Books about Mental Health for Children and Teens

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and with all that is going on in the world here’s a selection of novels, both new and old, which focus on mental health and helps normalize care for difficult emotions for readers of all ages.

Out of a Jar by Deborah Marcero and A Blue Kind of Day by Rachel Tomlinson are critically acclaimed picture books about acknowledging and understanding overwhelming emotions, and learning how to express or address them in healthy ways. Hattie Harmony: Worry Detective by Elizabeth Olsen (of Marvel fame!) and Robbie Arnett is a lovable cat detective that they wrote to “create a relatable character who made talking about complicated feelings fun and engaging for kids.”

Middle grade readers can learn more about normalizing therapy and mental health struggles #1 NYT bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’ What About Will, a story about difficult family dynamics. Rebekah Lowell’s debut novel in verse doesn’t shy away from difficult topics like domestic violence and the lasting effects of trauma in The Road to After. Newbery Award winner, Katherine Applegate’s new book, Zia Erase the World, injects humor while covering the difficult topic of childhood depression.

Revisit John Green’s critically acclaimed and bestselling Turtles All the Way Down before you watch the HBO Max Exclusive! Or explore the difficult intersection of high school, bullying, and womanhood in Hayley Krischer’s The Falling Girls or Estelle Laure’s Practice Girl  Ψ