'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 19 May 2012

Guest Post: Mental Health Books for Kids with Karen Tyrrell

Kids Book Review is delighted to welcome author Karen Tyrrell, on tour with her brand new book Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness. Here, Karen gives us insight into a fabulous array of children's books that promote mental wellbeing. We at KBR strongly feel that an early understanding of mental illness is a vital component in both dealing with and supporting this prevalent health issue. Take it away, Karen!

When I was a primary teacher, parents at my school harassed me to breaking point and beyond. After I was released from a psyche hospital, I wrote my gutsy memoir, Me & Her: a Memoir of Madness, sharing my strategies to recovery.

I’ve since become a writer for children and a passionate mental health advocate.

After I recovered, I returned to teaching. I taught my beloved year two class mental health strategies, to strengthen their emotional resilience. I advocate that parents, teachers and librarians support children on how to cope with the stresses of life. Reading and discussing these books will strengthen their resilience . . .

Top 5 Aussie Mental Health Books for Kids

1.      Big and Me by David Miller  
Big and Small are machines that work together as a team. But some days Big goes a bit wobbly, and Small gets worried. Big malfunctions in a variety of ways and Small tries to help with the assistance of The Boss and Mechanic. The story is a metaphor for a child living with an adult who suffers from mental illness. Big and Me is dramatically illustrated with paper sculpture.

2. Go Away, Mr Worry Thoughts! by Nicky Johnson
Brayden is plagued by the worry monster so much he has trouble enjoying playtime and concentrating on important things. Then Brayden discovers his super power … his ability to control Mr Worry Thoughts.

3. The Glasshouse by Paul Collins and Jo Thompson
Clara lives in her balanced world where everything is perfect. Her glasshouse is free of bugs, her prized pumpkins free of blemishes. But then one day a boy walks into her life and slowly Clara realises that her world is not perfect at all. Her paranoia spreads and she loses all her customers. Finally, she must face up to the realisation that her world is not perfect, and she must make allowances and compromise if she is to survive.

 4. The Worry Tree by Marianne Musgrove
Juliet’s a worrywart and surrounded by problems. Her little sister singing 'The Irritating Song' all day long. Her parents always arguing. Nana starts barbecuing things in the middle of the night. Her friends start a competition to see which of them is Juliet's best friend. Juliet can’t fit in any more worries! Behind the wallpaper in her bedroom Juliet discovers The Worry Tree, and with the help of a little imagination Juliet learns to solve some of life’s big problems.

5. Stomp Out the ANTs by Sally-Anne McCormack
Clinical psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack's book gives strategies for dealing with ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts). Ideal for those children with depression, anxiety or stress!

I urge you as a parent, teacher or librarian to share these books with your children.

Learn more about Karen and her book Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness at www.karentyrrell.com.

Want to win one of two FREE copies of Karen's Me & Her eBook? Click here to enter!