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Eight Books that Help Support Mental Wellness in Students

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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I’ve always been a worrier. In elementary school, I was afraid of speaking in class, and dreaded being called upon, even if I knew the answers. Well-meaning grownups would often say, “Don’t worry. There’s nothing to be afraid of. You just need to think positive.” I appreciated their reassurances, but you can’t get rid of anxiety with breezy bromides.

You can help ease fears by opening the door to a conversation, and here are some books that I wish I had growing up—both for myself and for the adults in my life. The following authentic and non-didactic picture books, middle grade, and teen fiction titles show realistic, nuanced characters who work on navigating their fears. These are books in which kids can feel seen and understood, and realize that they aren’t alone. Educators can make a profoundly positive difference in the life of a child, and these engaging stories also offer prescient insight into mental wellness supports. 

Healing power of art

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On the night before the first day of school, Molly Akita can’t sleep because it feels like there’s a pack of rabble-rousing dogs running wil …

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The Edges of Identity

Fawn Parker—whose most recent publication is the novel Set-Point, which “takes us to the very edge of identity, virtual and lived,” according to poet Kateri Lanthier—recommends eight books dealing with issues of identity, sexuality, and mental health. 

Heroine, by Gail Scott 

A Montreal woman masturbates in her bathtub, musing on her involvement with the '70s leftist movement, a polyamorous romance with a man always just out of reach, and her own personal identity cast against other women, other artists. Gail Scott blends poetic prose, stream of consciousness and “new narrative” (term coined by Soup magazine) to bring the reader right into the room with her protagonist. The line blurs between tense, story, character, and body. 

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Sodom Road Exit, by Amber Dawn

Starla Mia Martin moves back home to what feels like a ghost town (C …

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Ann Douglas: A Short History of Parental Guilt

Book Cover Parenting Through the Storm

"Talking History" is a biweekly series made possible through a special funding grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage. The series focuses on a wide range of topics in Canadian history, exploring the notion of history as a compelling form of storytelling of interest to large audiences. These articles by Canada's foremost historians and history experts use the power of narrative to bring the past to life, drawing connections between then and now to show how these stories are not just relevant, but essential to our understanding of Canada and the world today.

Ann Douglas is the author of a number of bestselling books about pregnancy and parenting (including The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Mother of All Baby Books) and a magazine writer who specializes in writing about parenting and health. This month, HarperCollins publishes her new book, Parenting Through the Storm: Handling the Highs, the Lows, and Everything In-Between, a guide to parenting a child who is struggling with a mental, neurodevelopmental, or behavioural challenge.

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If you’ve got kids, you’ve got guilt—parental guilt, that is. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong—or at least that’s how it can feel.

But here’s a bit of good news for the guilt-ra …

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