Empathy Day

10 June marks Empathy Day, a day that aims to raise awareness among society and young people about empathy and how to put it into practice.

Research carried out by Princeton Social Neuroscience Lab demonstrated that people who often read fiction have better social cognition, meaning they’re more skilled at working out what other people are thinking and feeling. Shifting focus onto other people’s feelings and perspectives encourages a person to become more empathetic, as they’re able to put themselves in other people’s shoes.

EmpathyLab, the organisers of Empathy Day, suggest doing this through three practices: Read, Connect and Act. Read empathy-rich books to deepen your understanding of other people and take part in use of the #ReadForEmpathy social media campaign; connect by going on an Empathy Walk to connect to the reality of your local community; and act, by using increased understanding to make changes and making an empathy resolution.

We’ve created a collection of titles for children and teens that encourage empathy, based on the suggestions put together by Empathy Lab. These titles include: A Hurricane in My Head by Matt Abbott which tackles the themes of friendship, bullying, technology, and the life of a modern teenager; A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll encourages understanding of others – through the eye of autistic protagonist, Addie; When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson, a book that explores life as a refugee for 8–12-year-olds, with a heart-wrenching but happy ending.

All these books can be found in our libraries and through our BorrowBox, our eBook and eAudiobook provider.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week begins on 10 May and aims to promote good mental health for all. To support mental health Hampshire Libraries offer a variety of courses through the Learning in Libraries initiative, courses include wellbeing and fitness, digital skills, and many more.

This year’s theme for National Mental Health Awareness is nature; something millions of us turned to during the long months of a national lockdown. Nature has been proven to have powerful benefits for our mental health, research shows that going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies during the pandemic and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.

Hampshire Countryside Service’s blog, Looking After Nature, is a great source to use to get reacquainted with nature and finding comfort in the great outdoors – whether it be best walking spots in Hampshire, birdwatching or finding a new way to experience and enjoy the countryside this year.
We believe in the healing power of nature and the benefits that being outside in nature brings. Last year, we introduced our Naturally Mindful collection to encourage people to find out more about the many ways nature can be experienced for a positive mental health boost. The collection of non-fiction titles is available to download in eBook and audiobook format from our provider BorrowBox – look for our digital shelf ‘Nature and Mental Health’ or explore our catalogue online.

This year, we’ve received a collection of more than 80 books from The Reading Agency’s Reading Well initiative, aimed at supporting mental health of children, young adults and adults through the power of reading. The full collection is available to loan in each of our 40 libraries or downloadable as eBooks for free on BorrowBox.

Reading Well; using the power of reading to support mental health

With many of us are struggling with mental wellbeing during these tough times, we’re eager to make sure your local library is a valuable source of support, information and guidance.

There is a growing amount of evidence about the value of reading to support health and wellbeing. In addition we believe people feel libraries are inclusive and welcoming places that can empower them when they’re looking for support.

At Hampshire Libraries we’ve long been champions of the power of reading to offer comfort, solace and advice when we need it most. So we’re delighted to introduce a new collection of books, selected by experts at The Reading Agency, which provide a source of useful advice and encouragement, in an initiative called Reading Well.

The Reading Well collection, which is supported by the government throughout the country, includes more than 80 books, all of which will be available to borrow from Hampshire Libraries’ 40 libraries. Keep a look out for specially labelled Reading Well titles or find and reserve what you want by using our online library catalogue.

You’ll also find ‘digital shelves’ of Reading Well books on our BorrowBox app, which can be reserved and downloaded to your smartphone or tablet.

The collection covers three age ranges: children, young people and adults.

There are more than 30 titles for children including:

Self-esteem and Mental Health by Anna Claybourne which tackles topics such as mental illness, phobias, eating disorders and self-harm.

How are you feeling today? by Molly Potter which is packed with fun, imaginative ways to help children understand and cope with a whole range of different emotions.

The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida, David Mitchell, and Keiko Yoshida. This remarkable book provides a rare insight into the often baffling behaviour of autistic children.

The Truth About Self-Harm: For Young People and Their Friends and Families by Celia Richardson, a booklet about what to do if you are worried about yourself or someone else.

Books in the collection to support adult’s mental wellbeing include:

The CBT Handbook: A comprehensive guide to using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to overcome depression, anxiety and anger by Pamela Myles and Roz Shafran: an easy-to-read general self-help guide by two of the UK’s leading CBT clinicians and researchers.

Defeating Depression: How to use the people in your life to open the door to recovery by Roslyn Law which is based on Interpersonal Psychotherapy, a therapeutic approach adopted by the NHS.

The Essential Guide to Life After Bereavement: Beyond Tomorrow by Judy Carole Kauffmann and Mary Jordan which acts as a supportive map through the initial period of loss, and through the weeks and months that follow.

The Sheldon Short Guide to Phobias and Panic by Professor Kevin Gournay which provides the essential information you need in less than an hour.

The Reading Well initiative is being supported by Hampshire Libraries alongside the Read, Talk, Share project which is designed to tackle loneliness and promote wellbeing.

Children’s Mental Health Week 2021

With the circumstances of the past year making many of us feel out of control and helpless supporting children and young people to express themselves feels more important than ever. Parents and carers play an important role in a child’s mental health, but there are simple things you can do to help your child express their feelings, including listening carefully and giving them your full attention when they are trying to express themselves and reassuring them it’s OK to have strong emotions sometimes.  

Once a child has lost confidence it can be a slow process building it back up. Books are a useful building block in this process, offering gentle reassurance, practical help and companionship.  

We have a number of books in our collection that can children stay safe, calm, connected and hopeful, by tackling life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. Sharing a book, or for older children reading the same book and then discussing it, can give us an opportunity to have open and helpful conversations with children about a number of issues including mental health.  

For children and teenagers (all available as eBook and eAudiobook)  

Clownfish by Alan Durant 

Gentle, funny, moving and strange, this is a haunting story of life-after-loss. When Dak’s Dad dies suddenly Dak find’s relief from his mother’s grief by visiting the local aquarium, where he finds, to his amazement that his Dad is alive and well and living as a clownfish.  

Available as eBook, eAudiobook and physical book
Suitable for ages 10+

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon  

This unique mystery novel explores mental health and psychological disorders in an accessible and immediately relatable way, as 15 year old Christopher Boone – who has  Asperger’s Syndrome and has never gone further than the end of his own road – sets out to solve the mystery of a murdered dog and ends up turning his world upside down.

Available as eBook, eAudiobook and physical book
Suitable for ages 13+

Wonder by R J Palacio

Wonder is the emotional story of Auggie, a 10-year-old boy with a rare facial birth disfigurement. Auggie has had 27 operations, yet his first foray into school life, having been home educated to this point, isn’t so much about what he looks like and more about how people react to him.  

Available as eBook, eAudiobook and physical book
Suitable for ages 8+

Jemima Small Versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter  

Tamsin Winter, the author of Miss Nobody, conveys the complexities of school life, with a tale of body image, self-esteem and self-acceptance, that deals with difficult issues with sensitivity and well-judged humour. 

Available as eBook and physical book
Suitable for ages 10+

Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein  

Twelve-year-old Will likes two things: turtles and the local nature reserve. Everything else is a nightmare, because Will has a facial difference that has earned him an unfortunate nickname. When Will’s meets RJ, a boy who is confined to a hospital room, he discovers they both have strength to lend the other and that life is too short to live in a shell. 

Available as eBook, eAudiobook and physical book
Suitable for ages 8+

  

Digital Naturally Mindful

We invite you to seek wellbeing in nature by dipping into our new Naturally Mindful collection of 21 eTitles that explore the benefits of spending time outdoors.

This collection will help you find your way as you start to explore the many, myriad ways of relaxing in nature. Whether you’re keen to try Shinrin-yoku, better known as forest bathing, or simply like to slip off your shoes and connect with the ocean, these non-fiction titles have been chosen to  help you thrive in the busy world we all live in, a collection of non-fiction books designed to reinvigorate your love of nature whilst improving your mental health and general fitness.

This collection of eTitles can be found on BorrowBox, the library’s eBook and eAudiobook provider, to download and enjoy at home on your smartphone or tablet.

Into the forest
by Dr Qing Li

Humans are increasingly becoming an indoor species. We spend 90 per cent of our life indoors. And, on average, we dedicate eight hours a day looking at screens. Our increasingly domestic lives are having huge consequences to our health. In Into the Forest, Immunologist and Forest Medicine expert, Dr Qing Li, examines the unprecedented benefits of the world’s largest natural health resource: the great outdoors.Applying cutting-edge research and emerging science, Dr Li explores the inherent connection between nature and improved wellbeing. This practical guide will help you overcome some of life’s most problematic health issues, including how to: · reduce blood pressure; · lower stress;· improve energy levels;· and boost the immune system.`

A sweet Wild Note, what we hear when birds sing
by Richard Smyth

Birdsong is woven into culture, emotions, and landscape. It is the soundtrack to our world, shaping experiences of place and belonging. We have tried to capture this fleeting, ephemeral beauty, and the feelings it inspires, for millennia. In this rich and insightful account, Richard Smyth asks what it is about birdsong that we so love, exploring the myriad ways in which it has influenced literature, music, and art, our feelings about the natural world, and our very ideas of what it means to be human. Does the song-thrush mean to sing “a full-hearted evensong/Of joy illimited,” as he does in Hardy’s poem “The Darkling Thrush?” Examining his own conflicted love of birdsong, Smyth’s nuanced investigation shows that what we hear says as much about us, our dreams and desires, as it does about the birds and their songs. At a time when birdsong is growing quieter, with fewer voices, more thinly spread, this beautiful book is a celebration of the complex relationships between birds, people, and landscape; it is also a passionate call to arms and an invitation to act lest our trees and hedges fall silent.

Shinrin-Yoku
by Dr Qing Li

Shinrin-Yoku or forest bathing is the practice of spending time in the forest for better health, happiness and a sense of calm. A pillar of Japanese culture for decades, Shinrin-Yoku is a way to reconnect with nature, from walking mindfully in the woods, to a break in your local park, to walking barefoot on your lawn. Forest Medicine expert, Dr Qing Li’s research has proven that spending time around trees (even filling your home with house plants and vaporising essential tree oils) can reduce blood pressure, lower stress, boost energy, boost immune system and even help you to lose weight.

The Natural Navigator
by Tristan Gooley

Starting with a simple question – ‘Which way am I looking?’ – Tristan Gooley blends natural science, myth, folklore and the history of travel to introduce you to the rare and ancient art of finding your way using nature’s own sign-posts, from the feel of a rock to the look of the moon.With Tristan’s help, you’ll learn why some trees grow the way they do and how they can help you find your way in the countryside. You’ll discover how it’s possible to find North simply by looking at a puddle and how natural signs can be used to navigate on the open ocean and in the heart of the city. Wonderfully detailed and full of fascinating stories, this is a glorious exploration of the rediscovered art of natural navigation.

The Seafarers
by Stephen Rutt

The British Isles are remarkable for their extraordinary seabird life: spectacular gatherings of charismatic Arctic terns, elegant fulmars and stoic eiders, to name just a few. Often found in the most remote and dramatic reaches of our shores, these colonies are landscapes shaped not by us but by the birds.In 2015, Stephen Rutt escaped his hectic, anxiety-inducing life in London for the bird observatory on North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of the Orkney Islands. In thrall to these windswept havens and the people and birds that inhabit them, he began a journey to the edges of Britain. From Shetland, to the Farnes of Northumberland, down to the Welsh islands off the Pembrokeshire coast, he explores the part seabirds have played in our history and what they continue to mean to Britain today.The Seafarers is the story of those travels: a love letter, written from the rocks and the edges, for the salt-stained, isolated and ever-changing lives of seabirds. This beguiling book reveals what it feels like to be immersed in a completely wild landscape, examining the allure of the remote in an over-crowded world

Wisdom from a humble jellyfish
by Rani Shah

We could all learn a thing or two about living in balance from our friends in the plant and animal kingdom. Take, for example, the jellyfish, one of the most energy-efficient animals in the world, moving through the ocean by contracting and relaxing, with frequent breaks in between. Or the avocado tree, which can credit its existence to a mutually beneficial relationship with the pre-historic sloth, followed by some hungry, hungry humans and the advent of agriculture. And then there is the oyster, producing a pearl as the result of an immune response when a grain of sand invades her system. What better example exists of how adversity can produce something beautiful?We need look no farther than nature—from the habits of the porcupine to the sunflower to the wombat to the dragonfly—for small and simple things we can do to slow down, recharge, and living more thoughtfully, lovingly, and harmoniously.Wisdom From a Humble Jellyfish . . . is at once charming and scientific, packed with essential wisdom and practical tips worth borrowing from our plant and animal friends for life-changing self-care.

The Old Ways
by Robert Macfarlane

In The Old Ways Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast network of routes criss-crossing the British landscape and its waters, and connecting them to the continents beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, of pilgrimage and ritual, and of songlines and their singers. Above all this is a book about people and place: about walking as a reconnoitre inwards, and the subtle ways in which we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move.Told in Macfarlane’s distinctive and celebrated voice, the book folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature. His tracks take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird-islands of the Scottish northwest, and from the disputed territories of Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas. Along the way he walks stride for stride with a 5000-year-old man near Liverpool, follows the ‘deadliest path in Britain’, sails an open boat out into the Atlantic at night, and crosses paths with walkers of many kinds – wanderers, wayfarers, pilgrims, guides, shamans, poets, trespassers and devouts.

Landmarks
by Robert Macfarlane

Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land, nature and weather. Travelling from Cumbria to the Cairngorms, and exploring the landscapes of Roger Deakin, J. A. Baker, Nan Shepherd and others, Robert Macfarlane shows that language, well used, is a keen way of knowing landscape, and a vital means of coming to love it.

The Garden Jungle
by Dave Coulson

The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet. Wherever you are right now, the chances are that there are worms, woodlice, centipedes, flies, silverfish, wasps, beetles, mice, shrews and much, much more, quietly living within just a few paces of you.Dave Goulson gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of these creatures, taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the lawn and diving into the garden pond. He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world.The Garden Jungle is at times an immensely serious book, exploring the environmental harm inadvertently done by gardeners who buy intensively reared plants in disposable plastic pots, sprayed with pesticides and grown in peat cut from the ground. Goulson argues that gardens could become places where we can reconnect with nature and rediscover where food comes from. With just a few small changes, our gardens could become a vast network of tiny nature reserves, where humans and wildlife can thrive together in harmony rather than conflict. For anyone who has a garden, and cares about our planet, this book is essential reading.

Bring the outside in
by Val Bradley

Love plants, but short on outdoor space? Or feeling inspired by striking terrariums and succulent gardens? Keen to create a unique home brimming with greenery? Then this is the book for you. With stunning photography and expert step-by-step tips, Bring The Outside In reveals everything you need to know to help your plants thrive, from dramatic statement foliage and miniature citrus trees to table-top terrariums and hanging planters. With chapters on orchids, cacti, herb gardens and chilli plants, your home will be flourishing in no time.

Gardening in pyjamas
by Helen Yemm

The Daily Telegraph’s much-loved columnist Helen Yemm manages to strike a happy balance between giving you enough information to get you going and not so much that it scares you or puts you off entirely. She dispenses invaluable advice, minus the mumbo jumbo, with refreshing humour and a clear understanding that not everyone has the wherewithal, in terms of time and finances, to spend every possible moment in the garden. So if you find yourself padding about your plot in your nightclothes without really knowing what to do, Gardening in Your Pyjamaswill provide you with all the essential facts to nurture your growing passion.

Mindfulness in the garden
by Murray Zachiah

Mindfulness in the Garden offers simple mindfulness verses (gathas) composed to connect the mind and body and to bring the reader/gardener’s awareness to the details of the present moment as they work in the garden. These gathas are signposts leading to nature, to the present, and ultimately to one’s self through the love and understanding they evoke. The gathas offered with each gardening activity serves to water the seeds of mindfulness within us, and softening and preparing the ground for our ability to be present.Mindfulness in the Garden values weeds as important messengers seeking to bring into close communion our spiritual nature with that of the environment. It likens spiritual practice to cultivating a garden and inspires each person to accept themselves and start where they are, weeds and all. Through the practice of mindful gardening, we invite not only the thriving of the natural world but also the flowering and beauty of the pure land of our true self to emerge.Features black and white botanical illustrations throughout.

The Natural Health Service
by Isobel Hardman

In 2016, Isabel Hardman’s mind, in her own words, ‘stopped working’ as she fell prey to severe depression and anxiety. She took time off on long-term sick leave and despite several relapses has returned to work with a much improved ability to cope. She has since become one of the UK’s most prominent public voices on mental health.

She credits her better health to her passion for exercise, nature and the great outdoors – from horse-riding and botany to cold-water swimming and running. In The Natural Health Service, she draws on her own personal experience, interviews with mental illness sufferers and psychologists, and the latest research to examine what role wildlife and exercise can play in helping anyone cope with mental illness. Straight-talking, thoroughly-researched, and compassionate, this important and often funny book will fascinate anyone touched by a mental health condition, whether themselves or through the experiences of a loved-one.

Walks in the Wild
by Peter Wohlleben

Can you tell the difference between wolf and dog prints? Which trees are best to shelter under a storm? How do you tell a deciduous and coniferous tree apart? Bestselling author of The Hidden Life of trees, Peter Wohlleben, lets you in on the quintessentials of his forestry knowledge. He invites you on an atmospheric journey of discovery. Learn to find your way around the woods without a compass or GPS, which berries and mushrooms are good to eat, how to read animal tracks and what it’s like to spend a night alone in a forest.

The Hidden Life of Trees
by Peter Wohlleben

Research is now suggesting trees are capable of much more than we have ever known. In The Hidden Life of Trees, forester Peter Wohlleben puts groundbreaking scientific discoveries into a language everyone can relate to. In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group. Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth. After a walk through the woods with Wohlleben, you’ll never look at trees the same way again.

Slow
by Jo Peters

Discover ways to slow down time with this invaluable guide to slow living. It will not only boost your physical and mental well-being but enrich your relationships and help you to reconnect with what’s really important.

With practical advice on self-care, breathing techniques, mindfulness, ethical living and eating, and how best to cultivate quiet moments every day, ‘Slow’ is your companion to a happier, calmer you.

Salt on your tongue
by Charlotte Runcie

Charlotte Runcie has always felt pulled to the sea, lured by its soothing, calming qualities but also enlivened and inspired by its salty wildness. When she loses her beloved grandmother, and becomes pregnant with her first child, she feels its pull even more intensely.In Salt On Your Tongue Charlotte explores what the sea means to us, and particularly what it has meant to women through the ages. This book is a walk on the beach with Turner, with Shakespeare, with the Romantic Poets and shanty-singers. It’s an ode to our oceans – to the sailors who brave their treacherous waters, to the women who lost their loved ones to the waves, to the creatures that dwell in their depths, to beach trawlers, swimmers, sea birds and mermaids.In mesmerising prose, Charlotte Runcie explores how the sea has inspired, fascinated and terrified us, and how she herself fell in love with the deep blue. Navigating through ancient Greek myths, poetry, shipwrecks and Scottish folktales, Salt On Your Tongue is about how the wild untameable waves can help us understand what it means to be human.

Down to the river and up to the trees : discover the magic of forest therapy and many more natural wonders
by Sue Belfrage

In a stressful, chaotic world, many of us are turning to nature for a sense of serenity and happiness.This new wellness trend captures the desire to surround ourselves with flora and fauna. While the idea of the wild outdoors is enticing, though, our busy lives and our location can cause us to become detached from nature. Nature Notes will show you how to connect with the natural world around you, whether you live in the city or the countryside.From getting to know the local wildlife, to foraging and creating naturally-sourced masterpieces, Nature Notes is brimming with practical information, intriguing quotes and inspirational ideas. Discover how to carve your own spoon; to be able to tell if the moon is waxing or waning; or try forest bathing (surrounding yourself with trees). Learn how to make yourself at home amongst the animals and plants on your doorstep, in harmony with your surroundings.

Rewild yourself : 23 spellbinding ways to make nature more visible
by Simon Barnes

But we can make hidden things visible, and this book features 23 spells that will bring the magic of nature much closer to home.Mammals you never knew existed will enter your world. Birds hidden in treetops will shed their cloak of anonymity. With a single movement of your hand you can make reptiles appear before you. Butterflies you never saw before will bring joy to every sunny day. Creatures of the darkness will enter your consciousness. And as you take on new techniques and a little new equipment, you will discover new creatures and, with them, new areas of yourself that had gone dormant. Once put to use, they wake up and start working again. You become wilder in your mind and in your heart. Once you know the spells, the wild world begins to appear before you. For anyone who wants to get closer to the nature all around them and bring it back into focus, this is the perfect read.

A breath of fresh air
by Rebecca Frank

This book is about switching off from social media and finding contentment in the here and now – taking time out to enjoy small tasks, connect with other people and enjoy all the beauty of nature throughout the year.A Breath of Fresh Air is structured by seasons, with a focus on finding joy in the natural world. Whether it’s paddling a canoe, spotting swallows on a summer evening, daydreaming on a deckchair, foraging for wild garlic, watching a film at an outdoor cinema or recording the sounds you hear in the forest, there are over 50 creative and imaginative ways to encourage mindfulness and find calm.The book also encourages wellbeing through physical activity, making use of the beautiful places looked after by the National Trust – this ranges from a wander through a bluebell wood, to using nature’s gym to practise yoga or balance on logs, taking up running or playing in the snow. Beautifully illustrated throughout, and with lots of handy tips on where to visit or find ways to wellbeing, this is the perfect book for finding inner contentment in today’s frantic world.

The hedgerow apothecary: recipes, remedies and rituals
by Christine Iverson

Discover how to make delicious preserves, healing balms, soothing toddies and cures for colds with nature’s jewels such as rose hips, elderberries and mugwort. This sustainable and ethical art is also laced with fascinating folklore and steeped in history. With photographs to help you safely identify edible plants, advice on what is available each season and how best to prepare and preserve your finds, this is the essential guide to enjoying the bountiful delights of the hedgerows.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 May 2020. This year’s theme is kindness; a perfect theme to help us improve not just our own mental health, but that of those around us.

Why was kindness chosen for this year’s theme? Well, this is what Mark Rowland had to say:

Last week, I waited in a socially distanced queue outside the supermarket as the rain started to fall.
One of the staff noticed we were getting wet. He scurried away to find a pile of umbrellas, carefully disinfected the handles and passed them out with a smile. To my surprise, my eyes started to well up. At a time when I felt alone, I suddenly felt connected.  

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive at Mental Health Foundation

Kindness is what strengthens our bond with others, what unites and brings the community together. It’s a fundamental part of life, not just in humans, but all living things.
And when shown to ourselves and others, increases ones happiness and improves our mental health.

It’s important to show kindness to others, but often we forget to show it to ourselves. We are usually our own biggest critic and many set unreasonable targets for themselves. If this sound like you, why not try and show some self-kindness this week? Give yourself praise and acknowledge how amazing you are – for it’s true. There’s no-one better at being you, then you. Learn more about self-kindness in this article by Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.

It can be easier said then done, and sometimes we hold back in fear of looking silly, or making a fool of ourselves. It takes courage to give a compliment, to put oneself out there to brighten someone’s day. But together, we can support each other to take that step to spread kindness around us.

With social distancing it can be even harder to find a way to show kindness, so here’s a couple of ideas on how you can spread kindness in your community!

A message in the window

Spread love and kindness by inspirational quotes, or cheerful messages in your windows.

Leave a message in a book

This one will take a bit more time, but write a message on a note and leave it in your library books for the next person to discover.
Once the libraries reopen, and the books have gone through quarantine, they will be loaned out once more. And how nice would it be for the next person to find a happy message when they open that book?

Send a letter

Send a letter to someone in your life, telling them why they are important to you, or just a letter to tell them what a wonderful person they are.
We don’t send many letters these days, which makes receiving one even more special.

Take some ‘me time’!

Showing kindness is important, and showing self-kindness is just as important. Take a few hours, or a day, just for you. If you live with people, explain that you’re taking some ‘me-time’ and would like to not be disturbed for a bit. Take the chance to do something for you – write, read, listen to music, paint or anything else that brings happiness to you.
And whatever you choose to do, be kind to yourself, be proud and find something to praise yourself about.

There are some great books to read about kindness – perfect for those times when you want to relax and recharge your batteries and give your mind a break.
We’ve handpicked 10 that we think are the perfect books to read right now. These can all be found as eBooks, with some also available as eAudiobooks, through the BorrowBox app using your Hampshire Library card.
If you’ve never used our eLibrary, we have two helpful videos, one for iOS devices and the other for android devices.
If you prefer written instructions, you can find those here.

Kindness and Wonder
by Gavin Edwards

Non-Fiction
Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

For more than thirty years, Fred Rogers was a beloved fixture in American homes. Warm and welcoming, he spoke directly to children—and their parents—about the marvels of the world, the things that worried them, and above all, the importance of being themselves. Dressed in his cardigan and sneakers, Fred Rogers offered a wholesome message of generosity and love that changed the landscape of television and shaped a generation of children.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman

Fiction
Available as an eBook

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

The Kindness Method
by Shahroo Izadi

Non-Fiction
Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Map your habits, set your own goals, and treat yourself with the kindness you truly deserve.
Shahroo Izadi has a revolutionary message: treating yourself kindly is the only way to make changes that last. 

Finding Audrey
by Sophie Kinsella

Young Adult Fiction
Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .

Everything here is Beautiful
by Mira T. Lee

Fiction
Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Told in alternating points of view, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its heart, the story of a young woman’s quest to find fulfillment and a life unconstrained by her illness. But it’s also an unforgettable, gut-wrenching story of the sacrifices we make to truly love someone—and when loyalty to one’s self must prevail over all.

15 Minutes to Happiness
by Richard Nicholls

Non-Fiction
Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Would you like to feel happier and more fulfilled…but struggle to find time in your life to focus on yourself? What if, with only a few minutes each day, you could find the secret to happiness?

Radical Kindness
by Angela C. Santomero

Non-Fiction
Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

From the true meaning of self-care and the gift of vulnerability, to the importance of active listening or the magic of asking for help, Radical Kindness goes beyond The Golden Rule and entreaties to “be nice,” contending that kindness is the key to recognizing others, and ourselves, as worthy of love and understanding.

Swing Sideways
by Nanci Turner Steveson

Children’s Fiction
Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

When Annie meets California, who is visiting her grandfather’s farm, it seems she has found the perfect partner for the summer she’s always craved. Especially when California offers Annie a real-life adventure: if she and Annie can find the ponies her mom rode as a girl, surely it will remind her mom how wonderful the farm is—and fix what’s broken between her mom and her grandfather.

Kindness
by Jaime Thurston

Non-Fiction
Available as an eAudiobook

The book is themed around 52 simple actions you can do to spread kindness. Interspersed throughout are nuggets of science explaining the positive effect kindness has on the brain and on the heart. This book is a call to action for people to live a more connected, fulfilling life. With inspirational quotes and personal stories this book will give you all the motivation you need to start spreading a little kindness – it’s free after all!

The Language of Kindness
by Christie Watson

Non-Fiction
Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

In our most extreme moments, when life is lived most intensely, Christie is with us. She is a guide, mentor and friend. And in these dark days of division and isolationism, she encourages us all to stretch out a hand.

These are all available through the BorrowBox app, along with other similarly wonderful books. Check out the app, and keep an eye out for the special kindness featured books.

If you’re looking to improve your mental health, one way is by taking up a new hobby, whether it’s a sport or craft, staying active and busy can help.
Many of our libraries have regular craft groups that meet in the library, these include knitting, crocheting, sewing, scrap booking and painting groups. With the current situation, these groups are unable to meet in person, but you can find great craft eMagazines through our digital library and helpful craft videos to get you started over on our Facebook page.

Our Learning in Libraries team have been busy planning the courses and workshops coming up, and we’ll share all that with you once it’s ready. In the meantime, why not familiarise yourself with the tutors, and pick up some tips and tricks.
You can find them here!

Kindness, towards yourself and others, will aid in improved mental health for everyone. We hope that this blog has given you some ideas on how you can spread kindness in your life and in the community. And with Empathy Day being only weeks away, 9 June 2020, this is the perfect time to gear up towards it!

We would love to hear what you’ve been, or are doing as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, and how you’ve spread kindness. Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

And remember; even if it’s “only” one person’s life you brighten – that’s enough. For if we all do a little, together we’ll make alot.

Stay safe, take care of yourself and remember; you’re an amazing person!

If you feel affected by what we’ve talked about in this blog, the above three organisations are here to help.

Reading Well on BorrowBox with Hampshire Libraries

Reading Well helps you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using helpful reading.

The Reading Agency

In these strange times, many of us might find ourselves fighting those inner demons, loneliness and fears. Below are a collection of books, for children, young people and adults. Books that can support and help you through the difficult times, all of which can be found through Hampshire Libraries’ eLibrary – BorrowBox.
With you Hampshire Library card, log in to the BorrowBox app and download eBooks and eAudiobooks for free. These are just the books off the Reading Agency’s ‘Reading Well for Mental Health’ booklists, there are more available on BorrowBox. So if you don’t see a book you might like below, browse the shelves of our eLibrary here.

Not sure how to download the app? Check out our helpful videos for iOS devices here. We are currently working on an instructional video for Android devices, so watch this space!
If you prefer written instructions, you can find those here.

For Children:

Clownfish
by Alan Durant
Age range: 10+


Dak’s dad has been dead for seven days when suddenly he reappears. He’s the same in almost every way, with one startling exception: Dad has turned into a clownfish, and now lives in a tank at their local aquarium. Dak is delighted by the news – he has Dad back, even if he isn’t quite as he was before. Deciding to keep Dad’s transformation a secret, Dak visits him at the aquarium as often as he can and ends up spending so much time there that they offer him a job. This is how he comes to meet Violet, the owner’s prickly but kind-hearted niece; when the aquarium is threatened with closure, the pair must work together to save it. For Dak, the stakes couldn’t be higher… after all, if the aquarium shuts down, what will happen to the fish?

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Check Mates
by Stewart Foster
Age range: 9+

Felix is struggling at school. His ADHD makes it hard for him to concentrate and his grades are slipping. Everyone keeps telling him to try harder, but no one seems to understand just how hard he finds it. When Mum suggests Felix spends time with his grandfather, Felix can’t think of anything worse. Granddad hasn’t been the same since Grandma died. Plus, he’s always trying to teach Felix boring chess. But sometimes the best lessons come in the most unexpected of places, and Granddad soon shows Felix that there’s everything to play for.

Ella on the Outside
by Cath Howe
Age range: 8+

Ella is facing some big changes. She’s just had to start at a new school, she’s moved away from her best friend Grace, her eczema is acting up, and on top of all that, she has a huge secret to keep about her family. So, when Lydia, the most popular girl in school, wants to start hanging out, things must be on the up… right?
The only problem is, Lydia really wants to know what Ella’s hiding and she’s also desperate for intel on the quiet girl in class, Molly. So just how far will Ella go to keep her new friendship?
Ella on the Outside is a hugely relatable tale that will strike a chord with anyone who has felt the pressure to please a new friend or has struggled to fit in. Ella makes mistakes, but she’s also hugely likeable, and author Cath Howe perfectly captures her anxieties and worries.

The Worry Website
by Jacqueline Wilson
Age: 9+

Is anything worrying you?  Do you have problems?  Don’t know where to turn for help?  Log on to the Worry Website, type in your worry and wait for the good advice to flow in.

For Young People:

House of Windows

House of Windows
by Alexia Casale
Age: 14+

Nick hates it when people call him a genius. Sure, he’s going to Cambridge University aged 15, but he says that’s just because he works hard. And, secretly, he only works hard to get some kind of attention from his workaholic father.
Not that his strategy is working.
When he arrives at Cambridge, he finds the work hard and socialising even harder. Until, that is, he starts to cox for the college rowing crew and all hell breaks loose…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Age: 15+

The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and music – when all one requires to feel infinite is that perfect song on that perfect drive. Standing on the fringes of life Charlie has a unique perspective of the world around him, but there comes a time to stop being a wallflower and see what it looks like from the dance floor.
This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion has become a modern classic. Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating and through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens

Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens
by Sheri Van Dijk
Age: 14+

Let’s face it: life gives you plenty of reasons to get angry, sad, scared, and frustrated-and those feelings are okay. But sometimes it can feel like your emotions are taking over, spinning out of control with a mind of their own. To make matters worse, these overwhelming emotions might be interfering with school, causing trouble in your relationships, and preventing you from living a happier life.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
Age: 13+

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

Mind Your Head

Mind Your Head
by Dr. Olivia Hewitt and Juno Dawson
Age: 13+

We all have a mind, so we all need to take care of our mental health as much as we need to take care of our physical health. And the first step is being able to talk about our mental health. Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt. Covering topics from anxiety and depression to addiction, self-harm and personality disorders, Juno and Olivia talk clearly and supportively about a range of issues facing young people’s mental health – whether fleeting or long-term – and how to manage them. 

Freaks, Geeks, and Asperger Syndrome
by Luke Jackson
Age: 11+

Have you ever been called a freak or a geek? Have you ever felt like one? Luke Jackson is 13 years old and has Asperger Syndrome. Over the years Luke has learned to laugh at such names but there are other aspects of life which are more difficult. Adolescence and the teenage years are a minefield of emotions, transitions and decisions and when a child has Asperger Syndrome, the result is often explosive. Luke has three sisters and one brother in various stages of their adolescent and teenage years but he is acutely aware of just how different he is and how little information is available for adolescents like himself. Drawing from his own experiences and gaining information from his teenage brother and sisters, he wrote this enlightening, honest and witty book in an attempt to address difficult topics such as bullying, friendships, when and how to tell others about AS, school problems, dating, relationships and morality. 

The Self-Esteem Team's Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs?!!

The Self-Esteem Team’s Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs?!!
by Nadia Mendoza, Grace Barrett and Natasha Devon
Age: 16+

Sometimes everything sucks. This unique, illustrated guide

Sometimes being a teenager can seem like a relentless merry-go-round of people telling you how to dress and behave, who to be friends with, what grades you must get in order to avoid a destiny of failure and, most importantly, why you’re spectacularly effing it all up.

The Self-Esteem Team know this – because they were teenagers once. Obvs. In fact, they were teenagers enduring bullying, chronic skin issues, ‘puppy fat’ that refused to budge and ‘I’m different from everyone else’-related angst. Later, they battled self-harm, depression and an eating disorder.

That’s why the Self-Esteem Team started travelling the UK: to give teenagers the tools they need to navigate life on their own terms. Natasha Devon, Grace Barrett and Nadia Mendoza – now a successful journalist, singer/ songwriter and showbiz editor respectively – have worked with more than 50,000 young people helping them tackle mental health, self-esteem and body-image issues.

This book contains everything you really want to know, but are too embarrassed to ask your teachers, from ‘How do I know if I’m healthy?’ to ‘What’s it like to take drugs?’

Blame My Brain

Blame My Brain
by Nicola Morgan
Age: 15+

Contrary to popular (parental) opinion, teenagers are not the lazy, unpleasant – frankly, spotty – louts they occasionally appear to be. During the teenage years the brain is undergoing its most radical and fundamental change since the age of two.

Nicola Morgan’s carefully researched, accessible and humorous examination of the ups and downs of the teenage brain has chapters dealing with powerful emotions, the need for more sleep, the urge to take risks, the difference between genders and the reasons behind addiction or depression.

The revised edition of this classic book contains important new research, including information about the discovery of mirror neurons and their effect on the teenage brain.

The Teenage Guide to Stress

The Teenage Guide to Stress
by Nicola Morgan
Age: 13+

The book is divided into three sections: Section One explains what stress is and looks at the ways teenage stress is different. Section Two deals with a number of issues that affect teenagers – from anger, depression and sexual relationships to cyber-bullying, exams and eating disorders – and offers guidance and advice, as well as looking at how pre-existing conditions such as OCD and dyslexia are affected by adolescence. Section Three is concerned with how to deal with and prevent the symptoms of stress, as well as healthy ways of looking after your mind and body. At the back of the book is a glossary and list of useful resources.

I'll Give You the Sun

I’ll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson
Age: 14+

Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

Stuff That Sucks

Stuff That Sucks
by Ben Sedley
Age: 14+

Sometimes everything sucks. This unique, illustrated guide will help you move past negative thoughts and feelings and discover what truly matters to you.
If you struggle with negative thoughts and emotions, you should know that your pain is real. No one should try to diminish it. Sometimes stuff really does suck and we have to acknowledge it. Worry, sadness, loneliness, anger, and shame are big and important, but they can also get in the way of what really matters. What if, instead of fighting your pain, you realized what really matters to you—and put those things first in life? If you did that, maybe your pain wouldn’t feel so big anymore. Isn’t it worth a try?

The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens

The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens
by Jennifer Shannon
Age: 13+

Based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), this book helps you identify your “monkey mind”—the primitive part of the brain where anxious thoughts arise. You’ll also be able to determine if you suffer from generalized anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, panic and agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or separation anxiety. Full of powerful yet simple cartoon illustrations, this book will teach you practical strategies for handling even the toughest situations that previously caused you to feel anxious or worried.

The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens

The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens
by Jennifer Shannon
Age: 14+

No more worrying about what others think about you, no more embarrassment in front of other people. You could just relax and feel comfortable and confident, the way you probably think everyone else feels.
If you struggle with shyness, you’re all too familiar with the feeling of not knowing what to do or say, and you’ll do anything to avoid feeling that way. But, most likely, you also know that you’re missing out on a lot—friendships, potential relationships, and fun. You’ve chosen this book because you’re ready to stop hiding behind your shyness and start enjoying everything life has to offer.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
by Teresa Toten
Age: 13+

Understated and heart-warming, this is a story of love and determination that shows how everyone can be a superhero in their own way. When Adam meets Robyn he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He’s determined to protect and defend her, to play Batman to her Robin, whatever the cost. But when you’re fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it’s hard to imagine yourself falling in love.

Face

Face
by Benjamin Zephaniah
Age: 11+

In this startling debut novel from Benjamin Zephaniah, the author tackles the moving and compelling story of a young man, Martin, whose life is completely changed when his face is badly scarred in a joyriding accident. Brilliantly written with a real ear for dialogue, this is Benjamin Zepaniah breaking new boundaries.

For Adults:

Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness

Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness
by Gillian Butler

Don’t let shyness ruin your life. Everyone feels foolish, embarrassed, judged or criticised at times, but this becomes a problem when it undermines your confidence and prevents you from doing what you want to do. At its most extreme, shyness can be crippling but it is easily treated using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Using real-life examples, Professor Gillian Butler sets out a practical, easy-to-use self-help course which will be invaluable for those suffering from all degrees of social anxiety.Indispensable for those affected by shyness and social anxiety. Excellent resource for therapists, psychologists and doctors. Contains a complete self-help program and work sheets.

Break Free from OCD
by Gillian Butler

Are you plagued by obsessive thoughts, rituals or routines? Would you like to regain control over your behaviour and cast your fears aside?Whether you are compelled to wash your hands more and more thoroughly or feel the need to keep checking that you’ve turned off appliances, obsessive worries can be a drain on daily life. However, you don’t need to suffer any more. This practical guide, written by three leading cognitive behavioural therapy experts, enables you to make sense of your symptoms, and gives a simple plan to help you conquer OCD.Includes: detailed information on the many different manifestations of OCD; the differences between normal and obsessive worries; clear information on treating your individual problem; real-life case studies and examples; and advice and support for friends and family of OCD sufferers.Whether your condition is mild or severe, this definitive resource will help you reclaim your life and keep OCD away for good.

Overcoming Anger and Irritability

Overcoming Anger and Irritability
by William Davies

500 years ago no-one died of stress: we invented this concept and now we let it rule us. We might have evolvedto be able to miraculously balance on seven-inch heels, but as far as our emotional development is concerned we’re still swimming with the pond scum. If we don’t advance our more human qualities then we’re doomed evolution-wise to become cyborgs, with an imprint of an ‘Apple’ where our hearts used to be. Ruby Wax shows us a scientific solution to these modern problems: mindfulness.

Overcoming Low Self-Esteem

Overcoming Low Self-Esteem
by Melanie Fennell

Boost your confidence and change your life for the better. Melanie Fennell’s acclaimed self-help guide will help you to understand your low self-esteem and, armed with this knowledge, break out of the vicious circle of negative self-image, learning the art of self-acceptance and altering your life for the better.

Explains the nature of low self-esteem and self-destructive thinking. Describes what keeps low self-esteem going. Explores how to identify your positive qualities and gain a more balanced view of yourself. Contains a complete self-help program and monitoring sheets. Based on clinically proven techniques of cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
by Elaine Iljon Foreman and Clair Pollard

Change can often seem like an impossible task, but this practical book will help you put it into perspective. With guidance from two experts, you’ll recognise the behaviours and thoughts that hold you back, and will develop skills to think more positively, act more calmly and feel better about yourself. Using the same tools employed by CBT practitioners, this book is full of activities and experiments to explore and challenge, stories and exercises to provide perspective, and a clear framework to encourage and guide you. The authors’ friendly and supportive approach will help you learn to manage recurrences of negative thinking and behaviours, and to develop strong coping strategies. CBT incorporates the latest therapies and research, including ACT and mindfulness, and explicitly addresses problem areas like insomnia and depression.

Overcoming Depression

Overcoming Depression
by Paul Gilbert

Depression is very common, affecting over 300 million people around the world. Written by Professor Paul Gilbert, internationally recognised for his work on depression, this highly acclaimed self-help book has been of benefit to thousands of people including sufferers, their friends and families, and those working in the medical profession. This fully revised third edition has been extensively updated and rewritten to reflect over ten years of new research on understanding and treating depression, particularly the importance of developing compassionate ways of thinking, behaving and feeling. It contains helpful case studies and new, easy-to-follow, step-by-step suggestions and exercises to help you understand your depression and lift your mood.

Reasons to Stay Alive

Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

The Essential Guide to Life After Bereavement: Beyond Tomorrow ...

The Essential Guide to Life After Bereavement: Beyond Tomorrow
by Judy Carole Kauffmann and Mary Jordan

The period following the death of a loved one can be a time of great turmoil. This sensitive book acts as a helpful and supportive road map through the initial period of loss, and through the weeks and months that follow. The authors address not only the emotional and spiritual aspects of bereavement, but also important practical considerations which are often overlooked, such as the disposal of personal possessions, dealing with funerals, memorials and anniversaries and resolving family conflict. Drawing on many real examples from their work in bereavement counselling, they offer advice on coping with negative emotions, as well as unique and helpful guidance on breaking bad news to children, people with a learning disability and people with dementia. This practical book is essential reading for all those who have experienced bereavement or loss, as well as the friends, relatives and professionals involved in supporting them.

Overcoming Anxiety

Overcoming Anxiety
by Helen Kennerley

This ever-popular guide offers a self-help programme, written by one of the UK’s leading authorities on anxiety and based on CBT, for those suffering from anxiety problems. A whole range of anxieties and fears are explained, from panic attacks and phobias to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and generalised anxiety. It includes an introduction to the nature of anxiety and stress and a complete self-help programme with monitoring sheets based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Overcoming Worry and Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Overcoming Worry and Generalised Anxiety Disorder
by Kevin Meares and Mark Freeston

This is much more than the normal worrying we all do – it can be a debilitating disorder leading to significant personal and social problems and sometimes financial loss. Using established and proven CBT techniques, expert clinicians Kevin Meares and Mark Freeston help readers to understand that it is their propensity to worry, not the multitude of problems they worry about, that is the root of the problem. The user-friendly, step-by-step approach explains why they worry, how to recognise what feeds it and develop effective methods of dealing with it.

A Manual for Heartache

A Manual for Heartache
by Cathy Rentzenbrink

When Cathy Rentzenbrink was still a teenager, her happy family was torn apart by an unthinkable tragedy. In A Manual for Heartache she describes how she learnt to live with grief and loss and find joy in the world again. She explores how to cope with life at its most difficult and overwhelming and how we can emerge from suffering forever changed, but filled with hope.

This is a moving, warm and uplifting book that offers solidarity and comfort to anyone going through a painful time, whatever it might be. It’s a book that will help to soothe an aching heart and assure its readers that they’re not alone.

Grief Works

Grief Works
by Julia Samuel

Death affects us all. Yet it is still the last taboo in our society, and grief is still profoundly misunderstood…

In Grief Works we hear stories from those who have experienced great love and great loss – and survived. Stories that explain how grief unmasks our greatest fears, strips away our layers of protection and reveals our innermost selves.

Julia Samuel, a grief psychotherapist, has spent twenty-five years working with the bereaved and understanding the full repercussions of loss. This deeply affecting book is full of psychological insights on how grief, if approached correctly, can heal us. Through elegant, moving stories, we learn how we can stop feeling awkward and uncertain about death, and not shy away from talking honestly with family and friends.

This extraordinary book shows us how to live and learn from great loss.

The Boy with the Topknot

The Boy with the Topknot
by Sathnam Sanghera

“It’s 1979, I’m three years old, and like all breakfast times during my youth it begins with Mum combing my hair, a ritual for which I have to sit down on the second-hand, floral-patterned settee, and lean forward, like I’m presenting myself for execution.”
For Sathnam Sanghera, growing up in Wolverhampton in the eighties was a confusing business. On the one hand, these were the heady days of George Michael mix-tapes, Dallas on TV and, if he was lucky, the occasional Bounty Bar. On the other, there was his wardrobe of tartan smocks, his 30p-an-hour job at the local sewing factory and the ongoing challenge of how to tie the perfect top-knot.
And then there was his family, whose strange and often difficult behaviour he took for granted until, at the age of twenty-four, Sathnam made a discovery that changed everything he ever thought he knew about them. Equipped with breathtaking courage and a glorious sense of humour, he embarks on a journey into their extraordinary past – from his father’s harsh life in rural Punjab to the steps of the Wolverhampton Tourist Office – trying to make sense of a life lived among secrets.

Overcoming Mood Swings

Overcoming Mood Swings
by Jan Scott

For some individuals, however, emotional extremes can seriously disrupt their lives, either because they happen too frequently or because the mood swings are intense and are accompanied by other symptoms of depression or mania. This book is a self-help manual for those who have experienced mood swings and gives background information on depression and mania. The author uses tried and tested practical techniques that will help people identify and manage their mood more effectively, and achieve a more stable emotional state. Contains a complete self-help programme and monitoring sheets.

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled
by Ruby Wax

500 years ago no-one died of stress: we invented this concept and now we let it rule us. We might have evolvedto be able to miraculously balance on seven-inch heels, but as far as our emotional development is concerned we’re still swimming with the pond scum. If we don’t advance our more human qualities then we’re doomed evolution-wise to become cyborgs, with an imprint of an ‘Apple’ where our hearts used to be. Ruby Wax shows us a scientific solution to these modern problems: mindfulness.

I know what you’re thinking – what if I don’t want to stare at a butterfly wing or hear the single ting of a wind chime? My definition of mindfulness isn’t about sitting erect on a hillock, legs in a knot, humming a mantra that’s probably the phone book sung backwards, it’s something that can help us all: learning to notice your thoughts and feelings so you can truly experience life.

With mindfulness advice for relationships, for parents, for children and for teenagers, and a six-week course based on her studies of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy with Mark Williams at Oxford University, A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled is the only guide you need for a healthier, happier life.

For those worried about COVID-19, these titles may help put the mind at ease and explain these strange times in a simple, calm way:

Dave the Dog is worried about coronavirus

Dave the Dog is worried about coronavirus
by Molly Watts
Ages: 3+

With everything that is going on at the moment; big changes to children’s routines and lots of stories on the news it can be a really scary time for children.

This book aims to open up the conversation about coronavirus and some of the things they might be hearing about it and provide truthful information in a reassuring and child friendly manner.

Stay at home: A guide for people with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Stay at home: A guide for people with Coronavirus (COVID-19)
by Easy-Read Online Limited
Ages: 18+

With everything that is going on at the moment; big changes to children’s routines and lots of stories on the news it can be a really scary time for children.

Coping With Coronavirus: How to Stay Calm and Protect Your Mental Health

Coping With Coronavirus: How to Stay Calm and Protect Your Mental Health
by Dr. Brendan Kelly
Ages: 18+

A guide to staying calm and protecting your mental health during the Coronavirus panic.

Once our libraries re-open, don’t forget to check out our When a Book Might Help collection; stories about various situations that can put a child’s mind at ease and make transitions and new experiences easier to cope with and more understandable.

Naturally Mindful – Wellbeing with Nature

We invite you to seek wellbeing in nature by dipping into our new Naturally Mindful collection of 12 books that explore the benefits of spending time outdoors.

This collection will help you find your way as you start to explore the many, myriad ways of relaxing in nature. Whether you’re keen to try Shinrin-yoku, better known as forest bathing, or simply like to slip off your shoes and connect with the ocean, these non-fiction titles have been chosen to  help you thrive in the busy world we all live in, a collection of non-fiction books designed to reinvigorate your love of nature whilst improving your mental health and general fitness.

The collection will be touring our libraries, so next time you’re visiting your local library; have a look to see if they have arrived. Or, if you just can’t wait to read one of the books, you can reserve in a copy for a small charge, by clicking on the book cover below.

The hedgerow apothecary: recipes, remedies and rituals
by Christine Iverson

Learn to forage in the hedgerows like the herbalists of the past. Discover how to make delicious preserves, healing balms, soothing toddies and cures for colds with nature’s jewels such as rose hips, elderberries and mugwort. This sustainable and ethical art is also laced with fascinating folklore and steeped in history. With photographs to help you safely identify edible plants, advice on what is available each season and how best to prepare and preserve your finds, this is the essential guide to enjoying the bountiful delights of the hedgerows.

Skimming stones and other ways of being in the wild
by Rob Cowen

This is a book of simple skills that can help us to interact with nature, achieve a deeper connection with it and even step inside another dimension. Rob Cowen and Leo Critchley teach us how to make and fly a kite, make an elder whistle and build a den – and at the same time teach us about life.

Forest therapy: seasonal ways to embrace nature for a happier you
by Sarah Ivens

Who hasn’t felt better after a walk in the woods, a picnic alfresco or a swim in the sea? There is something soul-soothingly simple and refreshing about being in nature, about making the most of the great outdoors, being mindful of Mother Nature’s gifts and grabbing spring and summer – and those blue sky, brisk days of autumn and winter – with both hands. But sadly it is a skill we are losing. We are becoming creatures wrapped in walls and trapped by to-do lists, hibernating while the world sprouts, grows and changes. From a simple walk in the woods and countryside couples therapy to DIY natural beauty products and how to bring the outdoors to your home, ‘Forest Therapy’ will provide seasonal tips to help you reconnect with nature.

The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us – A Diary
by Emma Mitchell

Emma Mitchell’s richly illustrated and evocative diary records her nature finds over the course of a year and shows how being in the wild benefits our mental and physical wellbeing.

Emma Mitchell doesn’t want to beat around the hawthorn bush, she suffers with depression, and has done for twenty-five years. In 2009, the stresses of a city job became too much and she decided to move her family into a cottage in the Cambridgeshire Fens. She swapped days in the office for walks in the wood. There she began to get better. And better. Her encounters with nature proving to be as medicinal as any therapy or drug.

Filled with Emma’s beautiful drawings, paintings and photography, this is a book for those who want to bring a little piece of the outdoors with them, whether you struggle with low mood or just love discovering more about the natural world.

A breath of fresh air
by Rebecca Frank

From cloud spotting to meditating in a meadow, running on the beach to dozing in a deckchair, spark joy in your life by being outdoors and living every moment in the here and now. Switch off from social media and tune in to the tranquillity of the natural world with over 50 seasonal activities to explore throughout the year.

Shinrin-yoku: the Japanese way of forest bathing 
by Yoshifumi Miyazaki

Shinrin Yoku or ‘forest bathing’ was developed in Japan in the 1980s and brings together ancient ways and wisdom with cutting edge environmental health science. There are now forest bathing stations and walkways scattered throughout Japan, although the good news is that we can all benefit from this simple practice. Simply put, forest bathing is the practice of walking slowly through the woods, in no hurry, for a morning, an afternoon or a day. It is a practice that involves all the senses and as you gently walk and breathe deeply, the essential oils of the trees are absorbed by your body and have an extraordinary effect on stress levels, positive feelings, energy levels and even promote the activity of NK (anticancer) cells and the balancing of blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

Wild signs and star paths: 52 keys that will open your eyes, ears and mind to the world around you
by Tristan Gooley

Tristan Gooley, author of the bestselling ‘Walker’s Guide’ and ‘How To Read Water’, shows how it is possible to achieve a level of outdoors awareness that will enable you to sense direction from the stars and plants, forecast weather from woodland sounds and predict the next action of an animal from its body language – instantly.

Down to the river and up to the trees: discover the magic of forest therapy and many more natural wonders
by Sue Belfrage

In a stressful, chaotic world, many of us are turning to nature for a sense of serenity and happiness. While the idea of the wild outdoors is enticing, though, our busy lives and our location can cause us to become detached from nature. ‘Down to the River and Up to the Trees’ will show you how to connect with the natural world around you, whether you live in the city or the countryside. There is space too for you to record your thoughts and findings, whatever shape they take.

Rewild yourself: 23 spellbinding ways to make nature more visible
by Simon Barnes

“We’re not just losing the wild world. We’re forgetting it. We’re no longer noticing it.  We’ve lost the habit of looking and seeing and listening and hearing. We’re beginning to think it’s not really our business.  We’re beginning to as if it it’s not there any more.” Whether you live in city or suburbs or deep countryside, this book will bring you closer to the nature that exists all around you.

Blue mind: how water makes you happier, more connected and better at what you do
by Wallace J. Nichols

Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In ‘Blue Mind’, Wallace J. Nichols revolutionises how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water.

Salt on your tongue: women and the sea
by Charlotte Runcie

Charlotte Runcie has always felt pulled to the sea, lured by its soothing, calming qualities but also enlivened and inspired by its salty wildness. When she loses her beloved grandmother, and becomes pregnant with her first child, she feels its pull even more intensely. In ‘Salt On Your Tongue’ Charlotte explores what the sea means to us, and particularly what it has meant to women through the ages. This book is a walk on the beach with Turner, with Shakespeare, with the Romantic Poets and shanty-singers. It’s an ode to our oceans – to the sailors who brave their treacherous waters, to the women who lost their loved ones to the waves, to the creatures that dwell in their depths, to beach trawlers, swimmers, seabirds, and mermaids.

Mountains of the mind: a history of a fascination
by Robert Macfarlane

Since they were once avoided at all costs, how have mountains, in the space of three centuries, come to exert such a strange and sometimes fatal hold on the imagination, moving millions every year to risk their lives? The author of this engaging book seeks to answer these questions.

Reading Well for children

Reading Well for children will support the mental health and wellbeing of children, providing children and their families and carers with information, advice and support for coping with feelings and worries, 
daily life and getting through a tough time.

The Reading Agency

All the books on this list have been chosen by children and families, as well as a panel including colleagues from public libraries, NHS England, Mind, the Royal College of GPs, and the School Library Association.
The books includes a wide range of reading levels, while also being aimed at children age 4-11. These titles will be good to read together with the child so to answer any questions that might come up; but can also be read by the child on their own.

This year’s focus is on these six areas:

Healthy minds
Feelings
Worries
The world around you
Dealing with tough times
Living well with a diagnosed condition

Below you will find the full list of the Reading Agency’s booklist, of which, all but two can be found in Hampshire Libraries. Click or tap the book cover for a link to the Hampshire Library catalogue; from which you can reserve the book for a small charge.

Healthy Minds

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What’s Going on Inside my Head?
by Molly Potter and illustrated by Sarah Jennings
Age range: 4+

We all know that healthy minds are really important but how do we make
sure we look after our mental health from a very young age? What’s Going On Inside My Head? is a book for children that explores practical ways we can keep our minds in good shape as well as our bodies. By talking about positive self-image, emotional intelligence, relationships, and mindfulness, this book will help children develop healthy habits and good coping strategies from the start. Presented in a warm, childfriendly but no-nonsense way, it will help establish solid foundations for every child’s current and future wellbeing.

Healthy for Life: Self-esteem and mental health
by Anna Claybourne and illustrated by Dan Bramall
Age range: 9+

Growing up isn’t always easy – your brain is changing and there’s many things to cope with from new emotions to stress. This book explores what is self-esteem and mental health and why it’s important, looking at topics such as mental illness, phobias, eating disorders and self-harm. It looks at techniques to deal with issues including stress reduction, mindfulness and assertiveness.

How Not to Lose It: Mental Health Sorted
by Anna Williamson and illustrated by Sophie Beer
Age range: 9+

Family. Friends. Exams. Are you finding life a struggle? At times, it can feel like nothing but problems and pressure. But the good news is that even if you’re struggling to think straight, you can learn to be the boss of your brain. Creating healthy habits. Staying in the moment. Breaking negative thought patterns. Finding things to be happy about. Tricks like this are like taking your mood to the gym – helping you feel good and bounce back from obstacles. Attitudes, fears, stress levels: take charge of yours right now!

Feelings

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How Are You Feeling Today?
by Molly Potter and illustrated by Sarah Jennings
Age range: 0+

Children have strong feelings and they can’t always handle them very well. Perfect for sharing, How Are You Feeling Today? is packed with fun, imaginative ways to help children understand and cope with a whole range of different emotions. A great dip-in book where children can choose a feeling that relates to them and then turn to the page that provides child-friendly strategies for dealing with that feeling. Helpful parent/carer notes at the back of the book provide more ideas for parents to use with their child and other strategies to try out together and practice the all-important skill of dealing with feelings.

Exploring emotions
by Paul Christelis and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli
Age range: 5+

This mindfulness story book for children includes simple mindfulness activities, which have been shown to help relieve stress and anxiety and improve health and mental well-being. This book shows children how to cope with different emotions, from anger and jealous, to sadness and disappointment. The children are gently guided into mindfulness exercises that encourage an exploration of emotions.

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Feeling Angry!
by Brian Moses and illustrated by Mike Gordon
Age range: 5+

This picture book story explores feelings of anger in a light-hearted way using everyday situations that children might be familiar with. This book
shows different reasons why young people might become angry, illustrates scenarios of them behaving angrily, and gives advice on how to calm anger in yourself and to be able to help other people. Ideal for home or classroom, this book contains notes for parents and teachers with suggestions of ways to help children deal with feeling angry.

Sometimes I Feel Sad
written and illustrated by Tom Alexander
Age range: 5+

Feeling sad is, unfortunately, a part of everyone’s life, and there’s not always an easy fix. This touching book helps explain to children that they’re not alone in feeling this way and is especially useful for children who struggle to express their feelings.

Worries

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Ruby’s Worry
by Tom Percival
Age range: 3+

Ruby loves being Ruby. Until, one day, she finds a worry. At first, it’s not such a big worry, and that’s all right, but then it starts to grow. It gets bigger and bigger every day and it makes Ruby sad. How can Ruby get rid of it and feel like herself again?
When Ruby makes a friend – who has a worry too – and talks about what’s
bothering her, everything explodes with colour and the world goes back to normal. Ruby soon realises that everybody gets worries, and they are nothing to be ashamed of.
This is a perceptive and poignant story about anxiety and how a problem shared is a problem halved.

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Questions and Feelings About: Worries
by Paul Christelis and illustrated by Ximena Jeria
Age range: 5+

A gentle, down to earth book for addressing the things that can cause
children to be anxious and worried. Mindfulness expert Paul Christelis
expertly explores everyday situations in picture book form, helping children to recognise signs of worry and giving them reassurance and simple suggestions on how to cope with any worries

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Grobblechops
by Elizabeth Laird, illustrated by Jenny Lucander
Age range: 5+

Amir doesn’t want to go to bed. He is scared of the dark and afraid there might be a monster under his bed; a monster called Grobblechops who has huge teeth and growls like a tiger. Dad reassures Amir that if he growls louder, the monster will go away – but Amir can’t help catastrophising and worrying that Grobblechops’s mum and dad will join in the fight and eat him up. Luckily, Amir’s dad is a bit of an expert when it comes to monsters, and can rationalise and defuse all his son’s anxiety to the point where Grobblechops becomes a friend rather than a threat.
Stunning, collage-style illustrations reflect the quelling of Amir’s fears as Grobblechops and his parents subtly mutate from frightening to friendly.

Me and My Fear
written and illustrated by Francesca Sanna
Age range: 5+

When a young girl has to travel to a new country and start at a new school, her Fear tells her to be alone and afraid. How can she hope to make friends if she doesn’t understand their language? A heart-warming and relevant new tale from the bestselling author and illustrator of The Journey, this book shows us the importance of sharing your Fear with others – after all, everyone carries a Fear with them, even if it’s small enough to fit into their pocket!

All Birds Have Anxiety
by Kathy Hoopmann
Age range: 6+

Life as a bird can be stressful! From worrying about airplanes, windows, and getting enough worms to eat, it is clear that birds can be anxious beings. Through a light-touch, quizzical depiction of bird behaviour, All Birds Have Anxiety uses colourful images and astute explanations to explore with gentle humour what it means to live with anxiety day-today, and how to begin to deal with it. The combination of understanding and gentle humour makes this the ideal introduction to anxiety disorder for those diagnosed with this condition, their family and friends and those generally interested in understanding anxiety.

Worry Angels
by Sita Brahmachari and illustrated by Jane Ray
Age range: 8+

Amy May knows about webs of worries – so many people she meets are caught in them, from her own artist dad to newly arrived refugee Rima and her family. By being brave enough to open up her worry box, Amy May helps all those around her find a way forward. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers.

Outsmarting Worry
by Dawn Huebner, illustrated by Kara McHale
Age range: 9+

Worry has a way of growing, shifting from not-a-big-deal to a VERY BIG DEAL in the blink of an eye. This big-deal Worry is tricky, luring children into behaviours that keep the anxiety cycle going. Children often find it hard to fight back against Worry, but not anymore. Outsmarting Worry teaches 9-13-year olds and the adults who care about them a specific set of skills that makes it easier to face – and overcome – worries and fears. Smart, practical, proven techniques are presented in language immediately accessible to children with an emphasis on shifting from knowing to doing, from worried to happy and free.

The World Around You

At school

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Dealing With Bullying
by Jane Lacey and illustrated by Venitia Dean
Age range: 7+

This book teaches readers how to deal with bullies and make sure they don’t give in to peer pressure to bully others. It features seven stories from children who have a range of bullying problems from a girl who is being left out by her friends to a boy bullied for the way he speaks. It features both verbal and physical bullying. The stories help readers understand and empathise with characters, while also offering practical advice that readers can use in their everyday lives. The end of the book features a short playscript to act out and discuss.

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Accidental Trouble Magnet: (Planet Omar)
by Zanib Mian and illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik
Age range: 6+

Planet Omar is a book about being different, growing friendships and overcoming hurdles.
Omar has just moved into a new house with his family: sticky-fingered little brother Esa, snooty older sister Maryam and his scientist parents. Going to a new school turns out to be okay, apart from the fact that class bully Daniel tells Omar that because he’s a Muslim, he’s going to be kicked out of the country and will have to go and live in Pakistan. Understandably worried, Omar asks his cousin if that’s true, and both hope it isn’t, because there’s a distinct lack of good pizza there. Plus, there’s mean Mrs Rogers next door who complains loudly about Omar’s mum frying onions.
Yet when mean Mrs Rogers has an accident, Omar’s family is there to help. And when Omar and bully Daniel get stranded on a school trip in London, Omar realises that Danny isn’t so tough after all…

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The Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia and Its Amazing People
by Kate Power and Kathy Iwanczak Forsyth
Age group: 7+

Use this guide to weed out what dyslexia means for you and discover the tools you need to blossom! Dyslexia comes to life with visual imagery and colourful text in this new book on what dyslexia means, how it feels, what to do about it, and how to learn to embrace it. This beautifully designed book, complete with stunning visuals and gentle humour, approaches the subject of dyslexia in a simple and encouraging way for all age groups. By showing what dyslexia is and asking the reader how it applies to them, this book offers a fun and engaging means of working out how dyslexia affects the individual specifically, with a multitude of learning tools and tips, and a gallery of inspirational dyslexics who have used their particular skills to do something amazing with their lives.

Ella on the Outside
by Cath Howe
Age range: 8+

Ella is facing some big changes. She’s just had to start at a new school, she’s moved away from her best friend Grace, her eczema is acting up, and on top of all that, she has a huge secret to keep about her family. So, when Lydia, the most popular girl in school, wants to start hanging out, things must be on the up… right?
The only problem is, Lydia really wants to know what Ella’s hiding and she’s also desperate for intel on the quiet girl in class, Molly. So just how far will Ella go to keep her new friendship?
Ella on the Outside is a hugely relatable tale that will strike a chord with anyone who has felt the pressure to please a new friend or has struggled to fit in. Ella makes mistakes, but she’s also hugely likeable, and author Cath Howe perfectly captures her anxieties and worries.

Online

#Goldilocks: a hashtag cautionary tale
by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross
Age range: 3+

Everyone loves Goldilocks’ hilarious online videos, but in her quest to
get more likes, more laughs and more hits, she tries something a little
more daring: stealing porridge #pipinghot, breaking chairs #fun, and
using someone else’s bed #sleep. What will Daddy Bear do when he
sees that online?
A hilarious cautionary tale for a new generation of internet-users from the prize-winning partnership of Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross, the third of its kind following Chicken Clicking and Troll Stinks.

In the news

Something Bad Happened: A kid’s guide to coping with events in the news
by Dawn Huebner, illustrated by Kara Mchale
Age range: 6+

Full of advice for children who may be worried about events in the news, this guide from best-selling author Dawn Huebner offers advice for having tough conversations with 6-12 year olds about world events such as natural disasters, terrorism and war. It addresses common questions and provides tools to calm fears.

Dealing with tough times

When someone dies

Mum’s Jumper written and illustrated
by Jayde Perkin
Age range: 4+

If Mum has gone, how do you carry on? Missing her feels like a dark cloud that follows you around, or like swimming to a shore that never comes any nearer. But memories are like a jumper that you can cuddle and wear. And Mum s jumpermight be a way to keep her close.
A simple, heartfelt and ultimately uplifting book for anyone coping with loss.

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book
by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Quentin Blake
Age range: 5+

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book chronicles Michael’s grief at the death of his son Eddie from meningitis at the age of 19. A moving combination of sincerity and simplicity, it acknowledges that sadness is not always avoidable or reasonable and perfects the art of making complicated feelings plain.

If all the world were…
by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Alison Colpoys
Age range: 5+

A moving, lyrical picture book about a young girl’s love for her granddad and how she copes when he dies, written by poet and playwright Joseph Coelho.
This beautifully illustrated, powerful and ultimately uplifting text is the ideal way to introduce children to the concept of death and dying, particularly children who have lost a grandparent.

Clownfish
by Alan Durant
Age range: 10+


Dak’s dad has been dead for seven days when suddenly he reappears. He’s the same in almost every way, with one startling exception: Dad has turned into a clownfish, and now lives in a tank at their local aquarium. Dak is delighted by the news – he has Dad back, even if he isn’t quite as he was before. Deciding to keep Dad’s transformation a secret, Dak visits him at the aquarium as often as he can and ends up spending so much time there that they offer him a job. This is how he comes to meet Violet, the owner’s prickly but kind-hearted niece; when the aquarium is threatened with closure, the pair must work together to save it. For Dak, the stakes couldn’t be higher… after all, if the aquarium shuts down, what will happen to the fish?

Getting through a tough time

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The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself
by Ali Redford and illustrated by Kara Simpson
Age range: 4+

Boy built a wall to keep himself safe. Behind it he felt strong and more protected. Then Someone Kind came along. She bounced a ball, sang and painted on the other side of the wall, and Boy began to wonder if life on the other side might be better after all. Written for children aged 4 to 9, this gentle full-colour picture book uses a simple metaphor to explain how children who have had painful or traumatic experiences can build barriers between themselves and other people. It will help children explore their feelings and encourage communication.

Tough times at home

Up and Down Mum
by Child’s Play and Wellcome Trust and illustrated by Summer Macon
Age range: 3+

Living with Mum is a bit like a roller coaster ride. At times, she is excited and full of energy, but at others, she is tired and withdrawn. But she’s always my mum, and we’re sharing the ride. For children who grow up in the care of a parent with mental health problems, life can be filled with anxiety and uncertainty. With the aid of a clear and simple information spread, this story helps us to understand the causes of mental illness and how we can learn to live with someone who has it. Developed in close consultation with families with parental mental health conditions and created in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust.

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The Colour Thief: A families’ story of depression
by Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters and illustrated by Karin Littlewood
Age range: 5+

The Colour Thief is a simple, heart-warming tale which helps to open up the
conversations around depression and to support young children whose families have been affected. We follow a young boy who loves spending time with his dad, doing fun things together. When his father becomes sad and distant, he doesn’t understand and believes he has done something to make his dad so, despite being told otherwise. Narrated from the child’s perspective, this is the perfect book to read with children who are trying to understand the 11 cause and effects of depression and reassure them that depression passes, and their parents are not lost to them.

Living well with a diagnosed condition

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Can I Tell You About ADHD?
by Susan Yarney and illustrated by Chris Martin
Age range: 7+

Meet Ben – a young boy with ADHD. Ben invites readers to learn about ADHD from his perspective. He helps children understand what it means to have ADHD and describes what it is and how it feels. Ben explains how he was diagnosed and what he has learnt about ways to relieve his ADHD symptoms, and how friends and adults can help at home and school. This illustrated book is full of useful information and will be an ideal introduction for young people, aged 7 upwards, as well as parents, friends, teachers and professionals working with children with ADHD. It is also an excellent starting point for family and classroom discussions.

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Check Mates
by Stewart Foster
Age range: 9+

Felix is struggling at school. His ADHD makes it hard for him to concentrate and his grades are slipping. Everyone keeps telling him to try harder, but no one seems to understand just how hard he finds it. When Mum suggests Felix spends time with his grandfather, Felix can’t think of anything worse. Granddad hasn’t been the same since Grandma died. Plus, he’s always trying to teach Felix boring chess. But sometimes the best lessons come in the most unexpected of places, and Granddad soon shows Felix that there’s everything to play for.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Autism
by Louise Spilsbury
Age range: 5+

This book explores the many aspects of Autism in a child-friendly way. It
offers practical help, tips and advice as well as exploring everyday
situations, supported by, exquisite and approachable illustrations to give
a comforting story book feel, particularly suited to 5-7-year olds, but with
scope to appeal to both younger and older children. A perfect aid to help
children open up and explore how they feel and give steps they can take
to help them cope.

M is for Autism
by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School, Martin and Vicky Martin
Age range: 9+

M. That’s what I’d like you to call me please. I’ll tell you why later. Welcome to M’s world. It’s tipsy-turvy, sweet and sour, and the beast of anxiety lurks outside classrooms ready to pounce. M just wants to be like other teenagers her age who always know what to say and what to do. So why does it feel like she lives on a different plane of existence to everyone else? Written by the students of Limpsfield Grange, a school for girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder with communication and interaction difficulties, M is for Autism draws on real life experiences to create a heartfelt and humorous novel that captures the highs and lows of being different in a world of normal.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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Double Felix
by Sally Harris and illustrated by Maria Serrano
Age range: 7+

He skips every second step when he takes the stairs, taps door handles twice and positions objects in pairs. The problem has become so bad that Felix is on the verge of being expelled from school because the principal has had enough of trying to run the school around his very specific rules. Then Charlie Pye arrives and turns his world upside down. She is grown up with very few rules. She eats cereal for lunch, calls a boat home, and has a very loose interpretation of school uniform. The question is, can Felix ever learn to be wrong when he is so obsessed with being right?

Having a disability

Image result for Having a disability / Louise Spilsbury ; illustrated by Ximena Jeria.

Questions and Feelings About: Having a disability
by Louise Spilsbury and illustrated by Ximena Jeria
Age range: 5+

How do you help a young child deal with disability or explain what that means? This hands-on picture book is designed to help children with their questions and feelings about tricky topics that can be hard to talk about. The exquisite and approachable illustrations to give a comforting story book feel. A perfect aid to help children open up and explore how they feel and steps they can take to help them cope.

You can find these books, and more, in our When a Book Might Help collection.

Movember

November 2019

Movember is a campaign aimed at tackling prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention in men. It helps to raise awareness of the importance of getting health checks and to get men talking about their mental health to reduce the stigma.

Movember’s aim ‘BY 2030, WE AIM TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF MEN DYING PREMATURELY BY 25%.”

Why not join in with the Movember movement and grow a moustache to raise awareness this November? It’s a fun way to raise money and awareness for this amazing charity. Find out more on their website: uk.movember.com.

If you are worried about someone or need some advice yourself, take a look at these helpful websites:

Can reading improve your mental health?

Statistics shown by The Reading Agency say:

  • Non-readers are 28% more likely to report feelings of depression, and about 1.3 million people in the UK say they rarely read because of depression. (27)
  • Proven power of reading. An online poll of over 4000 people from a representative sample in the UK revealed that regular readers for pleasure reported fewer feelings of stress & depression than non-readers, and stronger feelings of relaxation from reading than from watching television or engaging with technology intensive activities. (28)
  • Studies have shown that those who read for pleasure have higher levels of self esteem & a greater ability to cope with difficult situations. Reading for pleasure was also associated with better sleeping patterns. (29)
  • Adults who read for just 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction. (30)

(2015) Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Quick Reads, University of Liverpool p. 5-6]↩28 [Billington, J,
(2015) Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Quick Reads, University of Liverpool]↩29 [Billington, J,
(2015) Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Quick Reads, University of Liverpool]↩30 [Billington, J,
(2015) Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Quick Reads, University of Liverpool p. 7]↩

Libraries have a wealth of material on many topics and can be a great way to get started in talking about men’s health. You can even read books from home using the BorrowBox app. This is free to use using your library card number and PIN. Find out more about Borrowbox here: Hampshire Libraries BorrowBox

Libraries also host different groups such as knit and natter, reading groups and many others. Most you can drop in to, just ask at your local library to find out what is on offer.

Books On Prescription: The Reading Well books on prescription is a national scheme by The Reading Agency. This has recommended books from a range of self-help books which have proven value in helping people who suffer from common mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, anger and panic attacks. Find the list here: Books on Prescription List

Hampshire Library Movember Booklist

The essential guide to prostate cancer / David Loshak

This text provides straightforward information on prostate cancer: from what the prostate is and how to recognise the symptoms of the condition, to what happens during screening and diagnosis, and the treatments available. All the medical issues are covered with sections that deal with the emotional effects of the disease.

This book could help : the men’s head space manual / Rotimi Akinsete.

Your body needs maintaining to keep it healthy. So does your mind. Sounds simple, but tired and outdated ideas that tell men how they ought to be, mean the message gets lost. And the results speak for themselves: suicide is the biggest killer of men under fifty. ‘This Book Could Help’ is filled with straightforward expert advice and simple techniques to help you shake off what other people say you ought to be, prioritize yourself, meet challenges and develop new strengths, in areas such as dealing with stress, motivation, work and life goals.

The essential guide to testicular cancer

This title has been written with the average reader in mind, all the information compiled is easy to understand and directed to a public that may be diagnosed with or fear the diagnosis of testicular cancer.

Suicide prevention techniques : how a suicide crisis centre saves lives / Joy Hibbins.

Focusing on the methods used at a ground-breaking Suicide Crisis Centre which has a zero suicide achievement, this guide offers strategies to help people in suicidal crisis. Founded after the author’s own suicidal experience, it challenges the established ways of working in mental health and sets out a new way to provide crisis care.

Reasons to stay alive / Matt Haig.

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, this is more than a memoir: it is a book about making the most of your time on Earth.