Books & resources for children

The following is a list of recommended books and resources for children. The Location(s) available column shows where these books are available, eg, from your local Christchurch City Library (CCL) and/or from the Mental Health Education and Resource Centre (MHERC).

Books can be reserved online and checked out by visiting CCL or MHERC. If a book is not available, a librarian may be able to suggest another book or place a hold on a book. To borrow or place a hold on a book, you must be a member of the library. MHERC can post books and other resources out to its users, including those living in rural areas, and will include a post-paid bag for returning books. Once read, books need to be returned to the library.

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CoverTitle & AuthorDescriptionYearLocation(s) available
Wishes and Worries

By Sarina Dickson
Subject: Anxiety, part-one

This book is designed to be read aloud in the classroom, and then used in conjunction with the exercises aligned to address mild to moderate anxiety in children. Part two is Maia and the Worry Bug.


Maia and the Worry Bug

By Julie Burgess-Manning
Subject: Anxiety, part-two

This resource is designed to help families with mild to moderate anxiety manage their worries. After reading the story with your children, you will find exercises based on narrative and cognitive behavioural therapy principles to help you start talking about worry in your family.


Quaky Cat

By Diana Noonan & Gavin Bishop
Subject: Earthquake issues

In the aftermath of the earthquake, Noonan decided to do her part to help quake victims the only way she could - by writing a story for children about what happened that morning from the perspective of a bright orange cat called Tiger. Tiger wakes just before the earthquake strikes and bolts out of the house, looking for safety as the town rolls, shakes and rumbles all around him. Lost and lonely, he searches for his owner Emma in the chaos after the quake. A sweet and moving story, Quaky Cat acknowledges the scary and sad experiences children went through during and after the earthquake but also ends with a hopeful and reassuring message for those children and their families left homeless by the quake.

Worry Magic

By Dawn McNiff

Subject: Worrying

Dawn McNiff tells a wonderful story of a girl learning she doesn’t have to shoulder the world’s problems on her own and that sometimes asking for help is all you can do. This is a great book for middle grade readers and young teens, especially those who tend to be worriers themselves.


Worries are Like Clouds

By Shona Innes
Subject: A story depicting worries as clouds

Worries are like clouds that float on in and take the shine out of the day.” Designed for younger children to give options for when the worry clouds get overwhelming. Includes useful information at the back for parents

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears

By Emily Gravett
Subject: A little mouse with fears

Young children will identify with the little mouse who uses the pages of this book to document his fears - from loud noises and the dark, to being sucked down the plughole. Packed with details and novelty elements including flaps, die-cuts and even a hilarious fold-out map, this is an extraordinary picture book.

A Terrible Thing Happened

By Margaret Holmes
Subject: Experiencing trauma

Sherman saw a terrible thing. At first everything is Ok but then he starts to worry, to act out and feel nervous for no reason. A useful book for young children who have experienced trauma and may need to see a therapist. An afterword for parents give suggestions on how to use the book

Healing Days: A Guide for Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma

By Susan Farber Straus

Subject: Experiencing trauma and abuse

A sensitive and reassuring book for children who have experienced trauma, the subtext is around sexual abuse but it could be used for other types of trauma. Introduces the idea of going to a therapist and using story and drawing to work through the issues.


Big Red and the Little Bitty Wolf: A Story About Bullying

By J F Ransom
Subject: Bullying

Big Red Riding Hood has been bullying Little Bitty Wolf since she moved into the neighbourhood and his parents' advice does not help, but their school counselor, Mr. Know-It-Owl, makes a comment that just might set things right.

ACE - A Horsey Tail of Courage

By K Cook
Subject: Bullying

A cute wee horse called Ace has bucket-loads of talent and big dreams. He also has a big problem. Well, three problems, actually – the three horses at Clip-Clop School who bully Ace every day. But help is at hand, or hoof, in the shape of Holly from the Crusaders Bayleys Horses. She's Ace's hero and she knows exactly what to do to make the bullying stop. And so, just as with every great story with a powerful message, Ace: a horsey tail of courage has a happy ending. Bayleys, together with Bullying-Free NZ, have created a charming children's storybook that reminds us that every child matters, and that the first step to change for good is to talk about it.

Made by Raffi

By C Pomranz
Subject:Bullying, anxiety and resiliency

Raffi is a shy boy who doesn't like noisy games and is often teased at school. But when he gets the idea of making a scarf for his dad's birthday he is full of enthusiasm, even though the other children think it is girly to knit. Then the day draws near for the school pageant, and there is one big problem no costume for the prince. And that's when Raffi has his most brilliant idea of all to make a prince's cape. On the day of the pageant, Raffi's cape is the star of the show.

The Wolf is not Invited

By A McDonald

Subject: Bullying, anxiety and resiliency

Wolfgang is left heartbroken when his best friend Catreen runs off without him to play with Clarissa. Spider shows Wolfgang how to make his own fun and in doing so, he realises that there are many great friends just waiting to be met.

Feel a Little: Little Poems about Big Things

By J Palmer
Subject: Communicating Emotions

Animated rhymes and colourful illustrations helping children (and their grown ups!) talking about emotions. This is a book to come back to again and again, whether you feel a little nervous, happy, angry or just plain silly!

The Sound of Silence

By K Goldsaito
Subject: Values

Yoshio delights in the everyday sounds of Tokyo, but when a musician tells him that her favourite sound is ma, the Japanese word for silence, Yoshio sets out to hear this sound for himself among the hustle and bustle of the city. Includes information on the Japanese concept of ma.
Rising Tide

By S Dickson
Subject: Self Belief, Worry, Family

To most people, Ari McInnis is just an ordinary kid. And that's just the way Ari likes it, because he's got some secrets that he doesn't want to share -- not with anybody. But then something happens that threatens to expose Ari's secrets to everyone... Uses a story format that explores themes of worry, family bounds, self-belief, resilience and self-doubt. Includes notes and exercises for parents.

Release the Beast

By R S Zunde
Subject: Anger

Release the Beast is a picture book text in which a child responds to controlling adults by unleashing his imaginary beast. In the style of Sendak, Release the Beast seeks to give children a healthy outlet for anger and frustration.

Oku Moe Moea: The dream which is bigger than I am

By S Hammond Boys
Subject: Personal Story

Story traces the dilemmas of a young Māori artist as he struggles to come to terms with his relationships, talents and future. Born with an abundance of creativity and living without a mentor in an isolated area, he becomes increasingly alienated from others. He struggles with feelings of uncertainty and doubt which plague his efforts to engage in his talents as he wrestles with whether they can drive his future.
Don't Think About Purple Elephants

By S Whelan & G Jones
Subject: Anxiety & Stress

Between the ages of 12 and 24, the brain changes in important, and oftentimes maddening and challenging ways. In this book, the author, a psychiatrist busts a number of commonly held myths about adolescence. He shows that, if parents and teens can work together to form a deeper understanding of the brain science behind all the tumult, they will be able to turn conflict into connection and form a deeper understanding of one another. According to the author, during adolescence we learn important skills, such as how to leave home and enter the larger world, how to connect deeply with others, and how to safely experiment and take risks, thereby creating strategies for dealing with the world's increasingly complex problems. Here he presents an inside-out approach to focusing on how brain development affects our behavior and relationships. Drawing on important new research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology, he explores exciting ways in which understanding how the brain functions can improve the lives of adolescents, making their relationships more fulfilling and less lonely and distressing on both sides of the generational divide.

What to do when you worry too much

By Dawn Huebner
Subject: Anxiety

Teaches school-age children cognitive-behavioral techniques to reduce and overcome anxiety, fears, and worry, through writing and drawing activities and self-help exercises and strategies. Includes introduction for parents.

Introducing Teddy

By Jessica Walton
Errol and his teddy, Thomas, are best friends who do everything together. Whether it's riding a bike, playing in the tree house, having a tea party or all of the above, every day holds something fun to do together. One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad, and Errol can't figure out why. Then Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: 'In my heart, I've always known that I'm a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.' And Errol says, 'I don't care if you're a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.' A sweet and gentle story about being true to yourself and being a good friend, Introducing Teddy can also help children understand gender identity.2016CCL


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