By Author / Illustrator
The School of Life, Lizzy Stewart
Mental Health & Wellbeing
The School of Life Press
An essential guide to help children become more aware of their emotional needs.
This book examines a range of everyday topics that might give children's minds difficulties, for example: when parents don't seem to understand us; when we fall out with friends; when school feels boring or difficult; when we're too busy and get overwhelmed; when our phones create trouble; when we feel sad, bored, anxious or fed up with things.
As an atlas to a child's mind, we explore a range of common scenarios encountered by young children and talk about some of the very best ideas to help deal with them. By offering a sympathetic and supportive framework, we encourage children to open up, explore their own feelings and face the dilemmas of growing up armed with emotional intelligence.
Happy, Healthy Minds: A Children's Guide to Emotional Wellbeing is a must-have - a must-have for schools, parents and, most importantly, for children. It's a manual for how to deal with all the stuff that life throws at us and we sometimes don't know how to deal with. It is written in clear and concise sections dealing with a huge spectrum of topics, all relevant to today's young people.
I liked so much how this book didn't claim to have the actual answers but instead made observations, raised questions and, without preaching or claiming to know best, steered the reader to their own realisations. There is no technical, off-putting language; no acronyms or science babble. It is a book that reads like a best friend having an honest chat. It brings comfort and reassurance in its straight talking, explanations.
Organised into short, easily digestible sections, Happy Healthy Minds covers issues around friends, self, parents, school and rather uniquely, screens. With quirky illustrations and thought bubbles, this is a book for dipping in to when you need to know that "it's OK". I think that that is the key message of the book - "it's OK" - Ok to be different, OK to feel worried, OK to make mistakes. And whilst it reassures the reader that it is OK and perfectly human to have worries etc, it also helps to shed a light on why we have those feelings.
There is much empathy and sensitivity within the pages. The section on bullying is particularly well-written, drawing parallels with the story of Androcles and the lion to suggest why a bully might be in pain and in need to 'roar'.
This is a great book for parents who want 'to get better at the things they are not getting right'. It offers a fresh way of looking at, and explaining, issues that we face with our children.
I'm going to make certain that there is a copy of Happy Healthy Minds in my school library and I'm going to have a copy at home because we all need the support of a straight-talking, sympathetic friend when we are feeling troubled.
176 pages / Ages 8-14 / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+