15 Empowering Books About Mental Health, Trauma and Diversity for Children, Teens and Adults
Books have the ability to teach us so much. They are also incredible resources for parents and caregivers to gain the tools they need to overcome life’s challenges and prepare children and teens to do the same. Quality time spent with a good, empowering book offers an opportunity to change your perspective, widen your lens, gain new insights and so much more!
Below are some empowering, beneficial books chosen by Camber professionals designed to help caregivers and young people equip themselves to manage complex topics such as mental health, trauma, diversity and more.
Empowering Books for Parents
1. What Happened to You? By Bruce R. Perry and Oprah Winfrey – IndieBound / Amazon
What are the root causes behind our reactions and behaviors? Authored by Oprah Winfrey and brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry, this book can help you learn to shift questions from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”
Designed to help adults and children move from self-blame to self-acceptance and self-love, this book shows how early experiences shape our lives and provides insights into difficult-to-understand behavioral patterns.
2. Brain-Body Parenting By Mona Delahooke, Ph.D. – Amazon
Raising kids is understandably challenging. When children act out through emotional outbursts, tantrums and out-of-control behavior, parents often jump in with correction. Backed by her clinical research in neuroscience and child psychology, author and psychologist Mona Delahooke offers a new approach to parenting. This radical approach focuses on the biology beneath the behavior, and empowers parents with the tools they need to work on themselves — while helping their children develop self-regulation skills.
3. Empowered Women Empower Girls By Melody Pourmoradi – Amazon
When you learn to become a resilient, confident and strong woman, it’s a ripple effect: you can use your knowledge to teach young girls about self-love and empowerment. This book teaches women how to find self-love and acceptance, while simultaneously teaching the young women in their lives how to build the same skillset.
4. So You Want to Talk About Race By Ijeoma Oluo – IndieBound / Amazon
Ijeoma Oluo’s book is an ideal conversation starter to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities. Covering topics including privilege, police brutality, intersectionality and the Black Lives Matter movement, this book can provide an essential education for parents and caregivers.
5. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) By Philippa Perry – IndieBound / Amazon
Relationships can be complicated to navigate — and many of us wish our relationships were stronger. In this book, leading psychotherapist Philippa Perry teaches what supports and what damages connections. You’ll learn how your upbringing shaped you, tools to handle children’s feelings and plenty of judgment-free resources to have the best possible relationships with the people who matter most to you.
Empowering Books for Younger Children
6. My Warrior Pose By Abyssinia Washington Tabron, PsyD – Amazon
Not only does this book show a five-star rating from customers, but it was also written by the Vice President of Clinical Engagement and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion + Belonging for KVC Health Systems, the parent company of Camber Children’s Mental Health. This story for children follows the main character, Jesse, through her journey to eliminate stress and worries while learning to find her calm. As many children suffer from stress and anxiety which affects their moods and feelings, this book introduces healthy skills to help younger kids find their balance. With body, mind and breath exercises, children can gain a better understanding of themselves and reach their true potential.
7. Hair Love By Matthew A. Cherry – IndieBound / Amazon
Studies show an important connection between children’s healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. Hair Love is a wonderful portrayal of the beauty of natural hair, from the point of view of a father and daughter. With positive messages about patience and hard work, this book can be a great experience for caregivers and children to read together.
8. Emmanuel’s Dream By Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls – IndieBound / Amazon
This picture book tells the true and inspiring story of a boy who was born in Ghana, Africa, with a deformed leg. While many thought he wouldn’t accomplish anything, his mother taught him to reach for his dreams. Children will see in this book how Emmanuel became a cyclist and rode across Ghana to share his story. It is an encouraging read to build awareness and perspective around disabilities.
9. The Feeling Flower By Leah Mahealani Dakroub – IndieBound / Amazon
Through reading about a flower’s adventurous day, readers will learn about coping with change and the emotions connected to it. As the flower deals with extreme weather and the disappointment that comes with it, children learn about feelings and challenging circumstances.
10. Hello, Anger By Jessica Sinarski – Amazon
Hello, Anger is a fun-filled story for children! With their backpacks full of feelings, the characters must become detectives to figure out what is underneath all the angry feelings that are present in their lives. Big feelings and emotions often have underlying reasons. It’s up to these kids to understand why they are feeling negatively and learn how to sort through it.
Empowering Books for Teens
11. Concrete Kids By Amyra Leon – IndieBound / Amazon
In this teen-focused book, playwright, musician and educator, Amyra León uses free verse to challenge youth to dream beyond their circumstances. The story takes readers on a poetic journey through Amyra’s childhood in Harlem as she navigates the intricacies of mourning, self-love and resilience.
12. Turtles All the Way Down By John Green – IndieBound / Amazon
A popular pick among teens, author John Green shares important mental health topics inside a thrilling story. As the main character struggles to be good at everything, she takes on a mystery with a friend. Readers will learn about anxiety, OCD and mental illness in a relatable and understandable way.
13. This Book Is Anti-Racist By Tiffany Jewell – IndieBound / Amazon
Navigating racism and bias can be incredibly challenging for teens. This book offers 20 activities to help youth think about racism and what they can do to disrupt it. By learning about social identities and the history of racism, young people can learn to stand up against racism and be a voice to help the world move toward equity and liberation.
14. Highly Illogical Behavior By John Corey Whaley – Amazon
We all need connection. And it’s the connections between us that might be the most important of all. When a boy with a phobia of leaving home is befriended by a girl desperate to get into her college psychology program, he has no idea that her plan is to cure him and write about it for her application. Once they enter a friendship, the truth is revealed and could destroy them. This is an exploratory story about what makes us human.
15. My Friend Fear By Meera Lee Patel – IndieBound / Amazon
Through reflection, inspirational quotes and beautiful images, readers learn to find magic in moments of fear and uncertainty. Meera Lee Patel shows us how fear is an opportunity to make big changes and that by looking within, we can find the fantastic potential within ourselves.
Additional Helpful Resources
In addition to using empowering books to learn, Camber wants to help parents thrive with other resources, too. We recognize that children don’t come with a handbook, and parenting can sometimes feel frustrating and difficult.
But while there’s no simple guide to parenting, there are many time-tested skills that every parent can benefit from learning. By subscribing, you’ll receive one email each week for 13 weeks. This series, created by child behavior experts, features helpful articles, one-minute videos and downloadable worksheets. Download the tips here.
With these resources, we hope you’ll gain more tools to take on challenges as they come and grow stronger through them. Learn more about our services and how you can help the children and families in your community.