January 30, 2019 Laura C.

10 Books to Help Start a Conversation about Mental Health With Your Kids

In honour of Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 30th, we have put together a collection of books that explore the day-to-day struggles of being a kid.

These books highlight the importance of understanding one’s emotions, standing up for what you believe in and most important of all, that you are not alone.

Having a conversation about mental health or educating your kids (and yourself) about it is the perfect way to reduce the stigma associated with it. It is never too early to talk to your kids about mental health.

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino and Isabelle Malenfant

Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. He dreams about having space adventures, paints beautiful pictures and sings the loudest during circle time. But most of all, Morris loves his classroom’s dress-up centre — he loves wearing the tangerine dress.

A story about the courage and creativity it takes to be different.

Calvin by Martine Leavitt

In the town of Leamington, Ontario, a seventeen-year-old boy named Calvin is suddenly stricken by a schizophrenic episode and wakes up in hospital.

Martine Leavitt brings her inimitable gentle wit, humor and compassion to a story about a teenager struggling to gain control of his own mind and destiny.

Ophelia by Charlotte Gingras and Daniel Sylvestre

Two teenaged outsiders, Ophelia and Ulysses, establish an uneasy truce.

One night, intruders invade their sanctuary, and their shared bond and individual strength are sorely tested.

A visually arresting, one-of-a-kind collage-style novel.

Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault

In this powerful new graphic novel from Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, we meet Louis, a young boy who shuttles between his alcoholic dad and his worried mom, and who, with the help of his best friend, tries to summon up the courage to speak to his true love, Billie.

Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault

Hélène has been inexplicably ostracized by the girls who were once her friends. Her school life is full of whispers and lies — Hélène weighs 216; she smells like BO. Her loving mother is too tired to be any help. Fortunately, Hélène has one consolation, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

The Mosaic by Nina Berkhout

Twyla Jane Lee has one goal. To finish senior year so she can get out of her military hometown of Halo, Montana. But to graduate, she needs to complete forty hours of community service, and that means helping out a rude and reclusive former Marine named Gabriel Finch, a young veteran of the conflicts in the Middle East.

Gradually the two misfits form a bond, and Twyla begins to unearth the secrets that have left the Marine battling ghosts.

A Small Madness by Dianne Touchell

Rose and Michael are good students with bright futures and are very much in love. But when Rose gets pregnant she pulls away from her best friend, and from Michael, while she struggles to cope with her predicament.

Rose cannot admit that she is pregnant, moving from denial to ineptly trying to terminate her pregnancy, to believing that she has miscarried. She is on a mental and emotional downward spiral. Meanwhile, Michael sinks into his own kind of small madness.

Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

“Skim” is the story of Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls’ school in Toronto in the early nineties.

Depression, love, sexual identity, crushes, manipulative peers –teen life in all its dramatic complexities is explored in this touching, pitch-perfect, literary graphic masterpiece.

Lily and Taylor by Elise Moser

After her older sister is murdered in a horrific incident of domestic abuse, Taylor begins a new life in a new town. She meets Lily, whose open, warm manner conceals a difficult personal life of her own, coping with her brain-injured mother. The two girls embark on a tentative friendship. But just when life seems to be smoothing out, Taylor’s abusive boyfriend, Devon, arrives on the scene, and before they know it, the girls find themselves in a situation that is both scary, and incredibly dangerous.

Broken Memory by Elizabeth Combres

Hiding behind an armchair, five-year-old Emma does not witness the murder of her mother, but she hears everything. And when the assassins finally leave, the young Tutsi girl somehow manages to escape.

When the country establishes courts to allow victims to face their tormenters in their villages, Emma is uneasy and afraid. But through her growing friendship with a young torture victim and the gentle encouragement of an old man charged with helping child survivors, Emma finds the courage to return to the house where her mother was killed and begin the journey to healing.

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