Imagine your way toward better mental health with these immersive reads highlighting allyship, self-care, and healing.

Young Readers
The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
When all the other animals tell Taylor how he should feel and what he should do after his tower falls, the rabbit listens. A heart-warming reminder of the power of empathy and
open ears.

Whatifs by Emily Kilgore
Cora’s “whatifs” take all the fun out of her day and replace it with worry, until a friend helps her reimagine her wonderings. This fun intro to cognitive therapy concludes with an author’s note about her own childhood anxiety.

When Sadness is at Your Door by Eva Eland
When sadness arrives like an unexpected guest that won’t leave you alone, this gentle guide suggests creative ways to make the visit more pleasant for everyone.

Middle Grade
Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Della and Suki have just entered foster care, but the unfamiliar home and new school worry Della less than the strange way her sister is acting. As Suki’s hidden trauma drives her to a devastating act, Della must find the words to fight for herself, her sister, and her friends. Written by a survivor with input from child psychologists, Fighting Words honestly and engagingly explores foster care, trauma, sexual assault, suicide, and playground harassment with humor and hope, and is best suited for ages 10+.

Isaiah Dunn is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist
Isaiah harnesses the power of creativity and community to find his voice while dealing with grief, housing instability, and parental addiction.

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
Everwood is Finlay’s haven from her depression, anxiety, and family drama. But when her imaginary hideaway turns out to be a real place with problems of its own, Finlay learns that she can’t save the kingdom without first saving herself.

Young Adult
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
A secret web-comic superstar and her real-life anxiety collide in this fantastical rom-com about fandom, friendship, and family. Filled with fabulous art and valuable lessons, this book is a great way for teens to explore the many ways we find and lose ourselves online.

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram
This sequel to the must-read Darius the Great is Not Okay proves that everything you thought you wanted isn’t always enough. Home from Iran with his first boyfriend, dream job, and a spot on the soccer team, Darius still deals with depression, cross-culture relationships, bullying, body image, consent, and boundaries with plenty of tea, Star Trek, and charm.

Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim
Anna Chiu has no words to talk about her mother’s wild moods–not to her father, school counselor, or even herself. But when her father’s new delivery boy honestly shares his own hospitalization, Anna begins to see her situation in a new light.

All-ages
The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember by Fred Rogers
Some days we all need a kind reminder that our feelings are okay, and that every part of us is liked.

 

Meg Davis Shipp works in Youth Services at New Orleans Public Library. Recommending amazing books for kids and teens is the best part of her job.

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