Booklist launched to support children’s mental health and wellbeing

UK charity The Reading Agency and Libraries Connected have launched a new children’s mental health scheme as part of their Reading Well programme. The Reading Well for children booklist has been created in response to concerning data about children’s mental health in the UK. The 33 books on the list, by authors including Michael Rosen, Tom Percival, Zanib Mian and Joseph Coelho, have been selected to help Key Stage 2 children (aged 7-11) understand and talk about their mental health and wellbeing. The books have been selected to encourage conversation about feelings between children and their parents or carers and to offer support outside of a clinical setting or whilst waiting for treatment.

One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental health condition when assessed in 2017. In 2018, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reported that schools were on average making 183 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) referrals every school day, with 56% of those referrals coming from primary schools. In 2019, BookTrust reported that over a third of parents of children aged 4 to 11 worried about their child’s mental health at least once a week.

Author Michael Rosen says: “The Reading Agency and public libraries across the country are harnessing the power of reading to help tackle the crisis facing children’s mental health. These books will start conversations with children about how they’re feeling and show them that others have felt the same way. Public libraries have long been places where people have sought answers and comfort; this scheme combines the safe space of the library with inspiring children and families to read for pleasure and wellbeing”

Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency says: “At The Reading Agency, we believe in the proven power of reading to tackle life’s big challenges, including the challenge we all face of managing our mental health and wellbeing. This new and important area of our work will support all children, including the 1 in 8 who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, with using quality-assured information, advice and stories all approved by experts.”