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Happiness and wellness reading list for children

Reading can have a really positive impact on children’s wellbeing.

We’ve partnered with the National Literacy Trust to create a list of ten books for children aged 5-11 that explore a range of themes including empathy, grief, anxiety, bravery and resilience, to help children better understand and cope with their emotions.


Five of the best wellness picture books for children to read:

1. Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad – Yasmin Ismail (Hachette Children’s Group)

Part of the ‘Draw and Discover’ series, this is an engaging and interactive look at emotions and how different situations can cause different feelings. It’s a great choice if your child loves colouring as it encourages children to explore their feelings and express themselves through drawings and doodles.

2. Ruby’s Worry – Tom Percival (Bloomsbury)

This book introduces children to the issue of anxiety in a sensitive, reassuring way through illustrations. Ruby’s worry follows her around and gradually becomes all-consuming until Ruby makes a friend, who has a worry too, and they share what’s bothering them – highlighting how a problem shared is a problem halved.

3. Me and My Fear – Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books)

A tale of conquering fears and spreading empathy, this is a great read for young minds. When a young girl has to travel to a new country and start a new school, her fear tells her to be alone and afraid. The book teaches children the importance of sharing their fears with others.

4. Mum’s Jumper – Jayde Perkin (Book Island Limited)

Mum’s Jumper allows children to explore the emotions that come with losing a loved one, including sadness, confusion, loneliness and eventually happiness again. The book is a heartfelt and uplifting read for children coping with loss.

5. All About Feelings – Felicity Brooks and Frankie Allen (Usborne Publishing Ltd)

This book helps young children to recognise, understand and describe how they’re feeling. Reading this book, children will learn to talk about and manage their emotions in helpful ways.


Five of the best chapter books for older children to read about wellbeing and mental health:

1. You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything (Hachette Children’s Group)

This book is all about inspiring and empowering young readers to find their confidence and realise their potential. With a powerful message that you can excel at anything you put your mind to, this is an inspiring read with lots of motivating messages.

2. Wonder – R.J. Palacio (Penguin Random House Children’s UK)

A lesson in friendship and kindness, Wonder is a great book to educate young people on relationships, feelings and the effects of our actions. The story teaches empathy and shows we’re all the same inside.

3. The Land of Neverendings – Kate Saunders (Faber & Faber)

The Land of Neverendings takes children on a magical adventure whilst also giving an honest portrayal of grief. A story of love and loss, imagination and hope, it follows the journey of a young girl after losing her sibling. It teaches that whilst sadness exists in the world, it doesn’t have to cancel out happiness or silliness.

4. The Book of No Worries – Lizzie Cox (QED Publishing)

This light-hearted guide covers a range of worries and anxieties young people may face while growing up, including exam stress, the pressures of social media and maintaining friendships. Young readers will be reassured their worries and fears are normal whilst also learning practical tips for managing anxiety and stress.

5. The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson (Scholastic)

A story about finding friendship when you’re lonely. The detective-style book follows twelve-year-old Matthew who suffers from OCD. It’s an accessible read which depicts the reality of struggling with mental health including how Matthew, with the help of his family and therapist, can find a way forward and identify strategies to manage his condition.

Take a look at our stores to find out where you could pick up your next book. You can also find many brilliant books and resources online, including storytelling’s and video readings. The National Literacy Trust’s Virtual School Library with Oak Academy is full of free reading and writing activities.


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