Ann Jacobus and Nancy Bo Flood, authors and educators, offer selected nonfiction books with mental health as a focus. They are maintaining it, so if you have suggestions, please let us know in the comments. Ann and Nancy are available for workshops on this important topic for librarians, educators, and mental health organizations. Ann Jacobus. Nancy Bo Flood.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine
written by Julia Cook
illustrated by Anita DuFalla
National Center for Youth Issues, 2012
Anxiety is a subjective sense of worry, apprehension, and/or fear. It is considered to be the number one health problem in America. Although quite common, anxiety disorders in children are often misdiagnosed and overlooked. Everyone feels fear, worry and apprehension from time to time, but when these feelings prevent a person from doing what he/she wants and/or needs to do, anxiety becomes a disability.
This fun and humorous book addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to use that can lessen the severity of anxiety. The goal of the book is to give children the tools needed to feel more in control of their anxiety. For those worries that are not in anyone’s control (i.e., the weather) a worry hat is introduced.
Includes a note to parents and educators with tips on dealing with an anxious child.
What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck
written by Dawn Huebner
illustrated by Bonnie Matthews
Magination Press, 2007
(obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD)
With engaging examples, activities, and step-by-step instructions, this book helps children master the skills needed to break free from OCD’s sticky thoughts and urges, and live happier lives. This What-to-Do Guide is a good resource for educating, motivating, and empowering children to work toward change.
This book includes an “Introduction to Parents and Caregivers.” What-to-Guides for Kids are interactive self-help books designed to guide 6 – 12 year old’s and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used in the treatment of various psychological concerns. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, these books educate, motivate, and empower children to work towards change.
The Collected Schizophrenias
written by Esmé Weijun Wang
Graywolf Press, 2019
(schizophrenia, for adults)
An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well.
Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life.
In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative.
An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.