The Best Books of 2022 to Support Kids and Teens in Tough Times
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It can help children and teenagers see they are not alone when they see characters that relate to their own experiences. This can be the first step in the healing process.
Bibliotherapy is a form of healing that involves telling stories.
Family reading is not only for littles.
Child psychologist and children’s book author Frank Sileo, PhD, uses bibliotherapy in his practice. He says all ages can benefit from it.
According to Sileo, books provide a safe way to talk about challenging topics. Even though it is a child therapy technique, parents and caregivers can use it as well.
The most standoffish teen may be longing for an excuse to get close and hear a good story. You might be surprised at the opportunities for connection that the world of books has to offer.
A reading experience with a child is wonderful. A parent or a child reading together creates memories.
Books can be a great source of solace for kids and families.
According to Sileo, a book may provide healthy solutions for children and provide some type of education around the topic.
Healthline editors created a list of the top books for kids and teens that dealt with tough topics.
While bibliotherapy can be a helpful tool to use at home, books should never replace mental health treatment from a licensed professional.
Looking for ways to support your or your child’s mental health and well-being? Try Healthline’s FindCare tool to connect with mental health professionals nearby or virtually, so you can get the care you need.
The list of books below corresponds to the possible results from Healthline’s Youth Mental Well-Being Quiz, but you don’t have to take the quiz to use this list.
Our team compiled the list.
- reviewed resources from the American Psychological Association and the Child Mind Institute
- consulted reading lists published by the American Library Association, the Horn Book Guide, Black Children’s Books and Authors, A Mighty Girl, and prominent public libraries
- consulted many people, including a parent, author, and therapist.
This list is a starting place. Many books touch on the mental health issues children and teens face every day.
“It is true that any recommended reading should be used with your child’s needs in mind. You and your child are the best judges of what to read.”
“Healthline editors acknowledge that access to literature is a privilege that isn’t universally available, and we took care to ensure that a variety of voices and identities are represented below.”
- For those who are afraid of health and safety.
- For those who are dealing with grief.
- For those who are afraid of change.
- For those who fear big emotions.
- For those who feel overwhelmed.
- For those who are not interested in the world.
- For those who are angry or pessimistic.
- For those who need help with their joy.
- For those who need to feel good about themselves.
- They make a difference for those who need to know.
- For those who need to feel part of a community.
- For those who need to attach something.
- Those who need to learn big feelings are okay.
- For those who need to learn about safe places.
- For those who need to learn how to cope with stress.
- Positive ways to release stress are available.
For those who are afraid of health and safety.
Best picture book: ‘Jabari Jumps’ by Gaia Cornwall
The kids are taking their turn on the diving board and Jabari watches them.
He knows he is ready. He realized he was not sure. He overcame his fear and took the leap with the help of his father.
“This book was written by Gaia Cornwall. It was selected as an Honor Book, an Amazon Best Children’s Book of the Year, and a NPR staff pick.”
It’s followed up by a second story about Jabari’s adventures, “Jabari Tries.”
Best middle grade book: ‘Guts’ by Raina Telgemeier
Raina wakes up with tummy troubles and thinks it is a bug.
“She realized this tummy trouble wasn’t going away after she returned to school and faced the typical challenges of a middle grade girl. It seems to ebb and flow with her worries, whether they are about friends, schoolwork, or food.”
The story of Guts is a true tale about facing an illness and the challenges that go with it, from fear of being embarrassed at school to how to share the news with friends.
Raina experiences anxiety and panic attacks about germs and getting sick, something many kids can relate to.
She is able to find support in different ways thanks to her friends and family. It is funny and charming at the same time.
Best young adult book: ‘The Rest of Us Just Live Here‘ by Patrick Ness
The everyday stuff that shows us who we really are is what this story shows us.
This book tackles a number of issues in a meaningful way, from taking a crush to prom and the pressures of academics to more serious concerns about campus safety.
“This book has been awarded numerous times, including the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Cooperative Children’s Book Center CCBC Choice, Michael Printz Award, and Kirkus Best Book of the Year.”
If you and your kid enjoy satire, madcap humor, and thought-provoking treatments of real-world issues, this is the book for you.
For those who fear loss or who are dealing with grief
Best picture book: ‘You’re Amazing, Anna Hibiscus’ by Atinuke
Anna learns how to cope with the loss of an important person in her life in this story.
The book is filled with sweet moments of family togetherness, laughter, and tears as Anna and her family navigate a difficult time.
It is an appropriate tool to help young children deal with grief and loss.
Anna Hibiscus is following a series of realistic experiences set in West Africa as she learns life lessons along the way.
The books are a great way to start a conversation about sensitive topics with your kids.
Best middle grade book: ‘Ms. Bixby’s Last Day’ by John David Anderson
Three boys are going on an adventure to share one more day with their teacher, who is gone.
This story is both heartbreaking and uplifting, and it shows what it means to have a mentor, someone who supports you, and someone who sees your true potential.
The book shows how each character is touched by this special person, as well as how they go to let her know what she means to them, in three different perspectives.
This story is very sweet and real, and will touch anyone who has ever had a special person rooting for them.
Best young adult book: ‘The Boy in the Black Suit’ by Jason Reynolds
“At 17 years old, Matt feels he can’t face any more challenges. Lovey is a new friend who has been through it all.”
Matt admires her ability to deal with so much and feels drawn to her, something he wishes he could see more of.
Lovey teaches Matt how to keep going when things get rough.
Maybe, just maybe, Matt will find a solution to his loneliness.
Reynolds is a well-known bestselling author who has been named a:
- The Newbery Award Honoree.
- The Printz Award Honoree.
- Two times a National Book Award finalist.
- The Kirkus Award winner.
- The Carnegie Medal winner is a person.
- The Walter Dean Myers Award has been won two times.
- The NAACP Image Award winner.
- Coretta Scott King was a recipient.
For those who are afraid of change.
Best picture book: ‘Ten Beautiful Things’ by Molly Beth Griffin
In this book, a young girl named Lilly copes with her fear of change by finding ten beautiful things on her way to a new home with her grandmother.
“While she and her grandma are in Iowa, she can’t see the beauty in the roads and landscape.”
As the trip continues, she begins to see beauty in unexpected places. When a rainstorm threatens to make her feel less positive, she is able to overcome her doubts.
The story applies to many real-life situations children face, whether it is moving to a new home, accepting a new family member, or starting a new school.
Best middle grade book: ‘Stuntboy, in the Meantime’ by Jason Reynolds
Portico and Stuntboy are followed in this book as Portico keeps his family and neighbors safe.
It is no easy job for him to do in secret. It comes with a lot of worries.
Portico found that the physical symptoms of anxiety are often masked by the wiggles that go with the worries.
“He doesn’t know how to help mom and dad when they fight. He is determined to figure it out.”
He learns how to handle his fears and faces an arch-enemy in the process.
Best young adult book: ‘Black Girl Unlimited’ by Echo Brown
The East Side is a place where poverty and addiction run rampant.
She is transferred to a different school on the West Side, where she will be supported by a special teacher.
The book tackles a number of important issues, including depression, racism, and sexual violence, through the eyes of a young girl coming of age and feeling the pull of her roots as she embark on an incredible new journey.
The tale of a girl who is black and white is a must-read for fans of magical realism and is a testament to the power of hope.
For those who fear big emotions.
Best picture book: ‘Calm Down Time’ by Elizabeth Verdick
The book helps toddlers learn how to calm themselves and cope with strong emotions, which used to lead to meltdowns and temper tantrums.
The illustrations and text help soothe small children when they feel too big. It gives them the ability to express themselves.
Children learn that they can cry, get hugs, sing silly songs, and even talk about their feelings through the introduction of the calm-down place.
They learn how to use their breath and count to three to calm their bodies and minds. The book has tips for caregivers to use the tools in the story.
Best middle grade book: ‘King and the Dragon Flies’ by Kacen Callender
Kingston believes his brother has shed his first skin and become a dragonfly so he can live closer to their beloved Louisiana bayou.
King keeps his brother out of his dreams as he and his family cope with grief.
King struggles to cope with a friendship with Sandy that may threaten his sense of identity, eventually helping to hide Sandy from his abusive father.
King gives up resisting the power of friendship in the midst of turmoil and the two create a private hideaway where they can get away from scrutiny.
He learns that knowing who you are is not easy.
Best young adult book: ‘How It Feels to Fly‘ by Kathryn Holmes
Sometimes your own worst enemy is you. Sam, a young woman who dreams of being a professional dancer but doubts her chances when her body starts developing curves, is a case in point.
Sam is struggling with the tug-of-war of accepting herself and letting go of her dreams as she navigates body dysmorphia.
Sam is confronted with the pressures of becoming a woman and is met with anxiety. She was sent to a camp for teens navigating similar challenges and met a camp counselor who helped her find her inner compass again.
Will she complete the program in time to attend her ballet intensive that summer, or will she be too nervous? Many young women will relate to this story of being who you want to be and challenging your inner critic.
For those who feel overwhelmed.
Best picture book: ‘Sometimes I’m Bombaloo’ by Rachel Vail
When it comes to her little brother, she learns how to handle being really mad.
She told him not to touch her castle. He knocks it down. How will she get it to look better again? Sometimes, when she gets so angry, she uses her fists and feet instead of her words.
She is known as Bombaloo at these times. She is not herself.
Taking some time out and getting lots of love from Mom can help her get back to feeling normal.
The book helps children understand how to lose their temper and how to calm down. Colorful illustrations accompany a read-aloud story.
Best middle grade book: ‘The Red Tree’ by Shaun Tan
Tan uses haunting imaginary landscapes to remind kids that there is always hope.
The illustrations help children understand that they are not alone when they are sad or heavy.
The book makes difficult feelings real and also shows a hopeful perspective that it is possible to overcome them.
The images are vivid and meaningful without being scary or overwhelming, and the message is one of compassion, inner strength and empathy. It is a message of plumbing the depths of sadness and coming back again.
Best young adult book: ‘Darius the Great Is Not Okay’ by Adib Khorram
“Kellner is going to Iran for the first time. He doesn’t speak Persian or speak Farsi, but he is on his mom’s side.”
In back home, he never fit in. How will he get to know people in Iran?
“He is navigating clinical depression and his grandparents don’t understand it. They don’t understand why he takes medication.”
The boy next door is the one who finally realized what friendship can be.
“He and Sohrab are both soccer players and spend their days playing soccer and chatting in each other’s company on their private rooftop getaways. Sohrab gives a nickname to him.”
He feels more like himself than he ever has before, and he feels less like a vagrant.
For those who are not interested in the world.
Best picture book: ‘Virginia Wolf’ by Kyo Maclear
A young, fictionalized version of Virginia Woolf is in moods. She acts differently from her usual self, sending the whole household into a spin.
Virginia is in a bad place, but her sister, painterVanessa Bell, tries everything to cheer her up.
When Virginia tells Vanessa about her imaginary happy place, called Bloomsberry, she gets the idea to paint it on the bedroom walls.
The two sisters created their own garden hideaway with a ladder and swing, and this encourages Virginia to pick up a paintbrush too.
Best middle grade book: ‘Ways to Make Sunshine’ by Renée Watson
The first book in a series that follows fourth graders Ryan Hart as she comes of age is this one.
Ryan lives in a Black community in Portland, Oregon, and her family is going through changes. The family has to downsize because of the tight finances, but her dad has finally found a job.
Ryan is always looking for the best in people and situations, even her big brother.
Ryan makes her way with grace, courage, patience, and perseverance, even when she faces setbacks, because she believes in a cause.
The story about a girl who knows how to overcome obstacles is a testament to her efforts to be a good community member.
Best young adult book: ‘The Memory of Light’ by Francisco X. Stork
“When she tried to kill herself, she woke up in the hospital’s psychiatric ward. She meets new allies who help her learn about herself and find acceptance in unexpected places.”
“When a crisis drives the community apart, she doesn’t know if she can make it again. Will she be strong enough to return?”
The story focuses on recovery from a suicide attempt rather than the events leading up to it. It describes the journey of relearning how to live in the world and embracing life after suffering.
“The author has experienced depression and has found that there are ways to go on living when it doesn’t seem worth it.”
For those who are angry or pessimistic.
Best picture book: ‘Emily’s Blue Period’ by Cathleen Daly
Emily likes to paint. She wants to be like Picasso. She is fascinated by the way he used shapes and colors.
“Emily’s family is changing. She finds a way to use her art to feel better.”
Emily is feeling like Picasso is painting her life mixed up after her dad left. Emily paints to find her center when everything around her is changing.
“Emily enters her blue period to create beauty out of the sadness and distress she feels when things can’t be the way they used to be.”
Best middle grade book: ‘The List of Things That Will Not Change’ by Rebecca Stead
“When her parents divorce, she is 10 years old. When her dad gets married to Jesse, she can’t wait. This means that she will have a sister.”
The process of creating a family is full of challenges, surprises, and joy, and it takes a lot of work to create one.
Even though everything is changing, she can still count on the important things.
Rebecca Stead paints a picture of a realistic experience that many adolescents can relate to.
Best young adult book: ‘How It Feels to Float’ by Helena Fox
“Biz’s dad died when she was 7, but he shows up in her life again. She is not telling anyone.”
Everyone else seems to think that everything is okay. Biz knows how to get around. Her mom, friends, and siblings are with her. So she should be fine?
“Biz doesn’t tell anything about her dark thoughts or secret desires, she eventually feels herself giving into them. Can she get her dad to come back? She should float away.”
Depression, dissociation, loss of a loved one, and intergenerational mental health are some of the difficult topics covered in this story.
The Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year was named “How It Feels to Float”, while the A Chicago Public Library Best of the Year was “How It Feels to Float”.
For those who need help with their joy.
Best picture book: ‘Sidewalk Flowers’ by JonArno Lawson
The book shows the importance of small gifts from unexpected places.
“A little girl is pulled along by her father who doesn’t pay much attention, and she collects flowers in the cracks of the road to keep her company.”
The power of small gifts of simple attention is what makes them a gift for a new recipient.
The illustrated picture book is a simple but poignant story about remembering to enjoy the beauty in the things that are often taken for granted.
Best middle grade book: ‘Black Boy Joy’ edited by Kwame MBalia
The power and joy of Black boyhood is given voice in this collection of stories from 17 acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors.
There are many ways to experience the wonder of life through the eyes of young Black boys.
This collection of 17 tales told in art, fiction, poetry, and more shares the stories of Black boys.
Contributors to the book include B. B. Alston, Dean Atta, P. Djèlí Clark, Jay Coles, Jerry Craft, Lamar Giles, Don P. Hooper, George M. Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kwame Mbalia, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Julian Randall, Jason Reynolds, Justin A. Reynolds, DaVaun Sanders, and Julian Winters.
Best young adult book: ‘The Stars Beneath Our Feet’ by David Barclay Moore
Christmas is not celebrated by his mother and he. How could they when their brother died of gang-related causes?
“Then, he faces a new challenge when his mother’s girlfriend brings him two giant bags of Legos. He has always followed the instructions, but now he is faced with the challenge of building a completely new creation.”
“It almost seems like a good idea to follow in his brother’s footsteps and find a crew when he and his friend are robbed. How can he be safe?”
After building an epic Lego city at the local community center, he finds a safe place to live and a new life.
Michael B. Jordan is the director of the movie that will be adapted into a movie.
For those who need to feel good about themselves.
Best picture book: ‘All Because You Matter’ by Tami Charles
This song is a love letter to Black and Brown children that reminds them how much they matter.
Charles gives readers the knowledge and conviction that they are important, beautiful, and loved even if they see what they see on the news.
The illustrations by Bryan Collier are an example of the worth of young readers and the people they love.
The storyline shows the reader how difficult adolescence can be, but that they can find strength in their roots, their communities, and their identities. This powerful conversation starter is a multiple award winner.
Best middle grade book: ‘Genesis Begins Again’ by Alicia D. Williams
Genesis is the subject of a 2020 Newbery Honor recipient who follows her as she struggles with colorism and is taught to love herself.
Genesis keeps a list of reasons she dislikes herself. She has come up with 96.
“Her dad has a gambling problem, her family is always on the move, and she wasn’t born looking like her mom. She knows that it is her fault.”
She will go to any length necessary to fix it. Genesis is surprised to find a few things she likes about herself.
She shifts her attitude and begins to help those she loves.
Best young adult book: ‘We Are Okay’ by Nina LaCour
“Marin left home with only her phone, wallet, and picture of her mother. She hasn’t spoken to a person from her past since she left.”
She is trying to move on.
She is at a college in New York. Maybe she can put the past behind her and start over.
Marin will have to face her past when her best friend comes for winter break. She is not sure she can handle it.
Marin questions whether she can keep her friendship amidst her pain, as her inner conflict leads to strain with her friend, Mabel.
This Michael L. Printz Award winner is an honest look at grief and the lengths a young woman will go to hide from it until she is ready to connect with her loved ones.
They make a difference for those who need to know.
Best picture book: ‘Extra Yarn’ by Mac Barnett
The story of Annabelle is told in this modern fairy tale, and she uses a magic box of yarn to make her town better.
Barnett and Jon Klassen tell a charming, magical story of a community transformed by one child.
The book is light and charming, and the desire of the author to change things for the better will warm any heart.
A Caldecott Honor Book, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, and a New York Times bestselling book, “Extra Yarn” tells a story of care, compassion, and how a little bit of creativity can go a long way.
Best middle grade book: ‘The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora’ by Pablo Cartaya
“There is a lot going on at 13 by Arturo. He is working hard to save his family’s restaurant in Miami.”
Can he make Abuela proud and get his crush to fall in love with him?
The story follows antic, from shooting hoops until dark to sipping mango smoothie with his friends, as he tries to figure it all out.
When he discovers poetry and protest, he learns that he can make a difference. Can he stop the land developer who just showed up and saved the town?
The struggles of adolescence are captured in this colorful, uplifting story.
Best young adult book: ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas
The William C. Morris Award Winner, Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and Printz Honor Book is a must-read.
Starr Carter is a story about a girl who goes to an upscale prep school in the middle of a poor neighborhood.
“The challenge becomes nearly impossible when Starr’s childhood best friend, Khalil, is killed by a police officer. The incident throws the country into a frenzy with Starr at the center of the controversy, all in the midst of her grief and pain.”
Some are condemning Khalil as a criminal, while others are protesting his death. Starr is the only one who knows what happened.
What should she say when she is in danger?
For those who need to feel part of a community.
Best picture book: ‘The Day You Begin’ by Jacqueline Woodson
This book shows you how special being your own unique self can be, and how it can be done.
“The text describes the experience of feeling like an outsider, no matter your walk of life, as a story of overcoming fear to find common ground among others who don’t think, look, or act like you.”
It challenges readers to overcome that feeling of connection, acknowledging how hard it can be.
The story encourages others to do the same, creating a cascade of connectedness that invites everyone to share their story and listen to the stories of others.
The book is also available in Spanish, under the title “El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres.”
Best middle grade book: ‘New Kid’ by Jerry Craft
The graphic novel explores what it means to straddle two worlds through the eyes of a seventh graders.
Jordan leaves his neighborhood every day to attend an exclusive private day school where he is one of the few black kids.
“He wants to attend art school but he can’t fit in at the prestigious private school.”
He wonders if his friends will stay loyal when he is not around.
This winner of the Newbery medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, Kirkus prize for young readers is perfect for anyone who loves Raina Telgemeier and knows what it feels like to search for their identity while straddling two very different worlds.
Best young adult book: ‘The Night Diary’ by Veera Hiranandani
This 2019 Newbery Honor Book shines a historical light on India’s partition and a young girl’s search for a home in a divided country.
In 1947, India is newly independent of British rule and has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created tension between Hindus and Muslims, and those who cross the borders every day put their lives at risk.
Twelve-year-old Nisha is half Muslim, half Hindu, and doesn’t know where she belongs. To find safety, Nisha’s family become refugees as they embark on a journey to find a new home.
The story is told through the letters of a young girl who lost her mother and is looking for a home, peace and identity.
For those who need to attach something.
Best picture book: ‘Coming On Home Soon’ by Jacqueline Woodson
The story of Ada Ruth is told in this Caldecott Honor Book.
The country is at war and women are needed to fill the jobs. The only thing left for the family to do is wait, as the mother has to go away and work in Chicago.
They keep busy and stick to their routine, find strength in their bond with one another, and even befriend a stray kitten. They miss their mom.
The World War II-era story tells of the pain a little girl must endure in the absence of her mother with a hopeful quality.
The story ends with a touching reunion between the three women, and for those who want to know what happens before they read the book to their children, this is the place to go.
Best middle grade book: ‘When Stars are Scattered’ by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
“The true story of a brother’s love, making a home, and life in a refugee camp is the true story of this National Book Award finalist.”
The illustrations in the comic book are very similar to the illustrations in the graphic novel. The two are the only survivors from their family, and they have spent most of their lives in a refugee camp.
“They don’t have enough to do for fun or to get enough medical care.”
“When he gets the chance to go to school, he is torn between leaving his brother alone and changing his family’s future.”
“The tale is told with care and gentle humor, and it is about a young boy’s efforts to create a family in a difficult situation.”
Best young adult book: ‘American Street’ by Ibi Zoboi
“The story tells of a young Haitian immigrant who is in Detroit’s west side.”
When her mother is taken into custody by the U.S. immigration, Fabiola Toussaint is left alone to navigate her new home.
She has to confront her noisy cousins, a brand new school, and even a romance in the midst of it all, and eventually being faced with a difficult choice that throws the true cost of freedom into stark relief.
“The book has been named a New York Times Notable Book, Time Magazine Best YA Book of All Time, Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice of 2017, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and Kirkus Best Book of the Year.”
Those who need to learn big feelings are okay.
Best picture book: ‘Big Feelings’ by Alexandra Penfold
A group of kids face a lot of feelings but learn to work together in this picture book.
This story is a great way to bring up emotional challenges with your kids, and it provides tools and conversation starter to deal with anger, frustration, and overwhelm in constructive ways.
The book is great for beginners because it shows them how to find compromises and see from another point of view.
The sing-song rhymes will help children remember the steps to cope with their feelings and come out on the other side with a renewed desire to connect, engage, and share.
Best middle grade book: ‘The Golden Hour’ by Niki Smith
The Golden Hour is a Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Book of 2021, and tells the story of a man who is dealing with a traumatic event.
After a difficult experience, Manuel finds peace in photography, as he takes pictures with his cell phone.
He struggles with loneliness until he is part of a group project and finds himself making new friends and even finding love.
As he and his friends prepare for the local fair, he learns to open up to those he cares about and confront his fears.
This graphic novel from the author of “The Deep & Dark Blue” tells a story of healing, friendship, and hope.
Best young adult book: ‘Who Put this Song On?’ by Morgan Parker
Morgan feels trapped in suburbia. She is the only non-white person at the sleepover and she is no stranger to being teased for being different.
She was told she was not Black.
Morgan cried in bed all summer. She feels like the world is in a state of mind, because she listens to the same song and hears the same thing again.
When will she be able to live her life outside of these rules?
“MorganParker’s debut is based on her own life. The story of a young woman who finds the courage to live on her own terms is uplifting.”
For those who need to learn about safe places.
Best picture book: ‘Ruby Finds a Worry’ by Tom Percival
Ruby learns that talking about and sharing your worries can make them go away.
“Ruby finds something she doesn’t expect when she explores her world. She starts out with a little worry, and then it grows and grows until she starts to worry.”
She found out that everyone has worries after befriending a young boy. Her new friend teaches her how to share her feelings and how that can help her with her worries.
The book helps young children to understand they are not alone in their thoughts, feelings, and anxieties.
It is part of the Big Bright Feelings picture book series that is full of age-appropriate ways to explain emotional intelligence topics to kids.
Best middle grade book: ‘Some Kind of Happiness’ by Claire LeGrand
In this fantasy tale, an 11-year-old girl is facing challenges in her family.
Finely is sent away to her grandparents house for the summer when her parents have problems.
She has never met her grandparents.
The forest kingdom of the Everwood was created in the pages of her notebook by Finley.
She discovers that the woods behind her grandparents house are the place she wants to live in.
With the help of her cousins, she learns how to cope with family problems, and faces her own depression and anxiety.
Best young adult book: ‘The Poet X’ by Elizabeth Acevedo
“Xiomara Batista can’t hide her curves. She has learned to let her fists do the work.”
She wants to be heard.
She pours her fierceness and fire into a leather-bound notebook to keep her secret feelings for a boy.
She knows her mami will not go for it. She wants a daughter who obeys the church.
She wants to perform her poems when she is invited to join the slam poetry club. She will have to figure out a way to get there.
“The book was a winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.”
For those who need to learn how to cope with stress.
Best picture book: ‘Breathe’ by Scott Magoon
A baby whale is a great place to play and explore.
He is going to sea on his own, and he has a lot to see along the way. He learns about his marine habitat after meeting new friends.
The little whale returns to his home and his mother, knowing there is a time to explore and a time to rest.
The illustrated picture book tells its story through images and simple phrases.
Best middle grade book: ‘Five Things about Ava Andrews’ by Margaret Dilloway
A young girl named Ava is full of ideas and plans. No one knows it.
Everyone except her best friend thinks she is not talking or is just being quiet. The reality is that she is very anxious. She has a heart condition that no one knows about.
With middle school starting, she hopes for a clean slate. Zelia moves across the country.
Luckily, the interest of some of her classmates is stimulated by her writing, and she is invited to join their group of people who make up stories on stage.
Despite her anxiety, Ava becomes a member of a team.
Best young adult book: ‘Zen and Gone’ by Emily France
Most other 17-year-olds feel younger than that. She lives in Boulder with her mother, but she seems to be high most of the time.
It is up to Essence to take care of her sister.
Then Oliver and Essence meet. He is from Chicago and is only in town for the summer.
She ends up showing Oliver all her favorite spots in Boulder, and the two end up in the local Buddhist community.
When the two embark on a 3-day survival expedition in the Rockies, they discover that Puck has stowed away and followed them into the wilderness. After a rough night, Essence finds her sister missing.
Can she use her new skills to stay calm in the face of an emergency?
Positive ways to release stress are available.
Best picture book: ‘The Hike’ by Alison Farrell
This lush book is a part picture book, part field guide.
Three young female explorers set out to explore their local forest.
The characters and storyline are captivating to readers.
The book has many opportunities to learn about the natural sciences, and it has a glossary and labels to help you understand them.
It is a celebration of the small things you can find in your backyard.
Best middle grade book: ‘Ghost’ by Jason Reynolds
The novel tells the story of Ghost.
He is one of four kids who are very different and could be on a track team. It depends on whether they play their cards right.
Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter in school, but his past is slowing him down.
He has never known running to be the answer.
Ghost may get the chance to harness his talent and learn how to overcome his past when he meets an ex-Olympic Medalist, Coach.
Best young adult book: ‘Four Weeks, Five People’ by Jennifer Yu
Five teens get to know one another as they work to overcome their difficulties in this realistic story.
Clarissa has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She wants to get better simply so that her mom will stop asking her if she’s OK.
Andrew has dreams of hitting it big with his band, but he has to overcome his eating disorder before he can play again.
Ben wishes he could trade reality for the movies, and Mason just thinks everyone is completely lame.
Then there’s Stella. She’d rather be anywhere on earth than wilderness therapy this summer.
The group finds themselves unexpectedly forming bonds they never thought they would. In the process, they discover new truths about themselves as individuals and members of the crew.
There are a few suggestions for introducing bibliotherapy.
Check for resources
The back of the book is where some books give guidance on how to discuss a topic. Some of the questions that parents and caregivers can ask a child are during and after reading the book.
Wait until they’re ready
“Sileo says that a child shouldn’t be pushed into doing something they aren’t ready for. Kids build walls to protect themselves from difficult conversations and strong emotions.”
You can come up with a way to make reading together enjoyable.
Make the activity enjoyable. Make some hot chocolate, grab a blanket, and read the book in different voices.
Choose the right time
He suggests choosing the right time to read based on the content.
Sometimes, these books can be hard to read before bed, as they can stir feelings and thoughts. Always offer comforting words, hugs, and reassurance.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is out there. Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 for free, confidential support 24/7.
“Reading can be a powerful way to get into your child’s world, engage their imagination, and empathise with what they’re going through.”
One of the best gifts we can give our children is an understanding, empathy ear.
Pick a book and carve out a quiet space to share it with your child or teen. It may be what they needed to feel good.
The CDC has a lot of experience with birth defects, developmental disabilities, and the like, and so it is with Debbie. She joined the editorial team of Healthline to help create a safe place to get honest and understandable health information. Before it was a norm for working mothers to homeschooled their children, Debbie raised two boys. She can be found playing with her chocolate labra dog, shuttling her kids to college, or enjoying the houseplant habit she acquired during the Pandemic.
Crystal Hoshaw is a mother, writer, and longtime yoga practitioner. She has taught in private studios, gyms, and in one-on-one settings in Los Angeles, Thailand, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She shares mindful strategies for self-care through online courses at SimpleWildFree.com. You can find her on Instagram.