Mental health is extremely important. As a mom living with bipolar disorder, it’s also important to me on a very personal level to teach my kids about mental health.

Books for kids about mental health help make these conversations a part of our everyday routine.

“Mommy is feeling a little stressed right now, so let’s do a calm activity, please.”

“Daddy doesn’t feel very patient today. Please give him some alone time.”

“Being angry is okay. How do we deal with our anger?”

“It looks like you’re feeling overwhelmed? Why don’t you take some time to calm down in your room?”

“Your friend may have been acting out in class today because they’re dealing with things we don’t understand. Maybe they have a hard time listening or understanding instructions. You shouldn’t allow someone be mean to you, but try to be compassionate and understand why they act that way. Ask the teacher for help if you need it.”

Even when my kids were toddlers, we had similar conversations. They were certainly simpler but effective all the same.

Solutions then might have been, “let’s talk about your feelings” or “stomp your anger away.” Despite their simplicity, though, they were meaningful.

Incorporating these discussions into our daily conversations and bringing into our home more books for kids about mental health has created the foundation for good mental health habits.

Books for Kids About Mental Health

These are some of my favorite books for kids about mental health. Books have been incredibly helpful in making mental health conversations part of our norm.

We read about it together, conversations and questions often follow, and my kids continue to revisit these lessons later.

Sometimes I can even overhear my older two discussing things among themselves using the skills I’ve taught them. Truly, there is little more wonderful than that.

16 Books for Kids About Mental Health - Brave Little Mom - Blog for Moms - Blog for Single Moms

From top to bottom, left to right:


How to Encourage More Emotional Self-Awareness

Emotional awareness is key to managing my own mental health. So it’s natural for me to want to encourage that to develop in my own children.

A few ways to encourage more emotional awareness in kids:

  • Teach your child to meditate and self-reflect.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions and form hypotheses.
  • Ask your child why they reacted a certain way; create a discussion around the “why.”
  • Rather than tell a child to calm down, talk about the emotions they might be feeling and coach them toward a solution.
  • Be an example yourself and deal with stress and overwhelm calmly.
  • Teach solution based approaches to everyday problems.
  • Talk out loud about your feelings and work through conflict constructively.

Recently, I also came across an article that spoke to the sensory system, the interoceptive system, that plays a huge role in that.

I learned that this amazing body system essentially controls how we feel and perceive our internal state, including things like hunger and emotions.

According to Raising an Extraordinary Person, these interoception activities for kids can improve “interoceptive awareness may reduce meltdowns and challenging behaviors, and improve self-regulation.”

Looking for more books for kids?

Check out the Busy Little Book Club, a book and activity subscription for kids, and their live story times in the story time Facebook group.

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Published by Tiffany Barry

Tiffany Barry is a single mom of 4 who never really planned it out that way. Her writing about motherhood, family finances, parenting, and more has been featured on sites like Scary Mommy, Modern Mom, and

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  1. I need to look into these for my daughter. I have serious depression and may help explain my situation better to her.

  2. For little ones, I love Sandra Boynton’s Happy Hippo, Angry Duck. It introduces moods in a fun matter, and the illustrations are adorable!

    1. I feel you! Stay strong momma, and keep moving forward. You are not alone.

  3. Wow, I want all of these books! And I love the prompts of how to talk to kids about different emotions. I definitely need to be more intentional about this.

  4. These some great books here. I have read “The Way I Feel” and some of this I have seen but never really tried to read it. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. As a teacher, I’ve heard of many of these. “The Way I Feel” and “Alexander…” are two of my favorites. Did you know that there’s an adorable song to go along with “Pout Pout Fish”? Careful looking it up, it’s totally catchy and will get stuck in your head!

    1. I had no idea! We love Pete the Cat largely because of the songs that go along with it, so I know we’d love that ❤️

  6. This is great, thanks for sharing! I love reading and so does my children. I’m going to look into these.

  7. I love that society has become more open about mental health and hopefully that means that the stigma that is too often attached can be eliminated. It affects so many people in different ways. What a great list to teach children about the concept at a level they can understand. Thank you for the recommendations.