Domestic violence

Domestic violence can be difficult subjects to talk about, books talking about the topic can help explain to young children what happened and encourage discussions. Stories may make difficult transitions easier to cope with and to understand.


book cover

Kit Kitten and the Topsy-Turvey Feelings – Jane Evans and Izzy Bean

Another book from America, this one showing how hard it is when adults don’t teach children about feelings. Set against a background of implied neglect and, possibly, alcohol / drug abuse.
Age: 3+


book cover

A Terrible Thing Happened – Margaret M Holmes and Cary Pillo

An American book that doesn’t show the ‘terrible thing’ that Sherman Smith saw, but instead focuses on how he feels afterwards and the help he is offered.
Age: 5+


At the end of Holyrood Lane – Dimity Powell

Flick is a happy child until the storms start at home. It looks at the unpredictability of home and how she needs to hide to find safety. When she asks for help her world changes and happiness returns.
Age 4+


Light Jar – Lisa Thompson

Nate and his mother run away from an abusive partner. They stay in a run down cottage in the grounds of a mansion. But Nate’s mum has disappeared and he must survive on his own whilst looking for her.
Age 10+


The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair – Lara Williamson

Dad has run away in the middle of the night, taking Becket and his little brother Billy with him.  They have left everything behind, including their almost-mum Pearl.  The boys badly want to bring their family back together, but things aren’t always as they seem.  The central theme of this book is of saying goodbye – to their late mother, to Pearl, even to Brian the snail.
Age: 9+


Useful Organisation

Women’s Aid

National charity working to end domestic violence against women and children

www.womensaid.org.uk

0808 2000 247

Cancer

Cancer can be difficult to explain or talk about to a child. Sharing stories about other children who’s living with cancer or other children who’s friend or family member has cancer can help support the child.


I know someone with cancer – Sue Barraclough

This book helps demystifies cancer and also helps children who are living with or know someone living with cancer feel as though they aren’t alone.
Age 5+


Cancer – Angela Royston

Designed for Key Stage 2 readers, this is one of a series of titles looking at disabilities and other conditions that may affect children, their friends or their families.
Age 7+


I’m a superhero – Daxton Wilde (and his mom)

This work, written by four year old Daxton Wilde before his death from cancer, reaches beyond borders and cultures, helping children and their families to be brave, helping parents explain cancer to their young children and helping people cope with one of life’s most difficult situations with love and humour.
Age 5+


Useful Organisation

McMillan Cancer Support
Helping everyone with cancer live life as fully as they can. Find support and advice and meet people who understand.

 

LGBT+

A collection of helpful, celebrational and supportive books to explain LGBT+ to children, as well as teaching children that we are all different and to accept those differences. Useful for both children who may be part of the LGBT+ community and for children who are making new friends.


My Princess Boy – Cheryl Kilodavis

Dyson loves the colour pink and sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses and sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy, and his family loves him exactly the way he is. This is a story about love and acceptance.
Age: 0+


10,000 dresses – Marcus Ewert

In her dreams, Bailey is a young girl. Every night she dreams about magical dresses. Unfortunately, when Bailey wakes up, nobody wants to hear about her beautiful dreams. This is because Bailey is a boy and shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all. However, Bailey meets an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s dreams and courage.
Age: 5+


Red: a crayon’s story – Michael Hall

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a play date with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heart-warming, colourful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone.
Age: 4+


I am Jazz – Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.
Age: 5+


Jacob’s new dress – Sarah and Ian Hoffman

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear “girl” clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.
Age: 0+


George – Alex Gino

A bright, bold debut about a girl who happens to have been born a boy but refuses to let that stand in the way of her dream, ‘George’ is a pertinent and poignant middle-grade read for kids of all backgrounds.
Age: 9+


 

Julian is a Mermaid – Jessica Love

Perfect for opening a discussion about gender and acceptance. Julian sees three women dressed as mermaids and wants to copy them.
Age: 5+


The Boy in the Dress – David Walliams

Dennis lives in a boring house in a boring street in a boring town. But he’s about to find out that when you open your mind, life becomes anything but boring.
Age: 9+


 

Frockodile – Jeanne Willis

How will Cliff the crocodile break it to his motorcycling dad that he likes to wear dresses and heels? This rhyming text gives a positive outcome for Cliff to be whatever he wants.
Age: 4+

Bullying

Being bullied can be a confusing and scary experience. Sharing stories about similar situations can put a child’s mind at ease and help them find strategies and courage to deal with the bully.


book cover

Topsy and Tim Help a Friend – Jean and Gareth Adamson

Stevie Dunton is unhappy at school because some of the children are picking on him.  Topsy and Tim speak to some grown-ups to help make the situation better.
Age: 4+


book cover

Lucy and the Bully – Claire Alexander

Lucy the goat kid is bullied at nursery by Tommy the calf. All is sorted out and Tommy says sorry and Lucy forgives him. A reassuring tale to encourage children to tell their parents if they are bullied.
Age: 3+


book cover

Willy the Wimp – Anthony Browne

Willy tries to change himself because he is teased for being a wimp. He commits a brave act but, in the end, is the same lovable Willy.
Age: 5+


book cover

The Angel of Nitshill Road – Anne Fine

Amusing story about bullying at school. Outcome is assisted by magical means which lessens its usefulness.
Age: 8+


book cover

Leave Me Alone – Kes Gray and Lee Wildish

With the help of some animal friends a small boy finds the strength to stand up to a giant bully who has been making him miserable.
Age: 4+


book cover

Lion vs Rabbit – Alex Latimer

A nice story with good illustrations about getting the better of a bully.
Age: 4+


book cover

Ben the Bully – Maggie Moore and Jan Smith

Ben was a mean bully.  Nobody wanted to be his friend.  Then little Joe decides he will play football with Ben and things start to change.
Age: 5+


book cover

Bad Girls – Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt

A number of issues, including bullying, are tackled in this author’s usual humorous style as Mandy finds herself befriended by a girl who fails to meet her parents’ approval.
Age: 8+


book cover

Monster Eyeballs – Jacqueline Wilson and Stephen Lewis

Mark is the class bully.  He loves scaring everyone, but has he met his match with Kate and the Monster Eyeballs?
Age: 5+


Useful Organisation

Kidscape
National charity helping to prevent bullying and child abuse

www.kidscape.org.uk

Friends & Friendship

Forming friendships and having friends is an enormous part of everyone’s life. But what do you do when you move to a new place? How do you make friends if you are very shy? What if your best friend makes friends with someone else? At times like these, sharing a book about other children going through similar situations just might help.


book cover

Best Friends – Mara Bergman

This warm and funny rhyming story celebrates the joy of playing outside, friendship and the bond between children and their pets.
Age: 3+


Kevin – Rob Biddulph

A lovely rhyming text perfect for sharing. Kevin blames all his bad behaviour on an imaginary friend who then comes to life.
Age 7+


book cover

Millicent and Meer – Richard Byrne

One day, Millicent is busy making sandcastles in her garden when, THUMP, a big wooden box lands beside her. Inside, Millicent finds the most unexpected new friend.
Age: 3+


book cover

The Best Friend Boom – Catherine Coe and Jan McCafferty

Casper is very excited about the lasso competition at the rodeo and his best friend, Pete, helps him practise.  Casper wins the contest and gets lots of new friends. Will he remember who his true friend really is?
Age: 6+


Imaginary Fred – Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers

This is a book about friendship: not having friends, finding new friends, losing friends, best friends for ever.  Just because a friendship is imaginary, doesn’t mean it’s not real.
Age: 4+


book cover

I’m the Best – Lucy Cousins

Dog loves his friends, but he also thinks he’s the best at everything. The book shows how important it is to consider your friend’s feelings if you want to keep their friendship.
Age: 3+


book cove

Say Hello – Jack and Michael Foreman

When someone is looking lonely and in need of a friend, there is one little word that can help.
Age: 4+


book cover

Oliver & Patch – Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley

A delightful story about being lonely in a new place, making friends and doing the right thing.
Age: 4+


Baby Bird – Andrew Gibbs

A moving debut picture book about the power of friendship and the importance of accepting yourself just the way you are.
Age: 3+


The Great Big Book of Friends – Mary Hoffman

A great sharing book covering friendship, falling out, being different, imaginary friends etc.
Age 4+


The Only Way is Badger – Stella J. Jones

Badger thinks his ways are the best and overlooks the feelings of the other animals. When he finds himself on his own he realises he needs to change his ways to get his friends back.
Age 4+


book cover

Oscar and Arabella and Ormsby – Neal Layton

A book about friendship featuring prehistoric animals. The message is that even friends fall out sometimes.
Age: 5+


book cover

Friends – Kim Lewis

A warm, simple story exploring friendship between young children.
Age: 4+


book cover

Lucy’s Quarrel – Jennifer Northway

A realistic story about a quarrel between two friends with an appropriate ending.
Age: 4+


Just Jack – Kate Scott

It’s not easy fitting in at a new school. It’s even harder to be yourself. A warm and funny story about making new friends and being yourself. Perfect for young fans of WONDER and Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Jack knows LOTS about starting a new school. Since Dad left, he and his mum have moved house five times. He also knows all about fitting in. The trick is to act exactly like everyone else and make sure no one ever notices him. But it’s hard work trying to be something he isn’t and Jack doesn’t have any good friends. That is, until Tyler comes along. Tyler is funny and different and might be the key to getting Jack to realise that although he is brilliant at pretending to be other people, the very best thing he can be is JUST JACK.
Age: 8+


Friends make everything better – Mandy Sutcliffe

Take a wonderful journey with Belle and Boo as they leave their worries behind and turn a dull day into a magical adventure. Race across the waves in a sail boat, discover treasure in the depths of the ocean, swing through a jungle full of animals, and soar to the clouds – all with your very best friend. Together, friends really do make everything better!
Age: 4+


A Place for Pluto – Stef Wade

Pluto can’t believe he is not a planet anymore and does not know where he belongs. On his journey of discovery he makes new and old friends.
Age 3+


book cover

Frank & Teddy Make Friends – Louise Yates

Professor Frank Mouse is clever and inventive.  He is also very lonely, so one day he makes himself a friend – Teddy!
Age: 3+

 

Same Sex Parents

When they are very young, children believe they are the centre of the universe and everyone is like them. As they get older they learn that there are other people in the world and many of them live very different lives. These stories may help children recognise that there are many different types of families. Useful for both children living with same-sex parents and for children who are making new friends.


The Secrets of Sam & Sam – Susie Day

Sam likes being a twin. He likes cheese sandwiches and his dog. His sister – Sam – likes being a twin, too. She thinks she is the Best Twin. Two Sams, two mums, one puppy. Meet the family where everybody has secrets.
Age: 8+


book cover

The Great Big Book of Families – Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith

There are almost as many kinds of families as colours of the rainbow and this book illustrates some of them: from a mum and dad or single parent to two mums or two dads, from a mixed-race family to children with different mums and dads, from families with a disabled member to those with a mum or dad in prison.
Age: 5+


book cover

Dad David, Baba Chris and Me – Ed Merchant

Ben’s two dads adopted him when he was four. This story encourages an understanding and appreciation of same-sex parents, as well as looking at the different sorts of families that there can be.
Age: 4+


Book cover

Daddy, Papa, and Me – Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson

Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its daddies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together.
Age: 2+


book cover

Heather Has Two Mummies – Leslea Newman and Laura Cornell

Heather’s favourite number is two – she has two arms, two legs, two pets and two mummies. On her first day at school, someone asks Heather about her daddy.  When everyone draws pictures of their families they see that families come in all shapes and sizes.
Age: 4+


And Tango makes three – Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Roy and Silo are just like the other penguin couples at the zoo – they bow to each other, walk together and swim together. But Roy and Silo are a little bit different – they’re both boys. Then, one day, when Mr Gramzay the zookeeper finds them trying to hatch a stone, he realises that it may be time for Roy and Silo to become parents for real.
Age: 4+


The Seaside Trip by Jackie Walter

A fun day out at the seaside ending in a delicious ice-cream treat. Notes about how to use the book are contained at the back.
Age: 6+


 

Bedtime Problems

Bedtime can be a stressful experience for all involved. Sharing stories about bedtime can put a child’s mind at ease and make any worries or fears easier to cope with. After all, who doesn’t like a snuggle and a story before they go to sleep?


book cover

Emily Brown and the Thing – Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton

A humorous book with a very positive message about night time fears.
Age: 3+


Magnus and the Night Lion – Sanne Dufft

Magnus is a bold knight during the day but is afraid of the Shadowman at night. Grandma gives him a toy lion to help protect him from his dreams and together they conquer his fears.
Age 5+


book cover

Dinosaur Sleepover – Pamela Duncan Edwards and Deborah Allwright

A young boy who is anxious about staying over at a friend’s house reassures his dinosaur and discovers how much fun a sleepover can be.
Age: 4+


book cover

Five Minutes to Bed! – Richard Dungworth and Sharon Harmer

It’s bedtime but the pirate crew aren’t tired so the Captain gives them jobs to do.
Age: 3+


There’s a Walrus in my Bed – Ciara Flood

It’s Flynn’s first night in his big bed. However there is little sleep involved as a walrus has moved in making life very difficult for everyone!
Age 3+


book cover

Stormy Weather – Debi Gliori

Various animal mothers reassure their babies that, whatever happens in the night, they are safe with them.
Age: 3+


book cover

Goodnight Everyone – Chris Haughton

The sun is going down and everyone is sleepy.  Well, almost everyone.  A lovely gentle bedtime read that may make you feel sleepy, too.
Age: 2+


book cover

Goodnight, Harry – Kim Lewis

Harry the elephant can’t get to sleep and gets very worried and upset. His friends Lulu and Ted come to his rescue and he finally finds sleep.
Age: 2+


book cover

I Don’t Want to Go to Bed – Tony Ross

The little princess doesn’t want to go to bed, but the king and queen are firm and, after several attempts, they succeed. Fun with lots of child appeal.
Age: 4+


book cover

There’s No Such Thing as Monsters! – Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler

Reassuring look at Little Bear’s night worries, sleeping in his own bedroom. He is scared that monsters are lurking everywhere, but each has a practical explanation.
Age: 3+


book cover

A Hairy, Scary Night – Alex T. Smith

A fresh and humorous approach to coping with fears and phobias which adults and children could enjoy sharing and discussing.
Age: 5+


book cover

Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? – Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth

Little Bear is afraid of the dark in the back of the cave, so Big Bear brings him a tiny lantern – but to no avail. It is really the dark outside that Little Bear is afraid of. Big Bear takes him out and shows him the moon and Little Bear finally falls asleep.
Age: 3+


book cover

Molly and the Night Monster – Chris Wormell

Reassuring story with beautiful illustrations. About a young girl who hears a noise on the stairs and imagines all sorts of horrible creatures until she discovers that the ‘monster’ is just her mum.
Age: 3+


Confidence

The world can be a scary place for small people.  Reading stories about other children overcoming their fears and becoming confident can help to make the world a bit less frightening.


book cover

The Koala Who Could – Rachel Bright and Jim Field

Sometimes change comes along whether we like it or not . . . but if you let it, change can be the making of you. Kevin the Koala discovers this and more in this delightful picture book.
Age: 3+


book cover

The Lion Inside – Rachel Bright and Jim Field

Being little isn’t always easy.  But when Mouse sets off on a journey to find his roar, he discovers that even the smallest creature can have the heart of a lion.
Age: 3+


book cover

Star Friends – Tracey Corderoy and Alison Edgson

Gentle story about a little alien who is scared of everything, but once he has made a friend, his confidence begins to grow
Age: 3+


book cover

Wibbly Pig’s Silly Big Bear – Mick Inkpen

Simple story about Wibbly Pig’s silly big bear who has loads of things he can’t do, so what is he good for? The answer if lots of things, illustrating that being clever is not all that counts!
Age: 2+


Height

Being very small or very tall can be frustrating and embarassing for children – like the rest of us, they often want to be what they are not.  Sharing stories about children with similar feelings can put a child’s mind at ease and make the experience easier to cope with.


book cover

Tall – Jez Alborough

Everyone is taller than Bobo so he climbs onto other animals in an effort to be the tallest.  When he slips and falls he decides he happy to be small after all.
Age: 2+


book cover

Titch – Pat Hutchins

Titch has an older brother and sister who seem to be able to do grown up things that he can’t. Large print and simple pictures which show the frustrations of being the smallest.  Part of a series of stories about Titch.
Age: 2+


Giraffe problems – Jory John

Edward the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and bendy and ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes – anything he can think of. But just when he’s exhausted his neck-hiding options, a turtle ambles in and tries to help him understand that his neck has a purpose – and looks excellent in a bow tie.
Age: 4+


book cover

Tall Tilly – Jillian Powell and Tim Archbold

Tilly is very tall.  She’s too tall for her bed and taller than all her friends.  She wishes she was smaller, but then her teacher has an idea.
Age: 5+


book cover

I Want To Be Tall – Tony Ross

A good fun story about getting frustrated because you are too small … until baby cousin comes to visit, who is even smaller!
Age: 3+


book cover

Tinysaurus – Sheryl Webster and Jan Fearnley

Tinysaurus is desperate to be bigger.  He wants to do all the things his big sister can do.  He especially wants to be big enough to look after the eggs that mum has laid.  When a hungry Nastysaurus tries to steal the eggs, Tinysaurus discovers that being small can be a good thing.
Age: 3+


 

Feelings and Emotions

Feelings and emotions can be very confusing and tricky, especially for young children.  They may find it hard to recognise what their feelings mean and don’t know how they should behave when they feel that way. Or they can bubble up all of a sudden and children can find it hard to recognise what those feelings and emotions are.  Sharing stories about feelings just might help.


 

book cover

 

Hug – Jez Alborough

A warm, reassuring, almost wordless story with a satisfying ending. Bobo the baby chimp sees all the animals hugging their families but feels lonely himself. Finally he finds his mum – big hugs!
Age: 2+


book cover

How Do You Feel? – Anthony Browne

This book beautifully illustrates a variety of different feelings.  A straightforward way to explore the way very young children are feeling.
Age: 1+


book cover

Babbity’s BIG Bad Mood – M Christina Butler and Frank Endersby

Babbity rabbit is in a bad mood and his friends do their best to cheer him up. Would be a useful book to discuss feelings with a young child.
Age: 3+


book cover

The Bad-Tempered Ladybird – Eric Carle

The bad tempered ladybird refuses to share the aphids. He meets bigger and bigger creatures, all of whom he wants to fight. He finally encounters a whale, who sends him back to the leaf with the aphids, which he now willingly shares with a friendly ladybird.
Age: 2+


book cover

Love Is My Favourite Thing – Emma Chichester Clark

Plum has lots of favourite things, but love is absolutely her very favourite.  Plum loves her family and they love her, but trouble loves Plum too.  Sometimes she cand help doing naughty things.  Will her family still love her?
Age: 3+


Sweep – Louise Greig

Ed’s bad mood is beautifully depicted in this autumnal story. Although at the start he gets swept away he realises that it is his choice as to how he behaves.
Age 4+


book cover

A is Amazing – Wendy Cooling and Piet Grobler

An anthology of more than thirty poems from celebrated poets, all exploring feelings, moods and emotions.
Age: 5+


 

Grumpy Duck – Joyce Dunbar

Duck discovers that her pond is dry and then no-one will play with her. A little black cloud starts to follow her round. Will she be able to shake off her bad mood?
Age 4+


book cover

The Hippo Who Was Happy – Rachel Elliot and John Bendall-Brunello

Hippo is feeling fed up, so her mum gives her some jobs to do.  During her busy day she meets new friends and, as the title suggests, comes home happy.
Age: 3+


book cover

The Tiger Who Was Angry – Rachel Elliot and John Bendall-Brunello

Tiger takes the Jungle Race very seriously and shouts at the other animals  when they don’t train properly.
Age: 3+


book cover

The Zebra Who Was Sad – Rachel Elliot and John Bendall-Brunello

Zebra feels sad when his friend Giraffe moves away.  Will his other friends and a letter from Giraffe make a difference?
Age: 3+


book cover

No Matter What – Debi Gliori

Small, a little fox, is in a bad mood and it makes him worried that his mum will stop loving him.
Age: 3+


book cover

I Feel Frightened – Brian Moses and Mike Gordon

Looks at emotion in story format with useful notes intended for teachers and parents to use.
Age: 4+


Turtle comes out of her shell – Sue Graves

Turtle overcomes her shyness to take part in the school talent show. There are notes at the back to help when sharing this book with a child.
Age 4+


My Mixed Emotions – Elinor Greenwood

A discussion book crammed with all sorts of emotions ending with how unique you are and to believe in a positive mindset.
Age 6+

 


Looking for Yesterday – Alison Jay

A young boy starts to ponder how he can go back to yesterday his best day ever! His grandfather persuades him to always look forward and never back as there is more happiness to come.
Age 6+


Dave the Lonely Monster – Anna Kemp

Dave has retired from being a monster of destruction. When a knight arrives at his cave determined to conquer him he realises that monsters have feelings too! A rhyming text perfect for sharing.
Age 3+


The Bad Mood and the Stick – Lemony Snicket

This shows how an emotion can pass from one person to the next. A different take on discussing emotions.
5+


book cover

Duck and Goose: How Are You Feeling? – Tad Hills

A look at feelings at a very simple level. The range of emotions is expressed effectively through the illustrations from hopeful and proud to loving.
Age: 2+


book cover

The Great Big Book of Feelings – Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith

All sorts of children in lots of different circumstances respond to the question ‘How are you feeling today?’
Age: 3+


book cover

My Big Shouting Day – Rebecca Patterson

Bella is having a bad day – and it just makes her shout.  Only her magic Mummy can make things better.
Age: 3+


book cover

Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

The classic picture book about the use of imagination to control anger.
Age: 4+


book cover

I’m the Happiest – Anna Shuttlewood

All the animals want to be the best at something.  Only Raccoon is happy for them all.
Age: 3+


book cover

Marvin Gets Mad! – Joseph Theobald

When Molly eats the apple that Marvin wants he gets so mad that he turns into a stamping, stomping monster.  A funny story about the importance of keeping calm and not losing your temper.
Age: 3+


book cover

Anna Hibiscus’ Song – Atinuke and Lauren Tobia

Anna Hibiscus feels so happy this morning she things she might go pop!  What is she going to do with all that happiness?
Age: 3+


book cover

Misery Moo – Jeanne Willis

Misery Moo is a very sad cow, even though Lamb tries lots of ways to cheer her up. A story about emotions and friendship.
Age: 5+