In light of recent headline-making events, it may be time to add mental wellness books to the STEM books in your school and classroom library.
Students are constantly hearing about tragedies happening in schools from the news, such as school shootings. Even stories about bullying, racism, and violence that have led to horrible consequences are becoming more common. Teachers can help prevent such disasters by focusing on children’s mental and emotional well-being, which can be as simple as having a classroom discussion about inclusion or sharing a book about empathy. Consider adding these mental wellness books to your collection and recommending them to your students at every age and in every subject.
Perfect for young readers (preschool to third grade) thanks to its reliance on illustrations, this story by Kevin Henkes follows a mouse named Chrysanthemum. Although she loved her long name, she is teased by classmates about it. By the end of the story, with the help of a teacher, Chrysanthemum rediscovers the beauty of her name.
The mental wellness book is relatable, as many children have been called names or made fun of for something they can’t help. It has sold more than a million copies and was named a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association.
Perfect for the classroom’s sports-obsessed future star! Author Kwame Alexander expertly encourages and motivates young students to face obstacles head-on and overcome them using wisdom from famous figures of the athletics world. Once students know the rules of this game called life, they’ll be able to navigate it.
We all sometimes wish life came with instructions. This fun book can assist kids in navigating universal experiences by helping them understand some rules they can live by.
Alexis O’neill’s children’s book, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith, deals with another relatable topic: the schoolyard bully who makes recess a terror for everyone. Through a fun rhyme, it’s told how Mean Jean’s position is taken over by a new student who isn’t afraid of her. After Mean Jean is extended an invitation to play with the new girl, recess is fun for all again.
There’s always a child left out of a game or a student dominating the show at recess, so this is a great way to share the message that this time is more fun when everyone is included. It also shows that bullies are sometimes lonely and just looking for a friend.