After the Suicide of Someone you know (secondary age)
This newly updated and revised edition has been specifically written for NZ young people affected by the suicide of someone they know. Simply written, in a youth friendly style and featuring colour and photos, this helps teens to process and handle what’s happened. Ideal for schools, youth service providers and youth groups. It has also proved popular with young adults and adults. It is a skylight/SPINZ partnership publication and is now used widely around NZ after a suicide.
Because Everything Is Right But Everything Is Wrong (secondary age)
An accessible and thought-provoking debut novel following Caleb in his last year of high school, and his experiences going through and coming to terms with mental illness. It’s a raw and at times unexpected journey, yet it manages to connect on a level that feels incredibly relatable and authentic. Set mostly at his high school, there’s an early sense of familiarity to Caleb’s world and the fears and challenges he faces.
Don’t let your emotions run your life for teens (secondary age)
This self-help book is suitable for teenagers of any age (and adults) regarding learning self-awareness, managing emotions, improving moods and healthy relationships. The author explores what is, and how do teenagers manage emotions by using, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy skills – in a language that teenage readers can understand. Simple yet useful explanations, self-assessments, examples and strategies are provided that can be tried in everyday situations. If a teenager you know is struggling to find a peaceful connection with their self and their emotions, this book may provide them with an easy to use approach to finding inner calm during difficult times.
The format, style and font used makes this book easy to read and understand, and is written in a way that readers can spend time practising the content of each paragraph before moving on. Examples used are relatable, and the paragraphs can be read in any order. While this book can be used by any teenager, those under the age of 15 may benefit from having someone they trust working through sections with them.
Fighting Invisible Tigers (secondary age)
Fighting Invisible Tigers uses the metaphor of a tiger to explain what stress is and the effects that it can have. It is aimed at young people and covers common stressful situations that they have to deal with, and includes tips and strategies to help manage these. Strategies include healthy eating, exercise, self-care, relaxation exercises, healthy relationships, time management, goal setting, assertiveness skills, positive self-talk and decision making. The valuable information in this book is conveyed using language that is straight forward, simple and easy to understand. Additionally, quotes from teenagers about their own struggles and successes are included, making it more relatable for young readers.
From Worrier to Warrior: A guide to conquering your fears (all ages)
From Worrier to Warrior, a companion book to Make Your Worrier a Warrior (for parents), is designed to teach you how to conquer the Worry Monster. This book shows you how to overcome worry and fear using several easy-to-follow strategies. Read the book and learn the strategies yourself, or read along with a parent or other adult. From Worrier to Warrior will teach you how to create your very own “toolbox” of ways to combat fear and anxiety to carry with you and conquer the Worry Monster at any time. With these tools, you will be able to overcome whatever challenges come your way!
I Had a Black Dog: His Name was Depression
There are many different breeds of Black Dog affecting millions of people from all walks of life. The Black Dog is an equal opportunity mongrel. It was Winston Churchill who popularized the phrase Black Dog to describe the bouts of depression he experienced for much of his life. Matthew Johnstone, a sufferer himself, has written and illustrated this moving and uplifting insight into what it is like to have a Black Dog as a companion and how he learned to tame it and bring it to heel.
Incredible You! (primary age)
Dr Wayne W. Dyer has taken then 10 concepts from his book for adults “10 Secrets for Success & Inner Peace” and interpreted them for children, creating “Incredible You”! Wayne believes that it’s never too early for children to know that they’re unique and powerful beings, and they have everything they need within themselves to create happy, successful lives. With this book, parents can introduce these important ideas to their children. The ten concepts are numbered, titled and set in rhyming verse, and vibrant illustrations bring each point to life. At the end, there are questions that kids can answer to connect these ideas to their own lives, and make them realize how incredible they truly are.
Luna’s red hat (primary age)
This book is designed to be read with children aged 6 years and over who have experienced the loss of a family member by suicide. Luna’s Red Hat addresses issues such as grief, sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt and depression, as Luna talks to her father on the anniversary of her mother’s death. At the end of the story, Luna’s father shows how the family can begin to focus on happier things, while still acknowledging the significance of the loved one who has died.
This is an easy to read book and is appropriately illustrated to convey the feelings discussed. Emotions that are commonly experienced after the death of a loved one by suicide are introduced, and prompts are provided for a parent/other adult to discuss these with the child affected by grief.
Maia and the Worry Bug (primary age)
This is an easily read book for children aged 6 to 10, designed to be read by parents and primary school children together. The story unfolds how anxiety, in the form of a worry bug, arrives at Maia’s house and takes over. The more attention the family members give to the worry bug the larger it gets, until a young neighbour points out what is happening. The family then talk about what they can do together to manage their anxiety and take back control of their lives. This book is the second in an anxiety management resource – the other Wishes and Worries is for classroom use.
The story in this book provides a focused way to discuss anxiety that would also greatly benefit many parents, including those with limited literacy. The strength of the book is how it externalises the problem of anxiety, so family members don’t feel blamed or stigmatised. It is beautifully illustrated and shows appropriate emotional expressions by the characters, so the reader can relate well to the story and the feelings that are evoked. It may be too long for most children to read at one time and is probably more suited to children experiencing anxiety triggered by natural disasters such as earthquakes. There are also eleven pages of guided exercises which provides plenty of prompts for family discussion and actions, likely to benefit families experiencing anxiety.
Manukura: The little white kiwi (preschool/primary age)
True story by world-renowned writer Joy Cowley about the beautiful rare white kiwi Manukura in picture book format for young children.
When a rare white kiwi was born in captivity at Pukaha Mount Bruce, Maori recognised this as something very special – a treasure and a sign of new beginnings.
In this beautiful picture book Joy Cowley tells the story of Manukura the little white kiwi and offers an uplifting message to all young New Zealanders.
Mr Worry (preschool/primary age)
This easy to read and well-illustrated book is suitable for adults and children to help them to gain an understanding about OCD and strategies that can help. Mr Worry provides a story that children can relate to and understand and is a platform for discussion between parents and children.The story follows a young boy called Kevin and his daily struggle with OCD. Kevin feels relief when he is diagnosed and learns that he is not “crazy” but that OCD is a particular way for some brains to manage worry and fear. Kevin begins meeting with a Counsellor who takes a playful approach in her therapy encouraging Kevin to imagine OCD as a little man called Mr Worry who is keeping a checklist of Kevin’s daily rituals. Over time, and with the help of medication, Kevin is able to listen to Mr Worry less and less.
The Author’s own son has been diagnosed with OCD and she has written this book to offer hope that OCD can be helped through medication and therapy. The important messages this book aims to communicate to other parents is that a child with OCD is not crazy or seeking attention; parents or an upsetting event do not cause OCD; discipline, coaxing, or ridicule will not cure it; and that there is hope for children with OCD.
My Anxious Mind: A teens guide to managing anxiety and panic (secondary age)
This book is for adolescents who find that their anxiety, shyness or worrying thoughts are getting in the way of them making friends, asking for help, or doing the things they want to do. Teens are guided through recognising their anxiety, accessing help and support, as well as being provided with tools and exercises which may help them manage anxiety with a wellness plan. While this book specifies a target audience age of 12 to 18, the nature of some topics (a young person’s anxiety, triggers, coping mechanisms) means it may be more suitable to be read with a trusted adult or mental health professional for those aged 12 to 15. For older teens reading this book alone, it would be useful for them to be engaged with a mentor so they have support to work through issues that are brought up for them.
This book provides a myriad of strategies and resources for a teen to work through and implement in their daily life. It is readable with a good mix of narrative with exercises and illustrations. It would likely be most effective for teens with good literacy levels who are motivated and also have support from a trusted adult or appropriate clinician. However, the tone of this book conveys that if they work hard enough they can manage their anxiety which could be damaging for some teens – recognising that anxiety occurs in the context of a teen’s whole life and there are things that they cannot control.
Oku Moe Moea (secondary age)
Victory would seem to have it all. He is growing up in one of the most beautiful locations on earth, surrounded by generations of his people. But this gifted boy struggles as his eyes are opened to the anguish of a society in change and he reaches for meaning in his life through art. Oku Moe Moea – The dream which is bigger than I am has been acclaimed by teachers and commentators as a moving novel examining the role art plays for young people in enabling the survival of creativity in the young.
Quiet the Mind (secondary age)
An Illustrated Guide on How to Meditate.
In a world where finding even ten minutes to ‘do nothing’, the benefits of meditation can be profound. Meditation is simply a way of giving our brains a well-deserved break and can actually help our brains to function healthy and happily. This beautifully illustrated guide is an inspiring and practical book which shows you how to meditate without the need for uncomfortable lotus positions or prayer beads! With his typical gentle and insightful humour, Matthew’s guide to meditation will enable to you to feel more present, more youthful, have more energy and greater concentration, improve your mood and sleep more soundly.
Rising Tide (primary age)
This New Zealand written book is an engaging story that follows Ari and his family through some big events. The book explores themes of worry, family bonds, self-belief, resilience and self-doubt. Additionally, at the conclusion of the story a very good Appendix is provided that both explains this disability and includes exercises for adults on how they can help a child or children in this situation.
For free digital and audio copies of this title visit https://www.theworrybug.co.nz/rising-tide.html