itemscope="" itemtype="" > Mental Health Awareness Month - Children' Book Review, Multicultural, Diverse, Inclusive Books, Hot Off The Press!

Mental Health Awareness Month

Books on Social Emotional Skills

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Whatever Comes Tomorrow
By Rebecca Gardyn Levington,  Illustrated by  Mariona Cabassa
Just like we adults do, children often express trepidation about the uncertainties and what to expect ahead in life. The book Whatever Comes Tomorrow, is about embracing the unexpected, leaving behind your fears and believing in yourself.

The author uses lyrical rhyming text and inspiring words to motivate young readers. The skilled use of contrasting phrases in the book, shows how life is naturally filled with unpredictable situations.

For young readers who are just beginning to read, a picture can be worth a thousand words. The book comes with captivating illustrations filled with pensive gazes, reflective thoughts, and the rejoicing after enduring the unknown. The peaks and valleys towards the ups and downs in life are depicted in the form of a roller coaster.  Author’s note at the end includes tips for managing worries, like calming your body, or practicing square breathing, and making a worry plan.

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The Sound of Kindness
By Amy Ludwig Vanderwater,  Illustrated by Teresa Martinez
To young children, values like kindness, empathy, or compassion can sometimes be beyond their perception.

The Sound of Kindness is a promisingly uplifting book, with succinct rhyming lyrics precisely focusing on the words that we choose to be kind to each other. It introduces the concept of a kindness walk, where a father and a son go for a walk in their neighborhood, focusing on sounds of kindness.

The book depicts the words, the deeds, and the choices that kind people make, which in turn creates a significant difference in someone else’s life. The book and its pleasant illustrations will harness the strength of kind words and actions and lay down the foundation for social emotional skills in children. The book also nurtures the importance of paying attention to and listening closely to the sounds and people around us.

The informative author’s note guides the readers about various possibilities of kindness walks like the quiet kindness walk, nature kindness walk, or the literary kindness walk. We recommend this book to parents and teachers to further instill kindness in our children, starting from a young age to help cultivate a kind community.  

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Good Night Body, Finding Calm From Head to Toe
By Britney Win Lee,   Illustrated by Borghild Fallberg
Good night Body is a perfect read together and read along book to soothe, calm, and relax the body and to get ready for sleep time.

The book introduces the concept of body scanning, where the author Britney Win Lee urges her readers to focus on each body part at a time, and practice imaginative visualization. The inventive lyrics talk about picturizing head to be as light as a cloud, mind as comforting as a bubble, or the eyes sinking slowly like a sunset, the mouth hanging loosely like a hammock and so on. The creative interpretations by the author blend in beautifully with the illustrations making this book a must read as a part of nighttime routine. Thriving on the core SEL competencies, the book Good Night Body is all about reconnecting with yourself after a long busy day, and practicing mindfulness and relaxation.

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The Worrying Worries
By Rachel Rooney, Illustrated by Zehra Hicks
In the book, The Worrying Worries, the talented duo Rachel Rooney and Zehra Hicks animate an intangible thought named, ‘worry’ and show the readers how it can grapple young mind.

‘Worry’ becomes an unwelcome pet, who follows the child everywhere. It feeds on the fears and grows annoyingly bigger, until a worry expert saves the day for the child. The gentle reminder by the worry expert gives an important message to stop, take a break & recharge when we often feel pressured by worries. The lucid illustrations will engage the readers in a fun way to do the things we love and enjoy, thus, getting back in control of ourselves. This book can be a valuable addition to any children’s book collection.

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Sunny Bunnies: My Book of Feelings, (Joy, surprise……)
By Carine Laforest,
Have you ever wondered who Sunny Bunnies are? Well, they are five fluffy fun loving, mysterious magical creatures who live on the sun in unison with each other. You can find these plush toys online for purchase. The Book Sunny Bunny: My Book of Feelings is an extension of these plush toys into adorable book characters, connecting with the readers through the story.

Sunny Bunnies help identify, explain, and exemplify 7 emotions namely, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, Calm, Surprise and Love. Sunny Bunnies have color coded emotions, like yellow for joy, red for anger, green for calm. Children can associate the feelings with these colors and understand the bodily changes when experiencing the feelings. The author poses questions about each feeling on every page and illustrates what caused those feelings. Emotions like crying when sad, glowing, or jumping when feeling joy or yelling or feeling like a volcano when angry distinguish various feelings. Sunny Bunnies also find strategies to tackle those feelings.

 The book Sunny Bunnies: My book of feelings also teamed up with the plush toys is a loveable family staple, that will be enjoyed by children.

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Taco Falls Apart
By Brenda Miles,     Illustrated by Monika Filipina
An appetizing, pun-filled book, Taco Falls Apart touches on the value of positive thoughts that can ascend into optimistic feelings and behavior.

Oftentimes we can be made to feel that if we do not perform our best, we are not good at all.  Taco is crumbling under a similar pressure, to prove his worth to the world. He is doubtful and almost gives up on himself. What will help him resist and not fall apart?

The book Taco Falls Apart delves into an idea proven by psychology that we are how we think, what we think, and that governs how we feel and the action that we undertake in our life.

This fun food themed book will surely bring many smiles and nourish young minds, as it motivates the readers to change their thoughts to produce remarkable results. The book also highlights the power of teamwork and motivating advice given by the people around us.  A perfect read aloud for both children and parents alike, Taco Falls Apart will be a valuable addition to your bookshelf.

We voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book provided by the publisher, American Psychological Association, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

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Conversationally Speaking, By Alan Garner & Amanda Goodwin Caporaletti

Originally written & published by Alan Garner, in 1981 this book is a family staple when it comes to everyday communication leading to effective social emotional skills. Recently, updated by Associate Professor at Penn State University, Amanda Goodwin Caporaletti, the book has seen various editions for the past 40 years. This book can be recommended to readers as young as 14 years old, especially since they are on the threshold of entering the vocational world.

This book deals with both verbal & nonverbal aspects of conversation. From handling the most difficult part of communication which is to start a conversation to asking questions that promote conversation & listening to others talk. From identifying who owns the problem to resist being manipulated by someone, this book will counsel to reduce anxiety in social situations.

This book teaches to exercise prudence, unlike any other book that will be read & left on the bookshelf. Rather this book is a guide where the readers will keep coming back to it for advice.

We thank NetGalley and Edelweiss for Digital Review copies of the books , in exchange of our honest review.

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