents are divorced.



How do I feel about my stepfamily?, Julie Johnson
ISBN 0749636297, Franklin Watts
For 4-8 years. Young people in stepfamilies describe how they cope with having stepbrothers, stepsisters, stepparents and offer tips on dealing with change in your family.



Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? book coverGoodnight, moon, Margaret Wise and Clement Hurd.

ISBN 0333961072, Pan Macmillan

A young bunny rabbit goes through his bedtime routine, bidding goodnight to all of the familiar objects and characters in his room. Addresses toddlers fears of the dark/ going to bed.


We're going on a bear hunt, Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
ISBN 0744523230, Walker Books
For 4-8 years. Have you ever gone on a bear hunt? Come along on this one with a brave young family - four children (including the baby) and their father.


The bear under the stairs, Helen Cooper
ISBN 0552548812, Corgi Juvenile
For 3-7 years. This monster-in-a-closet is a daytime fear. He lurks in corners and under table. William feeds him; with eyes shut tight, he tosses offerings under the stairs until the smell alerts his parents and William explains. Then he and Mom clean out the cupboard.


Can't you sleep, Little Bear?, Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth
ISBN 0744572940, Walker Books
For babies and pre-school children. Terrified of the dark, Little Bear can't sleep. He's frightened of the dark, even with the Biggest Lantern of Them All at his bedside. But Big Bear finds an ingenious way to reassure him.





Feelings, Aliki
ISBN 068806518X HarperCollins
For 4-8 years. About children having difficulty articulating their emotions.


Double Dip Feelings: Stories to help children understand emotions, Barbara S Cain
ISBN 1557988110, Magination Press

Explores the sometimes confusing way that we can have two feelings at the same time.


Feeling Different

Something Else, Katherine Cave and Chris Riddell

ISBN 1572555637. Mondo Publishing.

For 4-8 Years. A little creature is ostracized depite his attempts to fit in, but his experiences enable him to be accepting of others' differences


The Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister
ISBN 1558588167, North-South Books
For 4-8 years. A book about a beautiful fish who learns to make friends by sharing what he prizes most, his beautiful scales.


Reading Lights Comic Books
For 4-7 year olds. Series of four comic books which address in a simple but creative way what it is like to be "different". Each of the books has an animal as its central character; Little Raja - the elephant with the troublesome trunk; Peaches - the puppy who screeches; Streaky - the annoying little piglet; Quackeline - the duck who wanted to be a swan.


Growing Up and Sex

Where did I come from? book coverInto the Great Forest, Irene Wineman Marcus
ISBN 0945354401, Magination Press

For 4-8 years. A story for children away from their parents for the first time, it is a dream adventure in which a young boy overcomes his fears of the first day at school.


Where did I come from?, P Mayle
ISBN 0330331132, Pan Macmillan
This book will help parents share information with their children about sex and where babies come from.




In Care

The Story of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
ISBN 0440864909, Corgi Juvenile
For 9-12 years. 10-year-old Tracy Beaker has been in foster care since she was a baby. She is sure that her mother will come for her someday. In the meantime, she is trying to rope in almost anyone into being her foster parent.


Life Story

Grandma's Bill, Martin Waddell
ISBN 0750003073, Macdonald Young Books
For 4-8 years. A story about tracing your family.



A Fairy Tale book coverAldo, John Burningham
ISBN 0099185016, Red Fox
For 4-8 years. The young story-teller describes her imaginary rabbit friend, Aldo. Good book for children who feel alone.


A Fairy Tale, Tony Ross
ISBN 0099917009, Red Fox
For 4-8 years. Young Bessie hates her life in the dark, dirty mill until she makes friends with old Mrs Leaf who claims to be a fairy. A story about life-long friendship.


The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
ISBN 014036660, Puffin Books
For 9-12 years. Classic story about the orphaned Mary Lennox, lonely and sad, who comes to live at her uncle's great house on the Yorkshire moors, she finds it full of secrets. Outside, she meets Dickon, a magical boy who can charm and talk to animals. With the help of a friendly robin, Mary discovers the most mysterious wonder of all--a secret garden, is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?


Lost And Found

Borka book coverDogger, Shirley Hughes

ISBN 0099267098, Red Fox

For 4-8 years. Story about a boy's stuffed dog who is lost and found again.


Borka: the adventures of a goose with no feathers, John Burningham
ISBN 0099400677, Red Fox
For 4-8 years. The parents of Borka, the goose with no feathers, call the goose doctor and his mother ends up knitting some feathers. Borka becomes upset and is teased and ignored by the other geese. The time comes when all the geese fly away and forget and leave Borka behind.


Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, William Steig
ISBN 0689804172, Simon & Schuster
For 4-8 years. Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester makes a wish that brings unexpected results. Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family and restored to his true self.




In the Attic, Hiawyn Oram
ISBN 0862640741, Andersen Press
For 4- 8 years. Climbing up the rickety ladder of his toy fire truck, a young boy emerges into a marvelous secret world in the attic of his house. Anything can happen, he discovers.



Mental Illness in Parents

The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
ISBN 0440863686, Corgi Juvenile
Story of Dolphin, a young girl living in the wake of her mother's depression, and her sister Star, who is on the verge of adulthood. Both cope with living in a dysfunctional household where the tattoo-crazy mother has real difficulties in coping too.


The Wise Mouse, Virginia Ironside

ISBN 0954512308, Young Minds

For 5 to 11 year-olds, aims to help them understand what is happening to a family member who may be experiencing a mental illness. Simple story about a girl whose mother has a mental health problem and a 'wise mouse' who helps the girl. Children will be encouraged to explore their own feelings about the problem and what it may mean for their family.


New Baby (Not Coping)


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The Secret Problem, Chris Wever
Shrink-Rap Press Australia PLC

A book with clear and simple text and drawings the bring the symptoms and solutions to life.



The Panic Book, Neil Phillips,

Shrink-Rap Press Australia PLC

The 'Panic Book' will tell you a lot about panic and it will tell you how it can be treated and beaten. With clear and simple text and illustrations.


Parents (A Good Read)

NNot Now book coverot Now Bernard, David McKee
ISBN 0582338956, Longman
For all ages. Bernard's parents are always too busy to understand that there is a monster in the garden waiting to eat him.


Come away from the water Shirley, John Burmingham
ISBN 009989940X, Red Fox
For 4-8 years. A look at what goes on in a child's imagination during a trip to the beach.


The best of Michael Rosen, Michael Rosen/Quentin Blake
ISBN 1571430466, Rdr Books
For 4-8 years. Wonderful silly poems for children.


Physical Abuse & Learning Disabilities

Love is Forever, Jean Ure
ISBN 1860397700, Orchard Books
Thirteen-year-old Tracey knows her love for Paul will last forever. Then one day Paul disappears, taking with him his little sister, Lily. Tracey discovers that Lily is handicapped.


Privacy and Avoiding Abuse

A very touching book … for little people and big people, Jan Hindman
ISBN 0961103418, AlexAndria Associates
A useful book for children and parents which approaches the topic of 'secret touching' sensitively.



I want your moo book coverI want your moo: A story for children about self-esteem, Mark Weiner
ISBN 0945354657, Magination Press
Beautifully written and illustrated tale about self-esteem. It features Toodles, the turkey, who despises the sound of her "gobble-gobble".


The Affirmation Web - A Believe in Yourself Adventure paperback, Lori Lite

ISBN 1886941254, Specialty Press
Affirmations or positive statements build self-esteem and empower children to be the best they can. Readers follow a girl and her animal friends as they weave the Affirmation Web. They learn to believe in themselves while replacing negative messages with positive self talk. Children love this feel good story and the positive effect it has on their lives.


Sibling Rivalry

The Tunnel book coverAngus and the Cat, Marjorie Flack
ISBN 0374403821, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

For all ages. Angus the dog is jealous of the cat when he first discovers that he's not an 'only child' anymore.


The Tunnel, Anthony Browne
ISBN 0744552397, Walker Books
For 4-8 years. A brother and sister who are always fighting, discover that their affection for each other is stronger than they thought.



Sleep Problems

The Goodnight Caterpillar - the Ultimate Bedtime Story, Lori Lite

ISBN 0970863314,
Muscular relaxation is essential to a good night's sleep. Children follow The Goodnight Caterpillar as they learn to unwind, relax and see things more clearly. This easy, gentle exercise relaxes muscles throughout the body as anxiety and tension slip away. Children and parents will fall asleep more easily and experience a deeper peaceful night's sleep.


A Boy and a Turtle - The Children's Vizualization Book, Lori Lite

ISBN 0970863306,
Vizualization is an effective technique widely used for achieving sports goals, creating success and attaining wellness. Now children can follow a boy and a turtle as they fill their bodies with colours of the rainbow. Colourful imagery quiets the mind and relaxes the body. Parents as well as children enjoy falling asleep while playing in the field of colours.



Social Issues

The Bed and Breakfast Star, Jacqueline Wilson
ISBN 0440863244, Corgi Juvenile
Now that Elsa' stepfather is out of work, the family have to live in one tiny room at the Royal Hotel. But life starts to look up when things go wrong at the hotel, and Elsa has the chance to be a real star.


Tourette Syndrome


Adam and the Magic Marble book coverAdam and the magic marble, Adam and Carol Buehrens
ISBN 1878267302, Hope Press
A fictional story for children about how 3 boys with disabilities, taunted by peers, find the magical power to cure their disorders.





Twins - Domination of Sibling

Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
ISBN 0440865034, Corgi Juvenile
For 9-12 years. Identical twins learn to deal with tremendous change following the death of their mother


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FR/CAP/GAP/01:  Good mental health services for young people


Values Based CAMHS: What really matters to children & young people


Report of the Values Based CAMHS Commission


Summary document


Position statement: Defining a health-based place of safety (S136) and crises assessment sites for young people under 18


FR CAP 02: Physical health of children and adolescents: what specialist child and adolescent psychiatrists need to know and do


FR CAP 01: Survey of in-patient admissions for children and young people with mental health problems


CR195 When to see a child and adolescent psychiatrist


CR198 Guidance for the use of audio-visual recording in child psychiatric practice


RCPSYCH & Tribunals Judiciary A Guide to Mental Health Tribunals for Young People



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