As parents, our MAIN priority is making sure that our kids grow up healthy- not just physically but also mentally! Reading is one of the best ways to help children to grow and learn and to utilise their amazing reading skills in general day-to-day life as they get older.
There are countless reasons why reading is so beneficial for children. Firstly, reading sparks your child’s imagination and creativity and stimulates curiosity. Books can take us from one world to another, exploring so many different characters, places and cultures. So through reading, children can gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and cultures that are different from their own. They can also develop their empathy and be able to empathise with other people in the real world. They get a better sense of their emotions, not just of their own but of others, helping with their social development.
So why have we chosen to mention THESE specific books?
The number of books about different topics is INFINITE. You can of course, choose a specific book that you feel will benefit your own child, depending on the circumstance. For example, if your kid is fussy, you’d probably want a book that motivates them to eat healthy wouldn’t you?
Well, in this case we would love to introduce some children’s books that teach morals and can be valuable for kids who are dealing with certain difficulties such as coping with stress, lacking confidence, expressing feelings, general anxieties etc.
BOOKS TO HELP YOUR KIDS MANAGE THEIR EMOTIONS
1. 'Sometimes I Worry Too Much, But Now I Know How To Stop' by Dawn A. Huebner (age 5-10)
This short story is great if you have kids that worry a lot- and I don’t mean normal amount of worrying but excessively, to the point that it gets difficult to do simple things. It provides 3 mechanisms to help children cope with their anxiety and fear and prevent the likelihood of any serious anxiety disorders in their future.
The book has really lovely, adorable illustrations that will keep your child engaged and teach them on a longer term to become more resilient in tackling and overcoming hurdles on their own.
2. ‘Angry Octopus’ by Lori Lite (age 5-10)
The perfect anger-management story for children! This book will teach your kids how to use progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing techniques to calm down, lower stress, decrease anxiety levels and control anger so they are able to deal with tough situations in the future. The vibrant and beautifully coloured illustrations will help children to be engaged in the story. Through this book, your child will learn to manage their emotions and even be able to fall asleep peacefully.
The kids will have fun relating to the characters in this entertaining story, as they learn how the sea child in the story shows the octopus how to do certain exercises that are good for staying calm and managing anger.
3. ‘My Many Coloured Days’ by Dr. Seuss (age 3-5)
This awesome Dr. Seuss book is one of the most popular children's stories that teach a lesson. It has colourful illustrations, with expressive paintings of characters that represent different emotions such as a quiet green fish, a sad purple dinosaur, an angry wolf and many more!
At this very young age, kids start to have a wide range of emotions but may lack the words and understanding to be able to express themselves. This story helps kids to describe their feelings easier, resulting in less meltdowns and normalises the experience of having emotions. It can be used as a resource to make the connection between colours and feelings. Additionally, it teaches kids that emotions don’t define you as a person.
The extra bonus is that this book can help toddlers to learn their colours at the same time! Another thing is that this book can be used as a fun game- every day in the mornings, you can discuss with your child what colour/emotion they would choose to have, encouraging them to choose the positive colours and positive emotions, starting their day in the best way possible!
4. ‘A Terrible Thing Happened’ by Margaret M Holmes (age 5-9)
Listed as one of the Best Children's Books About Mental Health by the Child Mind (R) Institute, this book is about how to overcome a traumatic event.
The story is about a raccoon called Sherman who witnesses something terrible that upsets him, causing him to have anxiety and trouble sleeping. However, the counsellor he sees encourages him to express his feelings and talk about what he’s going through which makes him feel much better.
The book doesn’t exactly specify what the traumatic event is that Sherman witnesses. This is great in a way as it keeps the main focus on your child who is reading the book rather than the character- this makes it easier for children to express themselves about what’s bothering them instead of wondering what’s bothering Sherman. This book will reassure your child that they aren’t alone; they will recover from the difficulties or traumatic experiences they went through and to keep positive as good times will come!
BOOKS THAT TEACH A LESSON ABOUT CELEBRATING DIVERSITY
1. ‘The Day You Begin’ by Jacqueline Woodson (age 5-8)
A heart-warming book about celebrating diversity! This wonderful book teaches children about different races and cultures in a really simple way, while at the same time, really emphasising the importance of diversity. It can really help children to be confident and have more self-esteem as it encourages them to love how they naturally look, where they are from, what they were born with etc.
-Here’s a lovely quote from the book:
‘There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you’.
It’s SO important to teach kids from a young age that its okay to be different- they might feel uncomfortable in the beginning to be in a new place, new situation or look different from the people around them. But children need to be brave and take that step forward and not be pressured by others. There are lots of examples of things kids may not be comfortable with such as having a different skin colour, having financially unstable parents, not speaking English very well or having a disability. It’s amazing how inspiring this story is and how ALL children can really relate to this book.
2. ‘My Brown Skin’ by Dr. Thomishia Booker (age 5-6)
A massively heart-warming and uplifting story that children of colour can relate to and identify with. It’s great to have a book like this, even if your child isn’t necessarily of colour as it teaches all children from a young age that its okay to look different. Unfortunately, some children get teased in school for being a certain colour or for looking a certain way but all children should be equal and treated all the same- they all deserve respect from others.
A truly wonderful book with beautiful illustrations and rhyming sentences encouraging children to embrace themselves for who they are. Every child is unique and special and should be proud of themselves no matter what they look like!
3. ‘What I Like About Me!’ by Allia Zobel Nolan (3-7)
Winner of the Mom's Choice Award! This is the perfect book for boosting your child’s self-esteem! The narrative is from kids in school who celebrate their diversity and talk about what they like about themselves that they would otherwise be usually picked on for- such as frizzy hair, braces, freckles, big ears etc.
Through the fun characters and the catchy rhyming sentences, children are encouraged to love their differences as it makes us all special and unique.
There's also a mirror embedded in the last page which provides the opportunity or kids to look at their own features and talk about what they like best! A great and positive way to end the book!
4. ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio (age 8-12)
This heart-warming story is about a boy called August who was born with a facial deformity that held him back from attending a mainstream school, until he reaches the 5th grade.
The story is written from the point of view of different characters which is great because we see the world in the shoes of other people and we see the struggles people face everyday, with empathy and gaining acceptance from others.
Ultimately, August has his friends and family who help him to overcome the bullying and the hard times. Children can learn a lot from this uplifting story, such as how each person's differences should be celebrated, not criticised. Every child should be proud to be unique and love everything they are born with!
Did you know there is also a movie based on this book that you and your kids can watch? Find out more info about the film here.
BOOKS RELATED TO SPIRITUALITY & A POSITIVE MIND
1. ‘I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids’ by Gabi Garcia (age 5-12)
This inspirational book will motivate your kids to use mindful affirmations, using wonderful words of positivity for support and encouragement when challenges arise. It teaches them about the importance of their inner voice and how it can help them to connect to their inner strength/power.
The lovely illustrations of multicultural characters show children with different ethnicities, religions and abilities in a positive light so that all kids can relate to them. It encourages kids to speak up, to be able to say no to people and to practice kindness. For the difficult situations, it tells kids ‘to listen for that quiet voice inside’ as well as many other great affirmations that can reassure children on a daily basis no matter what they go through. With this book, your child can learn to be brave and confident!
You can find a fun activity guide relating to this book here, as well as exciting posters and colouring pages so your kids can get creative!
2. ‘Meditation for Kids’ by Tejal V Patel (age 4-8)
This book has 40 activities to manage emotions, ease anxiety, and focus. Meditation is wonderful and can help with many problems so it’s even better if kids start meditating from a young age! It helps them to stay in control when they have negative feelings such as sadness, fear, anger etc rather than causing tantrums.
This book contains a variety of simple and short exercises to calm children down, help them focus and generally make them feel better in different situations.
Kids can learn meditation in a fun and easy way. There’s all sorts of activities such as breathing exercises, mindfulness practice, yoga poses and many more. An engaging and entertaining way to help you and your child’s path to inner peace!
3. ‘Good Night Yoga’ by Mariam Gates (age 4-9)
Yoga is a great way to end the night and this book can be added to girls and boys' routine for bedtime, preparing them for sleep. A colourful and eye-catching book with beautiful illustrations teaching children a variety of yoga poses inspired by nature-related characters such as a butterfly, a ladybug and many others.
These techniques will help kids relax and calm their bodies and their minds, giving them a well-rested sleep. It also helps them focus on positivity, preparing them for a lovely morning the next day!
4. ‘Crab & Whale’ by Mark Pallis & Christiane Kerr (age 2-8)
Being mindful helps us cope under stressful situations in a calmer and healthier way, paying more attention and being more patient. So wouldn't it be great kids can do this early on?
This is a lovely book about two characters, Crab and Whale who explore kindness and being able to stay calm during a challenge. This story introduces mindfulness and helps kids to become more aware of their breath, bodies and their emotions. It helps energetic children to focus and relax and is great for kids who struggle with falling asleep or those who have worries.
You and your kids can practice breathing exercises together through the joyful illustrations.
ANYMORE AMAZING BOOKS TO GET FOR MY CHILD?
Unfortunately, there are millions of books that wouldn’t exactly fit in this blog so here is a list of some books that we think can be so beneficial for your child:
- ‘The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep’ by Niels van Hove
- ‘Calm-down Time’ by Elizabeth Verdick
- ‘My Strong Mind’ and ‘My Strong Mind II’ by Niels van Hove
- ‘Yoga Babies’ by Fearne Cotton
- ‘You Are a Lion!: And Other Fun Yoga Poses’ by Taeeun Yoo
- ‘Lola's words disappeared’ by Elaheh Bos
- ‘Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD’ by Holly L. Niner
- ‘Red: A Crayon's Story’ by Michael Hall
- ‘The Invisible String’ by Patrice Karst
- ‘I Miss You: A First Look at Death’ by Pat Thomas
- ‘Tough Guys Have Feelings Too’ by Keith Negley
- ‘In My Heart: A Book of Feelings’ by Jo Witek
- ‘Back to Front and Upside Down’ by Claire Alexander
- ‘Can I Catch It Like a Cold?’ by Centre For Addiction & Mental Health
- ‘Warp Speed’ by Lisa Yee
- ‘Tease Monster’ by Julia Cook
- ‘A Whole New Ballgame: A Rip & Red Book’ by Phil Bildner
- ‘Pilar's Worries’ by Victoria M. Sanchez
- ‘Hector's Favorite Place’ by Jo Rooks
- ‘Don't Feed The WorryBug’ by Andi Green
- ‘Cory Stories’ by Jeanne Kraus & Whitney Martin
So there you have it! The top 12 children's books that teach life lessons and can be absolutely LIFE-CHANGING for your kids! Let us know in the comments below if you’ve purchased any of the books in our list and what you think of them!