Happy, Healthy Minds: A Children’s Guide to Emotional Wellbeing

Happy, Healthy Minds: A Children’s Guide to Emotional Wellbeing. Illustrated by Lizzy Steward. The School of Life Press, 2020. 9781912891191

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

What did you like about the book? For kids who turn to books to understand the meaning of life, this book is a gently reassuring guidebook. From understanding parents and bullies, to understanding one’s friendships, body and anxieties, the tone is affirming and inclusive. Things we may want to tell our kids, but are sure they will just roll their eyes, are delivered in a measured, reasonable tone, as “big ideas.” “Fears are not facts”, “Your parents are people too”, “You might make many mistakes before you get something right”: these are important messages that we hope our children come to understand, but sometimes we’re not the right people to say them. And the conversational and engaging tone of the book makes it easy to accept these truths. I especially liked the “big ideas” about one’s body: “Your body is not you … Your gender doesn’t say what you are supposed to be like.” And, about anxiety: “Whatever happens you will survive.” Even the illustrations are reassuring, depicting people of different skin tones and abilities, as well as many whose gender is unspecified.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  For searchers, ages 9-14. I imagine this could be helpful in a school counselor’s office.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and middle school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Non fiction, 100

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? I think it’s important to take a look.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: September 27, 2020

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