Reading to make ourselves feel better


Throughout the month of March, we’ve been featuring a Reading for Wellbeing page on our website. Some of the articles were written with the grown-ups in mind, so not wanting you to feel left out we decided to feature some of our best children’s books to help with your health and happiness too. Let’s face it, it’s not only adults who can feel a bit low or a bit anxious, and especially with most of you returning to school or college this month after home schooling for such a long period of time, it’s understandable that some of you may be feeling a bit different to how you usually feel. Perhaps those butterflies that inhabit our stomachs in times of worry have been particularly active?

Reading is such a great way to distract ourselves from worry, for many different reasons. Through reading we can escape to a different world, somewhere we can’t physically go but we can access anytime we want in our imagination. We can also, through reading, see how others deal with their troubles. Often, it’s helpful to know that we’re not alone, and that other people feel and experience worry and sadness in the exact same way that we do. Perhaps by sharing the stories we’ve read with our friends, we discover that they’re feeling the exact same way.

Something else we touched on this month was how reading can sometimes act like a medicine. If you’re feeling down, find a good book that makes you laugh. It really does make you feel better. And has the added benefit of not tasting bad like actual medicine!

Books can also calm you down, ease your worries and most importantly inspire you to tackle any fears or concerns head on. Hopefully through the selection of books below you’ll discover, perhaps, that the magic of reading a good book is better than any spell taught at Hogwarts!

Our reading suggestions below are split into helpful groups so you can take your pick of any you might find of interest.

Image shows book covers: Armadillo and Hare; Friendship According to Humphrey; The Little Princess 'What's My Name'
Book covers: Armadillo and Hare; Friendship According to Humphrey; The Little Princess 'What's My Name'


Books on Friendships:

For our youngest members

Armadillo and Hare by Jeremy Strong (suitable for KS1).

Armadillo and Hare live with their friends in the BigForest. Hare loves dancing. Armadillo loves cheese sandwiches. Hare loves playing the tuba. Armadillo loves cheese sandwiches. Hare loves his bestfriend, Armadillo. Armadillo loves Hare - AND cheese sandwiches!


Friendship according to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney (suitable for KS1/2).

Humphrey must learn to make friends with a new arrival in Room 26. But it's hard to make friends with a lumpy, bumpy frog! Then there is the Poetry Festival, the magic show and the snowstorm! How can one small hamster solve all these problems?


For our young people

Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson (suitable for KS3).

Ellie's got boyfriend trouble. Or rather, NO boyfriend trouble. Ellie discusses her own secrets, along with those of her best friends, Nadine and Magda. Cringe at their embarrassing moments, find out about boys and read their list of all-time heroes and heroines.

** Also see the rest of the Girls series by Jacqueline Wilson.

Books to make you laugh out loud:

For our youngest members

Funny Stories for 8-year-Olds by Helen Paiba (suitable for KS1/2).

A rich and varied selection of wonderfully entertaining stories by some of the very best writers for children. This book was recorded as part of the Social Action Zone project at the Conservative Party Conference 2011 and read by members of the government. The first story is read by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron.

** Also see Funny Stories for 7-year-Olds by Helen Paiba (suitable for KS1/2).


The Not so Little Princess: What's My Name? by Wendy Finney (suitable for KS1).

The Little Princess wants to know her real name now that she’s not so little any more. But her real name is so awful that nobody can pluck up the courage to tell her what it is! She is determined to find out her true name. But what will happen when she does...?


For our young people

The Radleys by Matt Haig (suitable for KS3/4).

An original and witty approach story about living in a family quite unlike any other! Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in a typical suburban English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content.  But parents Peter and Helen are hiding a dark secret: that they are, in fact, a family of vampires.

Image shows The Princess Diaries cover.
The Princess Diaries cover.


The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (suitable for KS3).

Mia really is a princess, she is the heir to the Genovian throne. She starts to have princess lessons, and is followed everywhere by a bodyguard, but if anyone thinks she is moving to Genovia -well, think again!


The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams (suitable for KS4).

Arthur Dent and his friend, Ford Prefect, are taken ona terrifying tour of the Galaxy after the Earth is demolished to make way for a new hyperspatial express. 


Books to Inspire:

For our youngest members

Counting Stars by David Almond (suitable for KS1/2).

A collection of stories that are filled with mysteryand wonder!

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls By Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo (suitable for KS2/3).

A collection of stories featuring one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Amelia Earhart to Michelle Obama. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don't need rescuing.


For our young members

Fierce, Fearless and Free By Lari Don (suitable for KS3).

Once upon a time, there were strong, fierce women who plotted, schemed, took action, showed kindness, used magic and trickery, and made their own destiny. Lari Don presents a brilliant, inclusive collection of traditional tales from around the world featuring amazing women and girls - heroine stories that don't leave girls sitting around waiting to be saved by the handsome prince.


Kes by Barry Hines (suitable for KS3).

Billy Caspar is a disillusioned teenager growing up in a small Yorkshire mining town. His home life lacks any sort of comfort and he is frequently bullied by his older brother and school-mates. Then he finds a kestrel hawk and discovers a passion that he has never experienced before.

Image shows book covers:


Overcoming adversity:

For our youngest members

The Worry Website by Jacqueline Wilson (suitable for KS2/3).

Mr Speed has a plan - to set up a cool Worry Website for the class. Just type in your worry and wait for the good advice to flow in, but Holly, Greg and Natasha soon discover that the best advice comes from the most unexpected places.


For our young members

Just in Case by Meg Rosoff (suitable for KS4).

Fifteen-year-old David thinks fate is out to get him, so he changes his name,identity and friends. As Justin, he struggles to fit into his new role in a world where tragedy is around every corner.

Fat Boy Swim By Catherine Forde (suitable for KS4).

Jimmy is overweight and treated as an outcast at school, but he shows talent as a swimmer and his determination wins him support.


Breathing Underwater by Julia Green (suitable for KS4).

Freya’s brother died in a boating accident and the following summer she returns to the island where it happened to try to make sense of the tragedy. On the island she can really feel her brother's presence and slowly she begins to work through her grief as she makes new friends and falls in love for the first time.


Are we all Lemmings and Snowflakes by Holly Bourne (suitablefor KS3/4).

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at 'normality' for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make - who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can't fix yourself?


Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine (suitable for KS3/4).

Sixteen-year-old Lucas Swain becomes intrigued by the urn of ashes left in a cab office. Convinced that its occupant, Violet Park, is communicating with him, he contrives to gain possession of the urn. But little does he realise that his quest will take him on a voyage of self-discovery and identity.


No and Me By Delphine de Vigan (suitable for KS3/4).

Lou Bertignac has an IQ of 160. At home her father puts a brave face on things but cries in secret in the bathroom, while her mother rarely speaks and hardly ever leaves the house. To escape this desolate world, Lou goes often to Gare d'Austerlitz to see the big emotions in the smiles and tears of arrival and departure.


Self-Help Books – aides for parents:

For our youngest members

Build your self-esteem by Lynda Hudson (suitable for KS1/2.)

Does your child seem to be lacking in self-esteem? Thisgentle and relaxing self-help hypnotherapy recording could help them recognizetheir own good qualities and learn to appreciate themselves. In this way theycan feel more confident in a variety of everyday situations.

Let your worries fly away by Lynda Hudson (suitable for KS1/2).

This gentle and relaxing self-help hypnotherapy recording could help release worrying thoughts and feelings and help you torelax and feel more calm and comfortable inside.


I love School by Lynda Hudson (Suitable for KS1).

Do you want to encourage your little one to settle in easily and happily to pre-school? This self-help hypnotherapy recording could help them feel more confident and boost their self-esteem.


For our young people

Overcome Exam Nerves by Lynda Hudson (suitable for KS4).

Do you become so anxious that you feel almost ill with exam stress? Then this self-help hypnotherapy recording could put an end to all that stress! Gentle and relaxing, it gives powerful suggestions on how to achieve a sense of calm, control and concentration and teaches very useful exam techniques to employ on the day.

Boost your confidence by Lynda Hudson (suitable for KS4).

Is your lack of confidence and self esteem making you feel uncomfortable and holding you back in life? This self help hypnotherapy recording could be the answer! By relaxing and inducing a feeling of comfort and calm you can eliminate old, unhelpful, faulty beliefs which have led to negative thinking. 

Boost your Self-esteem by Lynda Hudson (suitable for KS3/4).

Gentle and relaxing, self help hypnotherapy for young people with positive messages in which they are encouraged to build respect for themselves, are more keen to try new things, learn from mistakes instead of blaming themselves, and generally enjoy being their own person.

Image shows covers of self-help books available for children and young people
Self-help books available for children and young people