Bell Let’s Talk Day 2018

Bell Let’s Talk, taking place on January 31, 2018, is a wide-reaching, multi-year program designed to break the silence around mental illness and support mental health all across Canada. In honour of this day, we bring you a list of Canadian books for kids and teens that broach various topics relating to mental health. Pick up one of these great books at your local bookstore or library.

Picture Books

Ira Crumb

Ira Crumb Makes a Pretty Good Friend
Written by Naseem Hrab
Illustrated by Josh Holinaty
Owlkids Books, 2017
ISBN 978-1-77147-171-8
IL: Ages 5-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Anxiety | Friendship | School Life

This book puts an endearing spin on the anxiety that accompanies change and making friends. Ira thinks that because he is the new kids, he won’t have friends at school. Ira launches a campaign to befriend the neighbourhood kids. He meets Malcolm, who was new last year. Ira and Malcolm become friends.

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Margo Thinks Twice

Margo Thinks Twice
Written and illustrated by Monica Arnaldo
Owlkids Books, 2016
ISBN 978-1-77147-162-6
IL: Ages 3-7 RL: Grades 2-3

Imagination | Fears | Anxiety | Pets | Dog Adoption

Margo is an imaginative, adventurous little girl who sometimes feels nervous and uncomfortable, especially inside the wild world her imagination sometimes creates. Margo’s mind turns everyday advice into worries and worst-case scenarios. Luckily, Margo’s mom comes up with an idea to ease her daughter’s anxieties and encourage her inventive spirit in a positive way.

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Noni is Nervous

Noni Is Nervous
Written by Heather Hartt-Sussman
Illustrated by Geneviève Côté
Tundra Books, 2013
ISBN 978-1-77049-323-0
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Self-Confidence | Anxiety | Worries | Independence

Noni is nervous about a lot of things, like play dates, bossy friends and global warming. But she’s mostly nervous about her first day of school. Who will she sit with? What will she wear? And worst of all — what if the teacher is mean? As Noni learns how to navigate through her first day of school, her nerves dissipate and she ends up having a great time. This title is also available in French as Ninon s’inquiète.

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Virginia Wolf

Virginia Wolf
Written by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Kids Can Press, 2012
ISBN 978-1-55453-649-8
IL: Ages 5-10 RL: Grades 2-3

Sisters | Depression | Art

One day Virginia wakes up in a wolfish mood, and when her sister Vanessa tries to cheer her up, nothing works — not even making funny faces at their brother. Finally Vanessa decides to bring the outside inside by painting trees, strange candy blossoms, green shoots and frosted cakes on the walls of their room. This is a tale that looks at depression and celebrates the transformative power of art.

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Junior & Intermediate Fiction

The Best Mistake Mystery

The Best Mistake Mystery
(The Great Mistake Mysteries, Book 1)
Written by Sylvia McNicoll
Dundurn, 2017
ISBN 978-1-4597-3625-2 l $7.99 EB 978-1-4597-3627-6
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 5-6

Friendship | Anxiety | Mystery | Dogs | Sleuthing | Middle School

Dog walker extraordinaire Stephen Nobel calms his anxiety by counting his daily mistakes. When two crazy events happen in one day, Stephen can’t leave it alone. But his curiosity gets him, his friend Renée and his doggy clients involved in a dangerous mystery! How can Stephen save everyone? To solve the mystery, Stephen will have to count on all of his new friends.

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OCDaniel

OCDaniel
Written by Wesley King
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4814-5531-2
IL: Ages 10-14 RL: Grades 5-6

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder | Mystery | Self-Acceptance | Mental Health | Identity | Friendship | Humour

Thirteen-year-old Daniel — a budding author, friend and second-string football player — is plagued by “Zaps,” triggers such as an unlucky number that compel him to repeat certain actions — rituals that leave him exhausted and positive he is crazy. His life gets weirder when Sara, a selectively mute schoolmate, sends him a mysterious note and draws him into a mystery that just might change everything.

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The Sewing Basket

The Sewing Basket
Written by Susan White
The Acorn Press, 2013
ISBN 978-1-894838-99-3
IL: Ages 10-13 RL: Grades 4-5

Mental Illness | Family | World Events

It is 1967, and 12-year-old Ruth Iverson’s world pretty much revolves around her friends, a boy she likes, the Monkees and spending time with her dad, doing special stuff like watching the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. But she is soon to realize that her mom’s strange behaviour, which has become an embarrassment, is a symptom of a disease that will affect the family’s life, and possibly Ruth’s future.

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Timo's Party

Timo’s Party
Written by Victoria Allenby
Illustrations by Dean Griffiths
Pajama Press, 2016
ISBN 978-1-77278-008-6
IL: Ages 6-9 RL: Grades 1-2

Cooking | Parties | Friendship | Animals | Anxiety | Courage

Big parties make Timo’s fur stand on end. But hosting an apple festival in his orchard and inviting Madame LaPointe, a famous food critic, might help his friend Hedgewick make his culinary dreams come true! Timo’s friends help with all the invitations, preparations and decorations. But, when the big day arrives, will all their work and Timo’s belief in Hedgewick’s cooking be enough to impress Madame LaPointe?

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Young Adult Fiction

10 Things

10 Things I Can See From Here
Written by Carrie Mac
Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
ISBN 978-0-399-55625-8
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grades 9-10

Teen Romance | Anxiety | Family | Relationships | Acceptance | LGBTQ

Maeve struggles with severe anxiety, and it’s not something she can just talk herself out of. Now she is moving to Vancouver to live with her dad. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her pregnant stepmom’s home-birth plans and a new relationship with Salix, a carefree local girl, can Maeve navigate through all the potential catastrophes to be there for the people she loves?

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Faerie

Faerie
Written by Eisha Marjara
Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015
ISBN 978-1-55152-618-8
IL: Ages 12 and up RL: Grades 7-8

Anorexia | Mental Illness | Family | Control | Loss

The horror of becoming an adult, and leaving childhood behind, has broken Lila’s heart. She likens herself to a half-human faerie creature not belonging to the earthly world; in reality, she is a psychiatric patient, being treated for anorexia — her sickness driven by the irrational need to undo nature and stop time. Lila is desperate to escape her body, to set the faerie inside her free.

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Identify

Identify
(Orca Soundings)
Written by Lesley Choyce
Orca Book Publishers, 2017
ISBN 978-1-4598-1406-6
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grades 4-5

Gender Identity | Sexuality | Anxiety | Friendship | Mental Health | Drugs | Bullying

Ethan, an anxiety-ridden loner, is befriended by Gabriella, or Gabe, as she prefers to be known. When Ethan discovers that Gabe is under pressure to act and dress more “like a girl,” and is being threatened at school, he finds the courage to confront her tormentor. A plan to set things right ends up helping them both discover who they really are.

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The Most Dangerous Thing

The Most Dangerous Thing
Written by Leanne Lieberman
Orca Book Publishers, 2017
ISBN 978-1-4598-1184-3
IL: Ages 13-16 RL: Grades 7-8

Desire | Sexuality | Depression | Judaism | Family | Romance | Anxiety | Mental Illness

Sydney hates to talk about sex. She’s also secretly fighting depression, and she’s sure she’ll never have a boyfriend. When her classmate Paul starts texting her, she is caught off guard by his interest and the unfamiliar desire it has awakened. Sydney begins to re-examine her relationship with her body and grapple with what she calls the most dangerous thing about sex: female desire.

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Non-Fiction

Anxiety Deal with it

Anxiety: Deal With It Before It Ties You Up in Knots
(Deal With It)
Written by Joey Mandel
Illustrated by Ted Heeley
James Lorimer, 2014
ISBN 978-1-4594-0709-1
IL: Ages 9-13 RL: Grades 5-6

Anxiety | Mental Health | Coping Strategies

This accessible title helps kids understand anxiety and offers practical ideas for coping. Filled with information, quizzes, definitions and helpful hints, this book helps young people identify and deal with the different ways that anxiety is expressed, from phobias to panic attacks, in settings as diverse as home, the schoolyard and the mall. Strategies for kids coping with anxiety are included.

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Depression and other mood disorders

Depression and Other Mood Disorders
(Understanding Mental Health)
Written by Jon Eben Field
Crabtree Publishing, 2014
ISBN 978-0-7787-0090-6
IL: Ages 10-15 RL: Grades 5-6

Mental Health | Depression | Mood Disorders

Depression and mood disorders are common but serious mental illnesses that occur across all age groups, genders, economic classes and ethnic groups. This enlightening title examines the causes and symptoms of depression and other mood disorders and provides information about treatment options. There is a chapter on caregiver support as well as one titled “Depression Toolbox” that offers useful coping strategies for daily challenges.

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Don't Stress

Don’t Stress: How to Handle Life’s Little Problems
Written by Helaine Becker
Scholastic Canada, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4431-4842-9
IL:Ages 8-12 RL: Grades 3-4

Stress | Control | Relaxation | Activities | Self-Help | Empowerment

Stay in the Moment. Breathe. Don’t Stress. Being a kid can be stressful and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control. Award-winning author Helaine Becker has created this playbook for managing stress with light-hearted tone. Explore common, stress-inducing scenarios, then discover techniques to help manage emotions and make calmer choices. Learn to take a more relaxed approach to dealing with school, friendship, parents, homework and more!

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Stress Less

Stress Less! A Kid’s Guide to Managing Emotions
(Healthy Habits for a Lifetime)
Written by Rebecca Sjonger
Crabtree Publishing, 2015
ISBN 978-0-7787-1886-4
IL: Ages 5-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Stress | Anxiety | Feelings | Mental Health | Healthy Lifestyle

Good mental health is as important as good physical health to our overall fitness. This timely title helps young readers understand signs of stress and offers strategies to manage their emotions and help reduce feelings of anxiety. Simple activities such as breathing exercises help children learn how to relieve tension and improve concentration.

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