Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions experienced by children but it can be a difficult topic to discuss with someone who is too young to put their feelings in to words. This book uses the metaphor of a monster, albeit a friendly yellow one, to help kids understand.
At the start of the story a young boy introduces his monster and explains that it has been around for as long as he can remember. It’s large, loud and bossy, and it often gets in his way when he’s trying to enjoy himself. When his parents are around the monster hides so he doesn’t feel like he can talk to them about it, but he really wishes it would go away.
One day it all becomes too much and he opens his heart to his grandmother. In tears, he tells her all about the intolerable monster and how it just won’t leave him alone – but as he talks, something special happens. The monster starts to shrink! As the words tumble from his mouth the monster gets smaller and smaller until eventually he can pick it up and pop it in his pocket. Although he knows the monster will always be there, the little boy now knows that he is in control rather than the other way around.
February 3-9 2020 is Children’s Mental Health Week so we thought we’d take the opportunity to share our favourite books which focus on understanding and managing emotions.
The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas
A clever book which equates emotions to colours and explains how you shouldn’t bottle them up.
Read the full review
The Worrysaurus by Rachel Bright & Chris Chatterton
Written in perfect rhyme with utterly charming illustrations, this is a wonderful book to set the minds of little worriers at ease. As the Worrysaurus works through his fears he shares lots of little tricks that he uses to make himself feel better.
Read the full review
If you’ve been following Ivy’s Library for a while you’ll know I’m really passionate about books which help small children to understand and verbalise their feelings. I’m also a huge fan of author Rachel Bright, so when The Worrysaurus landed on our doorstep I was really excited. Ivy was instantly entranced by the title character – an adorable little red dinosaur with a tiny green backpack – and demanded we read it right away!
The Worrysaurus is a planner and a worrier (to be honest, he’s a lot like me!). When he decides to go on a picnic he organises it all in his advance. He plans out a route, he packs all of the things he might need in to his trusty bag and then he heads out in to the sunshine.
However it’s not long before his brain starts to itch. What if he didn’t pack enough to drink? What if he gets lost on the way? Slowly his happy mood starts to slip away and anxiety creeps in. When a little lizard warns him that there might be a storm poor Worrysaurus starts to panic. He’s not prepared for rain!
This is a book about baby loss so if this topic is a trigger for you then please do not read any further———————————————-
When someone dies, children will naturally have a lot of questions and reading books together is a great way of helping them understand. I’ve come across quite a few whilst writing my blog and it seems that most focus on the death of an older relative. But what happens when the lost loved one was just a child themselves?
This beautiful book, published by SANDS – the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity, is designed to help small children work through their grief. Written to help author Sam Kitson’s own children understand the death of their sibling, the book follows a conversation between Minnie and Moss as they contemplate where in the universe their sister might be.
“Time to help!” thinks Stephen Sprout. ” I know a way to sort this out…”
Love them or hate them, sprouts are an essential part of Christmas, and the sprout in this book is extra special. Stephen is a sprout of kindness!
Whenever he sees a child in distress, Stephen knows just what to do. He helps a lost girl find her friend. He makes sure everyone gets a turn on the swings. He helps people understand how to share. He even gently helps someone overcome their fear of the water. Stephen spreads kindness wherever he goes and his friendly enthusiasm is infectious.
We love this gorgeous little board book and it’s been requested repeatedly since it arrived. The rhyming text is super tight which makes it really fun to read aloud and the brightly-coloured illustrations have lots of lovely detail.
When a child is going through a difficult transition or is about to experience something new, the first thing we do is look for a book which can help guide them through it. That’s easy enough if you want to talk about starting school or moving house, but there are some topics which just aren’t covered in mainstream books – like adoption.
Written by an adoptive Dad, ‘The Blanket Bears’ follows two little cubs as they go through every step of the adoption process.
When we first meet the bears they are cold, alone and losing their fur. They are found by Tilly, a social worker bear, and taken to a foster home to be looked after until a Forever Home can be found for them. Their foster carers look after them very well and make them adorable little onesies out of blankets to keep them warm until their fur grows back. Eventually a Forever Family is found for the bears and they slowly make the transition to their new home.
Ivy is an extremely picky eater so I like to keep an eye out for books which might encourage her to expand her tastes a little. Results are generally a bit hit and miss but we have had some success with this one so I wanted to share it with you.
The child in the story loves dinosaurs but absolutely does not like broccoli! She refuses to try it or even touch it because she thinks it looks yucky. But mum steps in with a thought which makes her think twice. She cleverly points out that broccoli looks like tiny trees and dinosaurs like to eat trees…
The girl (who is dressed in a dinosaur costume) asks if her toy dinosaur can try it first – and together they take baby steps towards a first mouthful of broccoli.
We were lucky enough to meet the lovely Chitra Soundar at an event at Moon Lane Ink last year so I was very happy when Lantana Publishing invited us to be part of the book tour for her newest title – You’re Strong With Me.
This is the third book in a trilogy, all of which feature beautiful illustrations from Poonam Mistry. The previous books in the series are You’re Safe With Me and You’re Snug With Me and each one focuses on the wonderful bond between parent and child.
In this story we follow a mother giraffe and her calf through a day in the wild. The little giraffe encounters many things which make her scared or uncomfortable, like a hissing fire and a bird which pecks at her fur, but her mother is always there to reassure and comfort her.
The Good Egg is the kind of person everyone likes to have around. He rescues cats from danger, he offers to carry your groceries, change a tire for you, water your plants when you’re on holiday and even help you paint your house. He’s the kind of friend who you know will always be there in your time of need.
The problem is, being so good all the time can really take it’s toll. The other eleven eggs in his carton aren’t very well behaved so it always falls to the Good Egg to keep the peace and be, well, good.
The poor little guy ends up exhausted and small cracks begin to appear in his shell. He realises that putting all of this pressure on himself to be good is literally causing him to crack up.
Remi the rambutan is feeling sad. All the other fruit at the market is being quickly snapped up by customers, but when people see his spiky exterior they just stare and point. He begins to wonder if there is something wrong with him. Maybe he just tastes really bad and that’s why no one wants to choose him!
The little fruit feels utterly dejected, but a chance encounter with a cactus sets him on a different path. The wise succulent explains to Remi that what other people say or do isn’t important. He just needs to stop comparing himself to others, focus on his own special magic and learn to love himself.