Living with Mental Illness: Books, Stories and Memoirs

AACAP's Consumer Issues Committee has developed a list of bibliotherapy resources for patients, families and clinicians. These books can be rich educational tools and therapeutic resources. Some of the books listed below are written in the voice of a young child with mental illness, some are fictional stories with helpful themes, and some are firsthand accounts written by patients or families about their personal experience with mental illness. The material in some books may not be appropriate for every reader. The clinician or parent should review the material first and use good judgment before recommending books to specific patients or children.


ADHD

80HD: A Child's Perspective on ADHD 80HD: A Child's Perspective on ADHD
Author: Dr. Trish Wood

Keywords: ADHD, School, Family

Summary:
Written from the point of view of Parker, the author uses colorful illustrations and simple language to talk about ADHD and its impact on her son's life. The intent of the book was for it to be used by parents to talk about ADHD with their children, and explain what it means.

Audience: Young children (age 4-8)

Category: ADHD


A Bird's-Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD: Advice From Young Survivors A Bird's-Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD: Advice From Young Survivors
Author: Chris A Zeigler Dendy and Alex Zeigler

Keywords: ADHD, school, family, coping strategies

Summary:
The authors compiled a collection of advice and words of wisdom from teenagers and young adults who struggle with this disease. The intent of the book is to offer firsthand experience, helpful hints, and facts about ADHD to adolescents and their families from the people who know it best: those with ADHD.

Audience: Adolescents, Young adults

Category: ADHD


ADD and Me: Forty Years in a Fog ADD and Me: Forty Years in a Fog
Author: Ken Patterson

Keywords: ADHD, school, work, some sexual content, drug and alcohol use

Summary:
This book is a first-hand account of living life with ADHD. Mr. Patterson describes how ADHD affected his ability to succeed in education, employment, a military career, and relationships as an adult and learning to handle his symptoms and achieve his goals.

Audience: Young adult (College students) due to mature themes and advanced language

Category: ADHD


ADHD and Me: What I Learned From Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table ADHD and Me: What I Learned From Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table
Author: Blake E.S. Taylor

Keywords: ADHD, School, Bullying, Medication, Symptoms

Summary:
This book was written by the author, Blake Taylor, when he was 17. It chronicles his life starting from his early childhood, after his diagnosis of ADHD, and follows him through his elementary, middle, and high school years. The book highlights his personal point of view, his struggles, and the lessons he learned.

Audience: Young adult (Adolescents and older) due to advanced language; Parents of individuals with ADHD

Category: ADHD


Cory Stories: A Kid's Book about Living with ADHD Cory Stories: A Kid's Book about Living with ADHD
Author: Jeanne Kraus

Keywords: ADHD, School, Family, Treatment

Summary:
Although not a first-person account, this book follows a little boy named Cory as he talks about how ADHD affects his family, his schoolwork, and himself. It also covers diagnosis of ADHD and medication, explained through simple and clear language. It can be used by parents to explain ADHD to their children.

Audience: Young children (age 4-8)

Category: ADHD


One Boy's Struggle: A Memoir (Surviving Life with Undiagnosed ADD) One Boy's Struggle: A Memoir (Surviving Life with Undiagnosed ADD)
Author: Bryan L. Hutchinson

Keywords: ADHD, Symptoms, Medication, Treatment

Summary:
In his memoir, Bryan Hutchinson describes his personal experience with symptoms of inattention, focus, and impulsivity, and how it affected not only his schooling, but his work and home life as well. He talks of his life pre-diagnosis, as well as his treatment and eventual understanding of what was going on with him.

Audience: Young Adults (Adolescents or older) due to advanced language, mature themes; Parents of individuals with ADHD

Category: ADHD


Putting on the Brakes: Young People's Guide to Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (3rd Edition) Putting on the Brakes: Young People's Guide to Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (3rd Edition)
Author: Patricia Quinn, MD, and Judith M. Stern, MA

Keywords: ADHD, School, Coping Strategies, Symptom Control, Medications, Treatment

Summary:
Although not a first-person account, this book was written as a guide to help students and parents understand ADHD, ways to control symptoms, and coping skills. Some sections do appear more appealing to school-aged children, but the sections talking about using meditation or relaxation exercises, medication descriptions, and glossary of medical terms are all clear and understandable. The resources and website links at the end are also helpful to continue educating the audience.

Audience: School Aged Children, Adolescents, Young Adults, Parents of Children with ADHD

Category: ADHD


Shelley, the Hyperactive Turtle Shelley, the Hyperactive Turtle
Author: Deborah Moss

Keywords: ADHD, School, Family

Summary:
The story follows Shelley in his day-to-day life, including his first visit to the doctor's because mom is worried about his behavior. The storyline then goes through a clinical interview with the doctor, as well as diagnosis and treatment.

Audience: Young children (age 3-7)

Category: ADHD


The Survival Guide for Kids with ADHD The Survival Guide for Kids with ADHD
Author: John F. Taylor, PhD

Keywords: Kids, ADHD, Tips

Summary: This 100+ page book is written with a direct and casual tone that children with ADHD will appreciate. While some pages are text-heavy, there are funny pictures intermixed. Dr. Taylor, the author, provides a ton of psychoeducation about ADHD and lots of practical tips for school and social situations.

Audience: Child, Adolescent

Category: ADHD


You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?! (Revised Edition) You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?! (Revised Edition)
Author: Kim Kelly and Peggy Remundo

Keywords: ADHD, ADHD in Adults, Coping with ADHD

Summary:
This book, written by two members of the ADD Adult Support Group of Ohio, reviews what ADHD looks like in adults compared to children and teenagers, and includes sections that address different issues that come up in daily life at home and at work. It is not a light read at 450+ pages, but the authors do offer a “How to Use This Book” section to give the reader as much information as they want to read. The medication section is not completely updated, but the information offered for coping with ADHD can be valuable.

Audience: Young Adults, Parents of Young Adults

Category: ADHD


Anxiety


Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety
Author: Daniel Smith

Keywords: Anxiety, Understanding anxiety, Coping strategies

Summary:
This book is written by an individual who suffered severe anxiety throughout his life, with the symptoms peaking in his adolescence. The book is very much about his personal journey towards an understanding of his anxiety and how important it was/is for him to learn skills to manage it. Although he doesn't talk about medicine or therapy, he does mention briefly about how certain things he learned were helpful. As the author is now successful in his career, it is a great book to show how anxiety doesn't have to affect your life negatively.

Audience: Young Adults or Adults due to many mature themes (not for the sensitive or squeamish); Parents of Individuals with Anxiety

Category: Anxiety



Please Explain ''Anxiety' to Me!: Simple Biology and Solutions for Children and Parents Please Explain "Anxiety" to Me!: Simple Biology and Solutions for Children and Parents
Author: Laurie Zelinger, PhD, and Jordan Zelinger, MS Ed

Keywords: Anxiety, Biology, Your Body

Summary:
Dr. Zelinger uses a story about dinosaurs and explains how your body changes when you get nervous. There are simple tips for children on how to recognize and deal with anxiety at the end of the book.

Audience: Middle to Late Elementary School

Category: Anxiety

Warnings: Consider child's vocabulary level


Scaredy Squirrel Scaredy Squirrel
Author: Melanie Watt

Keywords: Anxiety, Worry

Summary:
This is the story of Scaredy Squirrel, who prefers to stay home and do the same things every day, and what happens to him when he accidentally does something different. It's a fun book with cute pictures and easy to read story.

Audience: Young Children

Category: Anxiety


The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes
Author: Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein

Keywords: Anxiety, Worry, Perfectionism

Summary:
This book tells the story of Beatrice, a girl who has never made a mistake and does everything perfectly until one fateful day. This is a great resource for parents who have young children that feel like they have to do everything right, and it gives them an example of how something that seems terrible can turn out to be okay.

Audience: Young Children

Category: Anxiety


Wemberly Worried Wemberly Worried
Author: Kevin Henkes

Keywords: Anxiety

Summary:
Wemberly Worried is about a little mouse with many worries. The book describes many of Wemberly's worries and also how Wemberly worries all the way to nursery school but then has a fantastic first day. The author/illustrator has a light touch with cheerful illustrations. This would be a great book to read to or with a sophisticated pre-schooler or a child in early elementary school if you would like to let them know about others who experience anxiety.

Audience: Early elementary

Category: Anxiety


What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety
Author: Dawn Huebner, PhD

Keywords: Anxiety, Worry, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Self-Help, Workbook

Summary:
Dr. Huebner introduces children and parents to the techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety through easy to understand examples and pictures. Each chapter introduces a specific tip or idea, and leaves blank pages at the end for children to write on for practice.

Audience: Child with Parental Guidance

Category: Anxiety


What You Must Think Of Me: A First Hand Account of One Teenager's Experience with Social Anxiety Disorder What You Must Think Of Me: A First Hand Account of One Teenager's Experience with Social Anxiety Disorder
Author: Emily Ford

Keywords: Anxiety, Personal Story, Tips for Recovery

Summary:
This is an account by Emily Ford of her anxiety disorder written in the 1st person. She describes her feelings and thoughts as she lived through her adolescence. The book includes the theories and science on anxiety and offers practical tips on medications, therapies and coping strategies.

Audience: Young adolescent, Adolescent, Adult

Category: Anxiety


When I Feel Scared When I Feel Scared
Author: Cornelia Maude Spelman

Keywords: Anxiety, Fear

Summary:
This book is a good way to introduce and talk about scary things or fear with young children who are just learning to read. It gives examples of things you can be scared about, as well as some general ideas on how to feel better when you're scared.

Audience: Young Children

Category: Anxiety


When I Feel Worried When I Feel Worried
Author: Cornelia Maude Spelman

Keywords: Anxiety, Worry

Summary:
This book is a good way to introduce and talk about anxiety with young children who are just learning to read. It gives examples of types of worries, as well as some basic things that can be done to help make it better.

Audience: Young Children

Category: Anxiety


Wilma Jean the Worry Machine Wilma Jean the Worry Machine
Author: Julia Cook

Keywords: Anxiety, Worry, School Stress, Social Stress

Summary:
Ms. Cook tells the story of a little girl named Wilma Jean who is constantly worried about different things.  This book goes over both the thoughts and the physical changes your body goes through when you get anxious, and offers a few simple ways to manage it.

Audience: Elementary School

Category: Anxiety

Warnings: Pictures might be scary to some young children


Autism

Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
Author: Daniel Tammet

Keywords: High functioning autism, Aspergers, Synesthesia

Warnings: This book provides opportunity to understand the thinking and reactions of a brilliant man with autism spectrum disorder. He does also discuss recognition of his sexual identity and the role of his male life partner.

Summary:
This is a memoir written by a brilliant man with high functioning autism spectrum disorder and gives a vivid view into his struggles, preferences of solitude, fixations, and synesthetic experiences. He is able to put into words what we often observe in children with autism spectrum disorder; the role of stereotypies for him, the comfort of his “imaginary” friends/companions, the resiliency imbued by his family, and his journey in adulthood. This book would likely be a comfort for any adolescent struggling with Asperger's disorder or a family member/teacher wondering about the possible role of some of the observed symptoms. What the book does not include is how he came to be diagnosed and any accommodations he needed.

Audience: Young Adults, Adults

Category: Autism


Emergence: Labeled Autistic Emergence: Labeled Autistic
Author: Temple Grandin and Margaret M. Scariano

Keywords: Autism, Aspergers, Developmental Disabilities, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder

Summary:
In her first and lesser-known book, Temple Grandin powerfully describes her experiences growing up with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This book allows the reader an important look into the experiences that explained much of Grandin's emotions and behavior and may help a parent or caregiver better understand their child's experiences. An appropriate book for parents of children with ASD, family members and older children with ASD, this book is an easy read and gives a unique perspective into the potential of individuals with autism.

Audience: Adolescents, Young Adults, Adults

Category: Autism

Warnings: This is a dated book, originally published in 1986 with several revisions in the 1990s. As such, it provides information that is not always up to date. Treatment, therapies and diagnoses may not be accurate and always must be discussed with your health care provider.


Freak, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome: A user guide to Adolescence Freak, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome: A user guide to Adolescence
Author: Luke Jackson

Keywords: Asperger Syndrome, Autism

Summary:
Written by a teenager with autism for other teenagers of autism. This book is educational, witty and provides helpful tips for coping with some of the difficulties faced by adolescents with autism.

Audience: Adolescents with Asperger, Parents and teachers working with adolescents, with Asperger syndrome, Clinicians

Category: Autism


Ian's Walk, a sisters story about her brother with Autism Ian's Walk, a sisters story about her brother with Autism
Author: Laurie Lears

Keywords: Autism

Summary:
This 15 page beautifully illustrated book speaks to the social discomfort a person with Autism creates for the viewer. His sister, a preteen, takes him along on a walk sharing the experience through her eyes and his, as they go to the park. Along the way he stops to sniff bricks of the post office building, watches the ceiling fan in the soda shop, and eventually succeeds in getting lost at the park. His sister then has to think like Ian, to find him lying under the large bell at the center of the park, ringing it with content. Lovingly, she understands after fearing for his life. The walk home is enjoyed as all the same encounters occur, this time with patience and acceptance of Ian's different world.

Audience: Elementary school children, Parents, Elementary school teachers

Category: Autism


I Am Utterly Unique I Am Utterly Unique
Author: Elaine Marie Larson

Keywords: Asperger syndrome

Summary:
The book focuses on "the strengths of children with high functioning autism". Although beautifully illustrated, makes some assumptions about characteristics of children with Asperger that are not universal. For example: " I have an XXL Memory ... I have fantastic focus”.

Audience: (all, child, adult)

Category: Autism

Opportunities: Can be used by parents to help their child with ASD to identify personal strengths.


Little Rainman Little Rainman
Author: Karen L. Simmons

Keywords: Autism

Summary:
This book was written by a mother of a five-year-old boy with autism to help teachers and caretakers understand autism. The symptom descriptions are very accurate and are useful for parents who are suspecting that their children may have autism. The symptom descriptions are in words that a child can also understand. This book may be helpful for parents of children with autism who may have difficulty describing their child's unusual behaviors.

Audience: Parents and children with autism.

Category: Autism


Look Me in the Eye Look Me in the Eye
Author: John Elder Robinson

Keywords: Asperger Syndrome, High functioning autism

Summary:
Poignant, firsthand account of growing up with Asperger's disorder. Insightful and humorous accounts of difficulties making friends and author's innovative compensation strategies. Will be very helpful for young individuals with high functioning autism who recognize that they are"different" but cannot express or understand why they cannot fit in.

Audience: Teen, Adult

Category: Autism

Opportunities: Excellent reading material for adult and child psychiatry trainees to understand challenges faced by individuals with Asperger's.


Nobody Nowhere Nobody Nowhere
Author: Donna William

Keywords: Autism

Summary:
This eloquently written autobiography by a woman diagnosed with high functioning autism provides a look at the world from her perspective. She describes the difficulty that she experiences in sustaining relationships with family members and others because of her difficulty with appreciating social nuances. Some descriptions of the risky encounters experienced by the author because of her difficulty setting limits with others are disturbing. The last chapter explaining the motives behind the authors' more classical autism symptoms such as clapping and spinning is interesting for clinicians. The author has an imaginative quality in describing her view of the world that is sometimes difficult to follow. The book does not have the humor that balances some of the more disturbing descriptions and frankly is somewhat depressing.

Audience: Health care practitioners

Category: Autism


A Special Book about Me A Special Book about Me
Author: Josie Santomauro

Keywords: Asperger Syndrome, Autism

Summary:
This book was written to help children with Asperger identify their symptoms and provide tips for management. The author's use of symptoms to make a Case for Asperger syndrome seems contrived. The recommendations provided for coping with change are not appropriate for the age level targeted because insight would be required.

Audience: Parents of children with Asperger Syndrome

Category: Autism


Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and the Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and the Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism
Author: Portia Iversen

Keywords: Autism, Advocacy, Family Burden

Warnings: This book offers a window into the world of a mother struggling to unlock her son's verbal and behavioral challenges with autism. At times is a graphic picture of the harrowing experiences living with a child and adolescent with autism. The book is long; 378 pages, but has a “notes” section at the end with both references and explanations. There are also lengthy, scientific descriptions of brain functioning and theories about autism and the brain. At times the book is a memoir and at other times a scientific treatise.

Summary:
The book describes a mother's journey to unlock the mysteries of her son's autism, seeking the miracle of a cure, and the work she and her husband did creating Cure Autism Now (CAN). Understanding how nonverbal children communicate is one of the core themes of the book focusing on Tito, a brilliant autistic boy from India and his mother Soma who teaches him to communicate. Soma's methods were the cause of 60 minutes special and caused thousands of families with autism to seek her support. Eventually, the author's son, Dov, develops rudimentary communication skills.

Audience: Young Adults, Adults

Category: Autism


The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister's Memoir of Autism in the Family The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister's Memoir of Autism in the Family
Author: Paul Karasik and Judy Karasik

Keywords: Autism, Siblings of Autistic Individuals, Family Member with Autism

Summary:
Written from the first person perspectives of siblings who have an older brother with autism, Paul and Judy Karasik describes the challenges and difficulties of growing up with a family member with this lifelong disorder. Going from childhood into adolescence and adulthood, both authors offer well written descriptions of their feelings and experiences over the years. The book is an insightful read for anyone with a sibling who has autism.

Audience: Pre-teen, Adolescents, Young adults, Adults

Category: Autism


Thinking In Pictures Thinking In Pictures
Author: Temple Grandin

Keywords: Autism, Aspergers, Developmental Disabilities, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder

Summary:
Temple Grandin's most famous book, Thinking In Pictures is a detailed account of her life, focusing mainly on her development as an adult suffering from Asperger's disorder. The author is a well-known agricultural designer and this book describes in detail how she has used her disorder to develop her career. Though her first book, Emergence, describes in more detail her childhood and the ways autism affected every experience she had, this book focuses more on an integration of her adult life with a review of the scientific information available today. Best suited for parents, late high school students who are affected by autism and providers caring for patients with these disorders, this is an advanced book that can provide much detail about the possibilities of working with autism and Asperger's disorder.

Audience: Adolescents, Young Adults, Adults

Category: Autism

Warnings: This book has many recent additions and discusses at length different treatment options, theories and current research. Those reading are advised to discuss any treatment or diagnosis questions with a health care provider.


What it is to be me! An Asperger Kid Book What it is to be me! An Asperger Kid Book
Author: Angela Wine

Keywords: Asperger Syndrome, Autism

Summary:
An excellent book for the child with Asperger syndrome to understand some of the symptoms that he may be struggling with. Bold text and colorful pictures make the book engaging.

Audience: Children and Parents

Category: Autism


Bipolar Disorder

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Author: Kay Redfield Jamison

Keywords: Bipolar, Psychosis, Depression, Mania

Summary:
From the time she was a small child, Kay Jamison knew that she was different. Her moods were unlike other children and her experience of the world was at times confusing. This book charts her course from a young girl with unstable moods, to an adult diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Dr. Jamison eventually became a successful professor at Johns Hopkins University while battling her moods and seeking treatment with medication, therapy and supports. The book documents honestly some of the dangerous pitfalls of mania and depression and should be read by patients with a caregiver's guidance but can provide hope and inspiration for anyone living with a mood disorder.

Audience: High School, Adults, Patients, Caregivers, Providers

Category: Bipolar Disorder

Warnings: This book discusses frankly the author's own suicide attempt and though it is handled well, parents should know that it is a topic that occurs in a detail.


Brandon and the Bipolar Bear Brandon and the Bipolar Bear: A Story for Children with Bipolar Disorder
Author: Tracy Anglada

Keywords: Bipolar, Child, Mood swings

Summary: This is a short story about a boy with bipolar disorder. When the boy goes to see his doctor, the doctor provides a nice description of the illness. The book can help a child understand his or her illness and feel less alone.

Audience:

Category: Bipolar Disorder


The Dark Side of Innocence The Dark Side of Innocence
Author: Terri Cheney

Keywords: bipolar disorder, depression

Summary:
The author writes of her experience as a child and adolescent struggling with mood problems.

Audience: Late high school, college

Category: Bipolar Disorder


Sugar & Salt Sugar and Salt
Author: Jane Thompson

Keywords: Personal memoir, bipolar disorder

Summary:
This is a historical life journey of one woman's experience with lifelong mental illness. It addresses some of the biases and stigma associated with mental illness. There are only brief anecdotes of symptoms during childhood and adolescence. This book would not likely appeal to an adolescent struggling with evolving mental illness or a parent with questions about their child or adolescent. It would most likely appeal to an older adult with a history of bipolar disorder or a family member of an older adult with bipolar disorder or a historian.

Audience: Adult, Older adolescent

Category: Bipolar Disorder

Warnings: The book comprises a different historical era from 1950's to 1980's. Strong Catholic influence.


Turbo Max Turbo Max: A Story for Siblings and Friends of Children with Bipolar Disorder
Author: Tracy Anglada

Keywords: Bipolar, Child, Siblings, Mood swings

Summary: This is a short but wonderful book about a young boy whose big sister has bipolar disorder and needs to go to the hospital. It thoughtfully describes the impact of the illness on the boy and his family.

Audience: All

Category: Bipolar Disorder


Borderline Personality Disorder

Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery From Borderline Personality Disorder Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery From Borderline Personality Disorder
Author: Rachel Reiland

Keywords: borderline personality disorder, self-destructive behavior, substance abuse, anorexia, therapy

Reading Level: late high school, college

Summary:
Rachel Reiland writes about her struggle with, treatment for and recovery from borderline personality disorder. Her account of her provocative, manipulative and dangerous behavior may help readers recognize typical behavior and mood reactiveness seen in borderline personality disorder. She relates the effect it had on her husband, children and extended family, giving caregivers who read this novel a window into similar experiences they likely face with the individual with borderline personality disorder in their lives. Ms. Reiland's detailed scripted account of her therapy sessions with Dr. Padgett could be used as an excellent teaching tool for clinicians interested in treating individuals with borderline personality disorder.

Audience: Older adolescent, Adult

Category: Borderline Personality Disorder

Warnings: dangerous self-destructive behavior, sexual themes, provocative and manipulative behavior, suicidal thoughts


Girl, Interrupted Girl, Interrupted
Author: Susanna Kaysen

Keywords: borderline personality disorder, depression, suicidality, non-suicidal self-injury, sexual promiscuity, McLean Hospital, 1960's, stigma, inpatient psychiatry, depersonalization, thorazine, chlorpromazine

Summary:
Susanna Kaysen was diagnosed at eighteen with borderline personality disorder. She spent two years on and off the inpatient psychiatric ward at McLean Hospital. This memoir chronicles her time on the ward and describes the personalities and psychological make-up of the other patients she lived with in the hospital. It serves as an excellent psychoeducational tool for learning about borderline personality disorder and what psychiatric treatment was like in the 1960s at one of the most famous mental hospitals in the country. Girl, Interrupted is an excellent first-hand account of one young woman's mental health struggles and a fascinating example of how borderline personality disorder was conceptualized some 40 years ago.

Audience: Adult, Older adolescent

Category: Borderline Personality Disorder


Depression

Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression
Author: Brooke Shields

Keywords: Depression, postpartum, perinatal, therapy

Summary:
Well-known actress Brooke Shields discusses her experiences with postpartum depression following the birth of her first child in this memoir. This memoir helped to increase the public's awareness of mental health issues during and after pregnancy. She discusses the impact of motherhood on her relationship and career and the role mental health treatment played in her recovery.

Audience: Young adults, adults

Category: Depression

Warnings: Contains discussions of suicidal thinking that may be upsetting for some readers.


Trouble in my Head: A Young Girl's Fight with Depression Trouble in my Head: A Young Girl's Fight with Depression
Author: Mathilde Monaque

Keywords: Depression, anorexia, depression with psychosis, inpatient stay

Summary:
Trouble in My Head is a book written by a young woman in her own words, post treatment for very severe depression with reality distortion and anorexia. She deftly explains her rationale, distorted thought processes when she was at her most ill and her experience on an inpatient unit. She begins to integrate into the treatment, accept medication, and through her eyes, we watch her improve, her depression and body distortions become less severe, and Ms. Monaque reconnect with her family and the world. The ending is uplifting and shows how severe mental illness can be treated. This is well written and eye opening from a first person perspective.

Audience: adolescents, adults, mental health providers

Category: Depression

Warnings: This could be a trigger for those with emerging restrictive eating issues and could also increase ideas about why not eating could make sense–especially initially as the author is very ill. Toward the end, the patient does talk about having gone off of her medication without talking to her MD and does qualify this by saying anyone should first speak with their doctor. This could inadvertently encourage patients to change or drop medications without collaborating with their team. This book is from the U.K. There may be some terminology that could be confusing, but it's not extensive.


Eating Disorders

Andrea's Voice: Silenced by Bulimia: Her Story and Her Mother's Journey Through Grief Towards Understanding Andrea's Voice: Silenced by Bulimia: Her Story and Her Mother's Journey Through Grief Towards Understanding
Author: Doris Smeltzer and Andrea Lynn Smeltzer

Keywords: Bulimia, Eating, Treatment, Family

Summary:
This book is told through the eyes of Doris, the mother of 19 year old Andrea, after she has been devastated by the news that her daughter has passed away in her sleep after a year-long battle with bulimia. The author intertwines Andrea's own diary and journal entries, along with self-penned poetry, to reveal the story of their struggle to deal with bulimia and the ultimate consequence of their fight.

Audience: Young adult (Adolescents and older) due to mature themes; Parents of individuals with bulimia

Category: Eating Disorders


Biting Anorexia: A First-hand Account of an Internal War Biting Anorexia: A First-hand Account of an Internal War
Author: Lucy Howard-Taylor

Keywords: Anorexia, Eating, Recovery, Treatment

Summary:
In this autobiography, Lucy chronicles her own experiences as she enters the early stages of anorexia, struggles with her symptoms, and eventually makes her way into recovery. Many of the pages are narrative, but also include first-hand journal entries from her own diaries at that time.

Audience: Young Adults (Adolescents or older) due to advanced language, mature themes; vivid descriptions

Category: Eating Disorders


Diary of an Anorexic Girl Diary of an Anorexic Girl
Author: Morgan Menzie

Keywords: Anorexia, Eating, Recovery

Summary:
Viewed through a series of diary entries, the author exposes Blythe's journey through anorexia, and how it affected her self-esteem, her relationships, and her ultimate recovery from the illness. At the end, the author includes tips and inspirational items from her own struggle with anorexia.

Audience: Young adult (Adolescents and older) due to mature themes, vivid descriptions, strong language

Category: Eating Disorders


Homesick: A Memoir of Family, Food, and Finding Hope Homesick: A Memoir of Family, Food, and Finding Hope
Author: Jenny Lauren

Keywords: Eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, sexual content, drug and alcohol use

Summary:
This memoir follows Jenny Lauren, the niece of Ralph Lauren, the fashion designer, through her formative years, during which she developed anorexia and bulimia, and eventually required significant medical treatment to deal with the consequences of her illness.

Audience: Young adult (College students) due to mature themes, vivid descriptions, and profane language

Category: Eating Disorders


Second Star to the Right Second Star to the Right
Author: Deborah Hautzig

Keywords: Anorexia, Eating, Recovery

Summary:
This follows the story of Leslie, a successful, popular teenage girl, as she develops and struggles with anorexia, and how it affects not only her, but all those around her. The story is fiction, but written by an author who had a personal struggle with anorexia, which she details in the foreword and afterword of the book.

Audience: Young adult (Adolescents and older) due to mature themes, vivid descriptions

Category: Eating Disorders


Slim to None: A Journey Through the Wasteland of Anorexia Treatment Slim to None: A Journey Through the Wasteland of Anorexia Treatment
Author: Jennifer Hendricks

Keywords: Eating disorder, anorexia, sexual content, sexual abuse, death

Summary:
This is the story of Jennifer Hendricks, who was diagnosed with anorexia at age fourteen, and passed away at age twenty-five. The book is narrated through the recollections of her father, and Jennifer's personal journal entries. It follows her journey into illness and her eventual death as a result of struggling with an eating disorder.

Audience: Young adult (Older adolescents, College students) due to mature themes

Category: Eating Disorders


Solitaire Solitaire
Author: Aimee Liu

Keywords: Eating disorders, anorexia, sexual content, trauma

Summary:
In this book, the story outlines the life of Aimee, a young multiracial girl growing up in the 1970s, who develops anorexia nervosa following a difficult transition into a new life in the United States and trauma at age seven. Aimee describes her path to recovery after a long fight with her own mind and body.

Audience: Young adult (College students) due to mature themes, vivid descriptions, and advanced language

Category: Eating Disorders


Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
Author: Mayra Hornbacher

Keywords: Eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, sexual content, drug and alcohol use

Summary:
This book chronicles Mayra's development of bulimia at age nine, followed by anorexia by age fifteen, and her long struggle with self-image, medical complications, and acting out, along with her eventual recovery from eating disorders.

Audience: Young adult (Older adolescents, College students) due to mature themes

Category: Eating Disorders

Miscellaneous

A Child's First Book about Play Therapy A Child's First Book about Play Therapy
Author: Marc A Nemiroff, PhD, and Jane Annunziata

Keywords: Child Play Therapy

Summary:
This is a book to be read to younger children about therapy, which can apply to therapies other than just play therapy. It has nice pictures and understandable text as well as a much needed section on confidentiality.

Audience: Younger child with parent or therapist or PCP office staff reading to child

Category: Miscellaneous

Warnings: Play therapy may be not first choice for an evidence-based therapy


A Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger
Author: Eliane Whitehouse and Warwick Pudney

Keywords: Anger, Aggression, Therapy, Self esteem

Summary: Workbook for teachers, parents to work with kids with anger issues, aggression issues. Some lessons are for multiple kids, some for small groups, some for individuals. Multiple ways to help kids deal with anger and frustration.

Audience: 7-12

Category: Miscellaneous


Angry Octopus: A Relaxation Story Angry Octopus: A Relaxation Story
Author: Lori Lite

Keywords: Anger, feelings, relaxation

Summary:
A story of an octopus getting angry and then learning how to relax his anger away. It could be used as a script for guided relaxation.

Audience: Parent & Child, Therapist and Child

Category: Miscellaneous


Cool Cats, Calm Kids: Relaxation and Stress Management for Young People
Author: Mary L. Williams

Keywords: Stress, Calm, Cats

Summary: Cute little book using cats to help kids learn how to become calm, stay calm, have fun, and express themselves

Audience: Children 7-12

Category: Miscellaneous


Cool Down and Work Through Anger Cool Down and Work Through Anger
Author: Cheri J Meiners. M.Ed

Keywords: Anger, Anger in Children

Summary:
This is a well written and thoughtful guide to help children work through their anger. It provides helpful strategies for children to work through their anger including talking with friends, drawing and over 30 other activities to distract the child from acting out their angry feelings in unhealthy ways.

Audience: Children and Advice for Parents to help children

Category: Miscellaneous


Feeling Better: A kid's book about therapy Feeling Better: A kid's book about therapy
Author: Rachel Rashkin

Keywords: Child psychotherapy

Summary:
This is a story of a 12 y.o. girl going into therapy. It describes the problems and reasons for going into therapy, a little about the therapy she is involved in, some definitions, and whether to tell friends about being in therapy. It's a bit wordy at times but may help a depressed and anxious tween understand therapy.

Audience: Middle school or tween

Category: Miscellaneous


Frog's Breathtaking Speech: How Children (and Frogs) Can Use the Breath to Deal with Anxiety, Anger and Tension
Author: Michael Chissick and Sarah Peacock

Keywords: Worry, Anxiety, Relaxation, Meditation, Breathing, Yoga

Summary: This is a fun book teaching different yoga breathing techniques to help with emotional difficulties.

Audience: Children

Category: Miscellaneous


Hands are not for hitting  Hands are not for hitting 
Author: Maritne Agassi

Keywords: School violence, prevention, juvenile justice, anger, juvenile literature, hand, early childhood literature

Summary:
This is a thoughtful guide to help children work through their anger. It explains to children the healthy ways to use their hands.

Audience: Children and Advice for Parents to help children

Category: Miscellaneous


Hi I'm Adam, a child's story of Tourette Syndrome Hi! I'm Adam, a child's story of Tourette Syndrome
Author: Adam Buehrens

Keywords: Tourette's disorder

Summary:
This short single sided 35 page book is written by a 10 year old to elaborate the challenge of growing up with a problem like Tourette's disorder and no understanding of how to treat it. He deals with the complexity of being a person with bad behavior that his body makes him do, the misunderstanding that people have of his illness, and the frustration of his parents, teachers, doctors, and self. He felt so out of control that at times he wanted to die. Once a diagnosis and treatment were obtained, he began to educate teachers and peers and advocate that others do the same.

Audience: Elementary school children, Parents, Elementary school teachers

Category: Miscellaneous


How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up
Author: Trevor Romain

Keywords: Homework, Learning

Summary: Short positive book about reasons to get homework done

Audience: 8-13

Category: Miscellaneous


How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger
Author: Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis

Keywords: Emotions, Feelings, Anger

Summary: Excellent resource for children, families, and therapists to help child work and develop coping strategies when angry. Provides education around the emotion of anger and tools to use when angry

Audience: All

Category: Miscellaneous


Ladybird's Remarkable Relaxation: How children (and frogs, dogs, flamingos and dragons) can use yoga relaxation to help deal with stress, grief, bullying and lack of confidence
Author: Michael Chissick and Sarah Peacock

Keywords: Worry, Stress, Anxiety, Yoga, Breathing, Relaxation

Summary: This is a great book to help teach relaxation to worried kids in a fun and interesting way.

Audience: Children

Category: Miscellaneous


Sam's Pet Temper Sam's Pet Temper
Author: Sangeeta Bhadra and Marion Arbona

Keywords: Mood, Emotion, Anger, Temper

Summary:
A lovely story a parent could read to a child about temper, with “temper” filling the role of an imaginary friend. The book spends a bit too long on giving examples of how temper gets Sam in trouble, but not enough on how he is able to say goodbye to Temper.

Audience: Parent reading to a child

Category: Miscellaneous


Some Bunny To Talk To: A Story About Going to Therapy
Author: Cheryl Sterling, Paola Conte, and Larissa Labay

Keywords: Therapy

Summary: Short, concise, positive book for children starting therapy. Helps them understand why therapy may be helpful to them and what therapy can consist of

Audience: Young Children (4-8)

Category: Miscellaneous


What to Do When you Grumble Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Negativity
Author: Dawn Huebner, PhD

Keywords: Negativity, Emotions, Negative thinking

Summary: Workbook for kids who use a lot of negative thinking to help them to learn techniques to see more positive aspects of life and cope with negative things that occur

Audience: Children 6-12

Category: Miscellaneous


When I feel Angry When I feel Angry
Author: Cornelia Maude Spelman

Keywords: Anger, Anger in Children

Summary:
This describes a very basic understanding of anger as a feeling and identifies things that commonly provoke anger. It provides options for what to do when angry feelings happen and emphasizes doing something healthy instead of acting out on anger.

Audience: Children

Category: Miscellaneous


When I Feel Sad
Author: Cornelia Maude Spelman

Keywords: Sadness

Summary: A simple picture book about sad feelings. Appropriate to encourage discussion/expression in young children

Audience: Child

Category: Miscellaneous


Your Fantastic Elastic Brain
Author: JoAnn Deak, PhD

Keywords: Brain

Summary: A cute book with humorous illustrations describing the structure, function, and development of the brain

Audience: Child

Category: Miscellaneous


Zach Apologizes Zach Apologizes
Author: William Mulcahy

Keywords: Anger, Apologizing, 4 square apology technique

Summary:
This helps the child understand how to use the four square apology technique: 1.What I did to hurt somebody 2. How the person felt 3. What I can do next time 4. How I'll make it up to the person. This book can be used by elementary school teachers and parents to help children learn to apologize for mistakes, while keeping their dignity and not feeling overly shamed. It is an excellent book.

Audience: Children

Category: Miscellaneous


Zach Gets Frustrated Zach Gets Frustrated
Author: William Mulcahy

Keywords: Frustration

Summary:
This helps the child understand how to handle frustration by using the frustration triangle: 1.Name It 2. Tame It 3. Reframe It. This book can be used by elementary school teachers and parents to help children learn to reframe their frustration. This is an excellent book.

Audience: Children

Category: Miscellaneous


OCD

Blink, Blink, Clop, Clop Blink, Blink, Clop, Clop: An OCD Storybook
Author: E. Katia Moritz, PhD

Keywords: OCD

Summary: This is a funny, farm-friendly book about OCD. It is written for very young children who love animals. It helps kids learn how to externalize the OCD by fighting "OC Flea."

Audience: Children

Category: OCD


Devil in the Details Devil in the Details
Author: Jennifer Traig

Keywords: OCD, Symptoms and Treatment, Coping with OCD

Summary:
In her memoir, author Jennifer Traig describes firsthand her own difficulties with developing neuroses and compulsive behaviors related to obsessive compulsive disorder from age twelve to college. Using funny anecdotes and humor, Traig brings the reader into her world in detailed descriptions of her experiences.

Audience: Young Adult, Parents of Adolescents, Parents of Young Adults

Category: OCD


Sammy's Mommy Has Cancer Sammy's Mommy Has Cancer
Author: Sherry Kohlenberg

Keywords: Cancer, parents

Summary:
The author of this book was diagnosed with breast cancer when her son was 18 months old. The Introduction (for adults) has a useful and thoughtful explanation of her experience and how the book was helpful to her family. The picture book portion describes Sammy and his family as well as what happens to his mother during the course of her treatment, for example, what is cancer, how she experiences chemotherapy, how Sammy hugs his mother when she feels sad. It uses simple and clear language that is appropriate for a preschooler or child in early elementary school.

Audience: Elementary, to be read with parents

Category: Trauma


Up and Down the Worry Hill: A Children's Book about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and its Treatment Up and Down the Worry Hill: A Children's Book about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and its Treatment
Author: Aureen Pinto Wagner, PhD

Keywords: OCD, CBT, ERP

Summary:
This is a great introductory book on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and its effective treatment. It is meant to be read by a child who is struggling with obsessions and compulsions. It is very encouraging and informative.

Audience: Elementary, Middle School

Category: OCD


What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming OCD
Author: Dawn Huebner, PhD

Keywords: OCD, CBT, Exposure Response Prevention

Summary: This is a great book explaining how to fight OCD. It has clinical exercises and drawing space to emphasize the therapeutic take-home points. It's a great way to help kids conceptualize how to fight OCD.

Audience: Children

Category: OCD


Schizophrenia

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
Author: Elyn R. Saks

Keywords: Psychosis, Schizophrenia

Summary:
A personal memoir of Dr. Elyn Saks, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Southern California and her experience of living with schizophrenia. From her youngest memories to embarking on a career and managing her illness as an adult, this is an inspiring story about one woman's ongoing battle with psychosis and how she was able to work with her illness to lead a successful life

Audience: Young Adolescents, Adolescents, Adults

Category: Schizophrenia


Divided Minds Divided Minds
Author: Pamela Spiro Wagner and Carolyn S. Spiro, M.D.

Keywords: Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Impact on families

Summary:
This book chronicles the lives of identical twin sisters Pammy (author Pamela) and Lynnie (Carolyn) as their lives are turned upside down by Pammy's descent into psychosis during their adolescence. As the previously eclipsed sister, Lynnie finds herself in the conflicted position of surpassing Pammy as the illness progresses. The authors are frankly honest about how their lives are impacted by schizophrenia.

Audience: Young adult to Adult due to mature themes, vivid descriptions, foul language, advanced language

Category: Schizophrenia


The Quiet Room The Quiet Room
Author: Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett

Keywords: Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Impact on families, Recovery

Summary:
Told through the viewpoints of the author, Lori, her family members, her doctors, and her friends, Ms. Schiller pieces together the account of her personal struggle with schizophrenia, starting in her seventeenth year. Her first personal accounts reveal the depth of the pain and conflict within a person with schizophrenia, but also the unintended consequences of the illness on those around her.

Audience: Young adult (Adolescents and older) to Adult due to mature themes, vivid descriptions, foul language, advanced language, scary situations

Category: Schizophrenia


Welcome to My Country Welcome to My Country
Author: Lauren Slater

Keywords: Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Personality disorders, Depression, Abuse

Summary:
This novel follows the early career of the author, Ms. Slater, as a psychologist at the Bate House, a residence for chronic schizophrenics, and an outpatient clinic therapist. Ms. Slater unflinchingly describes both the struggles of her patients, but also her own difficulties in her attempts to help them. Schizophrenia, personality disorders, depression, and abuse are all revealed through the eyes of Ms. Slater and her patients.

Audience: Young Adults (Adolescents or older) due to foul language, mature themes, vivid descriptions

Category: Schizophrenia


Self Injurious Behavior

Skin Game: A Memoir Skin Game: A Memoir
Author: Caroline Kettlewell

Keywords: cutting, self-mutilation, non-suicidal self-injury

Summary:
Caroline Kettlewell writes in Skin Game about her struggles with cutting. She gives a well-written and thoughtful account of the issues she faced in childhood and adolescence and how they might have led to her eventual use of non-suicidal self-injury as a form of fascination, self-punishment and maladaptive coping skill. Ms. Kettlewell also explains how she eventually was able to stop cutting, which could be helpful to individuals who struggle with this issue. Her account is remarkably honest, and really makes the reader understand what cutting did for her and why she eventually gave it up.

Audience: Late Adolescent, Adult

Category: Self Injurious Behavior

Warnings: Explicit and sometimes gory descriptions of cutting, should probably be read with the assistance of a knowledgeable therapist.


Substance Use

Chasing the High Chasing the High
Author: Kyle Keegan

Keywords: Addiction, Substance Use, Recovery

Summary:
The introduction discusses the concept of the the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative (AMHI) which coalesced to create an informative reference regarding mental disorders, which present between the ages of 10 and 22 years old. The Annenberg Foundation created a series of mental health books. The first series is heavy in science and research. The second prong of the series is dedicated to smaller books for general readers. The third prong is two websites: 1) www.CopeCareDeal.org and 2) www.oup.com/us/teenmentalhealth.

Kyle takes the reader through the prejudices of society's view of an addict and then through the trip from the normal angst of adolescence to the devastating destruction of heavy addiction and how he decided to allow the choice to become a compulsion. This books includes the science of addiction terminology all in reader-friendly verse.

This journey continues with his “desperate moves” to get and stay addicted to drugs and the pursuit of recovery. He decribes the multitude and the lack of resources to help an addict recover - the trials, failures and successes.

This book has frequently asked questions, a glossary, resources, and a blbliography at the back, making this a great resource tool with clear, concise, and reliable information.

Audience: Adolescents, Young Adults, Adults

Category: Substance Use


Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
Author: David Sheff

Keywords: Addictions, Substance Use, Heroin, Methampetamine

Warnings: Frank discussions of substance use, descriptions of life threatening situations, profanity, discussion of sexual themes

Summary:
The author provides a candid account of the impact of his son's drug addiction on him and his family. His son also wrote a memoir from his perspective, Tweak, and these two books can be read independently or can together provide a rich portrayal of the development and treatment of substance use disorders. The author also includes evidence-based scientific information regarding substance use disorders and their treatment.

Audience: Young Adults, Adults

Category: Substance Use


Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines
Author: Nic Sheff

Keywords: Addiction, Substance Use, Heroin, Methamphetamine, Family issues

Warnings: Frank discussions of substance use, descriptions of life threatening situations, profanity, discussion of sexual themes

Summary:
This is the memoir of a young adult who went from a seemingly well-adjusted high school student to a man fighting addiction to methamphetamine and heroin. The author wrote this book as a companion to his father's memoir, Beautiful Boy, which is an account of the same situation told from a parent's perspective.

Audience: Young Adults, Adults

Category: Substance Use


Suicide

Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope over Suicide Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope over Suicide
Author: Dequincy A. Lezine, Ph.D., with David Brent M.D.

Keywords: Suicide, Depression, Treatment, Recovery

Summary:
This is the story of DeQuincy Lezine and is written in the 1st person. DeQuincy documents using his journals the lead up to his suicidal plans and the treatment phases he went through to reach his present state. The book is full of references to treatment strategies, medications, pros and cons and documents with matter of fact intent the intensity of the work and practice DeQuincy had to do to obtain relief and stability from suicidal thoughts and depression.

Audience: Adolescent, Adult

Category: Suicide


In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide
Author: Nancy Rappaport, M.D.

Keywords: suicide, survivor, memoir

Summary:
Nancy Rappaport, a prominent child psychiatrist, was 4 years old when her mother committed suicide. In this book she explores her mother's life and death in a search for meaning and understanding – both in terms of her mother's state of mind and the impact of her loss on the author's own life and family. Rappaport offers important insights and validation for individuals and families dealing with suicide.

Audience: Teen, Young Adult, Adult

Category: Suicide


Trauma

After a Murder After a Murder: A Workbook for Grieving Kids
Author: The Dougy Center

Keywords: Murder

Summary: A unique workbook by and for kids who have witnessed or been exposed to murder. Utilizes an interactive format to encourage expression. A useful resource to help kids work through a difficult experience.

Audience: Child, Adolescent

Category: Trauma


Gran-Grans Best Trick Gran-Gran's Best Trick: A Story for Children Who Have Lost Someone They Love
Author: L. Dwight Holden, MD

Keywords: Death, Loss, Child, Cancer

Summary: This is a touching story about a little girl whose grandfather died of cancer. They had a very close relationship. The reader learns about how she struggles to process his death and resolves to keep him alive in her memory.

Audience: All

Category: Trauma


Lucky Lucky
Author: Alice Sebold

Keywords: trauma, rape, survivor, recovery, memoir

Summary:
This book is a memoir that describes the author's experience of being raped as an eighteen-year-old college freshman at Syracuse University. In is titled Lucky because a policemen told her that she was lucky to be alive; shortly before her attack, another young woman had been killed and dismembered in the place. Sebold describes the devastating effects that this rape had on her life, but also how she was able to overcome much of this adversity and ultimately make sure her attacker was arrested and convicted.

Audience: teen, young adult, adult

Category: Trauma

Warnings: Story contains a description of the author's brutal rape and beating


A Place for Starr: A Story of Hope for Children Experiencing Family Violence A Place for Starr: A Story of Hope for Children Experiencing Family Violence
Author: text by Howard Schor; Illustrated by Mary Kilpatrick

Keywords: domestic violence, trauma, abuse, shelter

Summary:
A Place for Starr is a children's book written in poem form and is an easy to read and well-done account of one family's experience with domestic violence. The illustrations are beautiful and it takes a difficult topic and appropriately touches on the emotions and consequences of experiencing domestic violence. At the end of the book, the family leaves the home and goes to a shelter to get away from the abuser, so it ends on a positive note.

Audience: child, adolescent

Category: Trauma

Warnings: This book contains is about domestic violence, an inherently terrifying theme, but it explains it without any gratuitous drama and it is appropriate and well-written.


After Charlotte's Mom Died After Charlotte's Mom Died
Author: Cornelia Spellman; illustrated by Judith Friedman

Keywords: death, parent, parental bereavement, grief, therapy

Summary:
This is a story about a little girl named Charlotte, who lost her mother in a car accident when she was five and a half years old. Charlotte and her father are sad and Charlotte feels afraid at night. Additionally, she worries about what will happen to her if her father dies and is sensitive when a friend makes an unkind comment. As a result, her father brings her to a therapist to get help. The therapist helps Anna voice some of her fears and improves Anna's relationship with her father.

Audience: child

Category: Trauma

Warnings: This book is an excellent book to ease the child's fears before a first visit to a therapist for parental bereavement.


Gran-Grans Best Trick Gran-Gran's Best Trick: A Story for Children Who Have Lost Someone They Love
Author: L. Dwight Holden, MD

Keywords: Death, Loss, Child, Cancer

Summary: This is a touching story about a little girl whose grandfather died of cancer. They had a very close relationship. The reader learns about how she struggles to process his death and resolves to keep him alive in her memory.

Audience: All

Category: Trauma


I Miss You: A First Look at Death I Miss You: A First Look at Death
Author: Pat Thomas; Illustrated by Lesley Harker

Keywords: death, soul, funeral, grief

Summary:
This book is a simple explanatory account of what a child might feel and think when a loved one dies. It touches on the unknown and issues children may be curious about without subscribing to a certain spiritual belief system. It would be appropriate for a parent and child to read together after the death of a pet, a friend or a relative.

Audience: child

Category: Trauma

Considerations: This book does not subscribe to any one religion's beliefs about death. It only mentions that most people believe that the soul goes somewhere to join other souls of those who have passed away.


My Daddy's Cancer My Daddy's Cancer: An interactive book for children
Author: Cindy Klein Cohen, MS, CCLS, and John T. Heiney

Keywords: Cancer, Illness

Summary: 1st hand short book on a child's dad being diagnosed and treated for cancer. Book includes lots of questions kids may ask and gives calm but factual answers. The book ends with some fun stress relieving activities for the child.

Audience: Children 5-8

Category: Trauma


Please Tell! A Child's Story About Sexual Abuse Please Tell! A Child's Story About Sexual Abuse
Author: Jessie, 9 year-old survivor of sexual abuse

Keywords: sexual abuse, trauma

Summary:
Jessie is a nine-year-old girl who was sexually abused by her uncle when she was four-and-a-half. She explains what it was like to be abused and what happened when she told her parents and saw a therapist. Jessie explains how she felt as a result of the abuse and what helped her get through it.

Audience: child

Category: Trauma

Warnings: This story is incredibly powerful as it is a rare firsthand account of early childhood sexual abuse written by a 9-year-old survivor. It gives excellent advice and could serve as a useful tool so that other child victims do not feel like they are the only ones who have been abused in this way.


A Terrible Thing Happened A Terrible Thing Happened
Author: Margaret M. Holmes; Illustrated by Cary Pillo

Keywords: Trauma, Witnessing Violence, PTSD

Summary:
In this book, Sherman the raccoon witnesses something terrible (which is not described further) and begins to have intrusive thoughts, trouble sleeping, somatic complaints, anxiety, anger and sadness. After he began getting into trouble at school, he went to see Ms. Maple (a therapy bear). Ms. Maple helps him process his feelings through talking and drawing and he feels much better as a result.

Audience: child

Category: Trauma

Considerations: Could serve as an introduction to therapy after a child has witnessed something terrible.


Samantha Jane's Missing Smile: A Story About Coping with the Loss of a Parent Samantha Jane's Missing Smile: A Story About Coping with the Loss of a Parent
Author: Julie Kaplow and Donna Pincus; illustrated by Beth Spiegel

Keywords: Parental Bereavement, Loss, Grief, Depression

Summary:
Samantha Jane is a young girl whose father has recently died. She is sad, does not want to talk about or feel her sadness and so stops doing things she formerly enjoyed. A neighbor notices her sadness and uses a stick in water as a parallel to what happens when you try to push your feelings down—they pop back up! The neighbor facilitates a healthy discussion between Samantha Jane and her mother about missing Samantha Jane's dad and how the two of them can help each other with their grief.

Category: Trauma

Audience: child

Warnings: This book can be read with a parent to help normalize a child's natural reactions to the loss of a parent.


The Tenth Good Thing About Barney The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
Author: Judith Viorst; illustrated by Erik Blegvad

Keywords: Death of a pet, grief, bereavement

Summary:
This book is about a little boy whose cat, Barney, dies. He and his parents bury him in the garden and he wonders what will happen to Barney: will he go to heaven or stay in the ground. He eventually comes to terms with the uncertainty of what will happen to Barney and is comforted by the idea that Barney will help the plants grow in the garden.

Audience: child

Category: Trauma

Considerations: This book can be read with the help of a parent to help process the natural feelings a child has when a pet dies.


Tell Me, Papa: A family book for children's questions about death and funerals Tell Me, Papa: A family book for children's questions about death and funerals
Author: Joy and Marv Johnson

Keywords: death, funerals, coffin, graveyard, memorial service, grief

Summary:
This book is an excellent nuts and bolts play-by-play of exactly what happens when a person dies, from the mechanics of the body dying, to exactly where the body goes and how it is prepared for burial. In addition, a step-by-step sequence of events is explained from memorial service to visitation, to burial and then visits to the house by friends and family. This book is especially helpful for children going to their first funeral so they know what to expect. Additionally, it explains very well the difference between sleeping and dying.

Audience: child (elementary and middle school)

Category: Trauma

Considerations: Excellent as an introduction to first-time funeral attendance for children.

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