We all know that September will mark the beginning of no ordinary school year. Now, more than ever, mental health and wellness need to take the forefront of our attention. Everyone from kids to college students to parents and teachers could use some inspiration and encouragement. The following books will help your family start the school year on a great note, inspire creativity and get through challenging times.

For Parents

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Parenting the New Teen in The Age of Anxiety: Raising Happy, Healthy Humans Ages 8 to 24 by Dr. John Duffy

Kids are growing up with nearly unlimited access to social media and the world wide web. Starting as early as eight years old, children are exposed to information, thought, and emotion that they are developmentally unprepared to process. Because of the exposure they face, kids are emotionally overwhelmed at a young age, and they are often continuing to search for a sense of self well into their twenties. Dr. John Duffy’s parenting book is a new and necessary guide that addresses this hidden phenomenon of the changing teenage brain. Dr. Duffy, a nationally recognized expert in parenting for nearly twenty-five years, seeks to be a guide for parents raising children who are growing up quickly and, as a result, dealing with unresolved adolescent issues that can lead to anxiety and depression. View this book on Amazon!

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How to Survive Change . . . You Didn’t Ask For: Bounce Back, Find Calm in Chaos, and Reinvent Yourself by M.J. Ryan

These are challenging times. Chances are, at this moment, you’re confronting some change you never asked for—perhaps a life crisis, like a loss of a job or the failure of a dream. Maybe you have to learn to work in new ways or find a new place to live. Bestselling author, thought leader, and change expert M.J. Ryan is here to help. Within the pages of How to Survive Change…You Didn’t Ask For, you’ll find the support and practices you need to adapt successfully and ride the wave of this change, whatever it may be. In this book, the New York Times bestselling author of Attitudes of Gratitude provides strategies to retrain your brain and optimize your response to life change, step-by-step. View this book on Amazon!

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The Gift of Crisis: How I Used Meditation to Go From Financial Failure to a Life of Purpose by Bridgitte Jackson Buckley

During the 2008 Recession, Bridgitte Jackson Buckley was one of the millions affected by job loss and foreclosure. In The Gift of Crisis, Bridgitte shows you how to explore crisis as a tool for courageous change, regaining your self-esteem with self-love and self-compassion. It was through experiences of prolonged financial crisis that Bridgitte realized she subconsciously co-created experiences that felt so bad that the only place she could go was within―exactly where she needed to go. In The Gift of Crisis, you will discover how helpful going within and retaking control can be for you, too. For those who are sincerely interested in spiritual growth, yet find it difficult to make “mental room” to dedicate to such growth due to personal distractions, this inspirational book will demonstrate the practical manner in which meditation and prayer can assist during any type of crisis as a means of reaching for a calmer, clearer, more courageous and purposeful life. View this book on Amazon!

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This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 60 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down by Deborah Collins Stephens, Michealene Cristini RisleyJan Yanehiro, and Jackie Speier

Overcome adversity, embrace change, and discover your power―together. With this book, you can learn how to turn any unfortunate event into a joy-filled opportunity. In addition to stories and advice, This Is Not the Life I Ordered will teach you how to put together your own gathering of kitchen-table friends. At the end of each section, you will find tools that you can work with as a group to help each other grow, learn, and thrive. Part autobiography, part self-help book, and all useful and actionable content, the authors and friends pulled from their experiences supporting one another to help you do the same. If you are struggling with work, family, love, or just life in general, This Is Not the Life I Ordered is for you. View this book on Amazon!

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The Sudden Loss Survival Guide: Seven Essential Practices for Healing Grief by Chelsea Hanson

When a loved one passes unexpectedly, the person left behind can lose their bearings. After the sudden loss of her mother, Chelsea Hanson, a nationally-recognized grief educator and founder of With Sympathy Gifts and Keepsakes, didn’t know where to turn for help, what to do next, or how to put the pieces of her life back together. Hanson’s The Sudden Loss Survival Guide gathers everything that she learned during her own recovery process and provides an indispensable road map to aid those who’ve experienced a life-changing loss. Through the application of simple, proactive practices, The Sudden Loss Survival Guide will empower you to overcome the darkness and anxiety of grief with heart-lifting prompts and action steps that guide you towards re-engaging in life and discovering deeper meaning. View this book on Amazon!

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Positive Thoughts for Troubling Times: A Renew-Your-Spirit Guide by Allen Klein

Rarely before in history has Canada―and the world at large―been so divided. With each new Tweet, falsehood, or upsetting news headline, the things we once took for granted and believed in have become upended and, in the process, have crushed our spirit. The inspired ideas and power thoughts in Positive Thoughts for Troubling Times will provide you with hope, a renewed spirit, and a new perspective for viewing our worrisome times. Author Allen Klein, the world’s only Jollytologist, knows how the right thought at the right time can change your day for the better. In this incredible book, he offers a lifetime of positive change. View this book on Amazon!

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Little Indulgences: More Than 400 Ways to Be Good to Yourself by Cynthia MacGregor

In Little Indulgences, Cynthia MacGregor has gathered a bouquet of ways to treat yourself every day. Included in this arrangement are “Instant Indulgences,” indulgences that can be done in less than five minutes; “All-Day Indulgences;” and “Rewards Over Time.” Some are simple, free, and spontaneous. Others include decadent suggestions for spoiling yourself rotten. View this book on Amazon!

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 Everyday Energy Boosters: 365 Tips and Tricks to Help You Feel Like a Million Bucks by Sondra KornblattSusannah Seton

Need an energy boost to get through that long afternoon meeting? Put down that cup of caffeine and pick up Everyday Energy Boosters with 365 quick and easy tips to feel more energized all day every day! Bestselling health writers Sondra Kornblatt and Susannah Seton offer energy-boosting tips that can be used anytime or anywhere: Deep breathing techniques, how to track your natural energy cycles, tips for getting more sleep, and more. This daily guide helps readers boost their energy and create a calmer, more positive, and energized life. View this book on Amazon!

For Teens

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Be True to Yourself: A Daily Guide for Teenage Girls By Amanda Ford

In this book of short daily meditations and essays, Amanda Ford, a young adult herself, offers stories, information, and advice on all the important issues facing young women today: boys, dating, drinking, self-respect, self-love, fights with friends, dealing with parents, and more. When Amanda Ford emerged from her tumultuous teenage years, she saw the need for a guide to help girls learn to listen to their inner voices and think for themselves. Your daughter, granddaughter, niece, or young friend will learn to listen to her heart with this coming-of-age guide. Girls will find comfort, encouragement, and insight in these pages, along with suggestions for articulating and confiding their feelings, fears, and frustrations. View this book on Amazon!

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Badass Black Girl: Questions, Quotes, and Affirmations for Teens By M.J. Fievre

MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes in this journal designed for teenage girls. By reflecting on these topics, readers confront the issues that can hold them back from living their lives. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help readers nurture their creativity, self-motivation, and positive self-awareness. This journal celebrates girl power and honours the strength and spirit of Black girls. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek not just to inspire, but to ignite discussion and debate about the world. Girls, especially, are growing up in a world that tries to tell them how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages readers to fight the flow and determine for themselves who they want to be. View this book on Amazon!

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The Book of Awesome Women Writers: Medieval Mystics, Pioneering Poets, Fierce Feminists and First Ladies of Literature by Becca Anderson

From the first recorded writer to current bestsellers, Becca Anderson, author of The Book of Awesome Women and Badass Affirmations, takes us through time and highlights women who have left their mark on the literary world. This expansive compilation of women writers is a chance to delve deeper into the lives and works of renowned authors and learn about some lesser-known greats, as well. Some of the many women writers you will love learning about include Maya Angelou, Jane Austen, Judy Blume, Rachel Carson, Nadine Gordimer, Margaret Mead, Joyce Carol Oates, and many, many more. With the help of writers, editors, librarians, booksellers, and more, Anderson has crafted a must-read book for women everywhere. View this book on Amazon!

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The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson

Women hold up half the sky and, most days, do even more of the heavy lifting including childbearing and child-rearing. All after a long day at the office. Women have always been strong, true heroes ─ sheroes, oftentimes unacknowledged. As we shake off the last traces of a major patriarchal hangover, women are coming into their own. From the foremothers who blazed trails and broke barriers, to today’s women warriors from sports, science, cyberspace, city hall, the lecture hall, and the silver screen, The Book of Awesome Women paints 200 portraits of powerful and inspiring role models for women and girls poised to become super women of the future. View this book on Amazon!

For Kids

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Squeaky Clean Super Funny Jokes for Kidz by Craig Yoe

Squeaky Clean Super Funny Jokes for Kidz is from Craig Yoe, the former Creative Director, Vice President, and General Manager of Jim Henson’s Muppets─and former Creative Director at Nickelodeon and Disney. Craig, a retired pastor, believes that there is nothing better in life than making kids laugh and feel happy. He has been collecting jokes for years, and now he is releasing his hand-picked jokes for kids in the “Squeaky Clean” series. It’s packed with wholesome, edifying, LOL funny jokes to encourage reading and entertain children for hours. No boogers, ghosts, witches, scary monsters, insults, or put-downs─all giggle-filled good clean fun for young and old alike. View this book on Amazon!

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 Dino Dana: Dino Field Guide by J.J. JohnsonColleen Russo Johnson, and Christin Simms

Did you know that the brachiosaurus was the tallest dinosaur that we know of today? That the kosmoceratops had fifteen horns and hooks on its head? That the spinosaurus is the only known dinosaur to spend most of its time swimming? Discover this and much more in Dino Dana: Dino Field Guide. Fans of the Amazon Prime TV show Dino Dana will be so excited to have a Dino Field Guide of their own, put together by the incredible show’s creator and executive producer, J. J. Johnson. Full of colorful illustrations and fascinating science facts, this dinosaur book is sure to amaze any young dino enthusiast. This book for children is perfect for any kid who likes history and science. View this book on Amazon!


She’s Building a Robot by Mick Liubinskas

AZ is a young girl who finds herself in a robot building competition. Can she use girl power to overcome crashes, explosions, and hackers to beat school bully and three-time champ? In this funny, action-packed story about STEM for kids, the talented AZ fights gender stereotypes and learns tough lessons on leadership. With the help of her quirky friends, Li and 10, the team builds a feisty robot named Ada. Together, they work hard, solve puzzles, grow in confidence, and learn the importance of friendship and collaboration. Written to raise awareness about the challenges faced by women in science and engineering, She’s Building a Robot celebrates voices from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. More importantly, it gives girls in science the opportunity to relate to strong, brave, smart characters. View this book on Amazon!

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I Do Not Like Living with Brothers: The Ups and Downs of Growing Up with Siblings by Daniel Baxter

Learn about the importance of family with I Do Not Like Living With Brothers, aimed to teach young siblings to see the value and goodness in each other. Exploring the family dynamic of a sister living with two brothers, in this children’s book, our young narrator discovers that while her brothers are dirty, smelly, and sometimes selfish, they are also kind, funny, and helpful. Author and father Daniel Baxter, cohost of the popular YouTube channel How It Should Have Ended, shows kids that perhaps living with your siblings is not all bad. With creative examples and fun illustrations, it will teach young girls and boys how to be more generous, why we should appreciate the people we live with, and that even though living with siblings can be hard work, it’s worth it! View this book on Indigo

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Chicken Little, Come Out! The Sky is Not Falling!: Helping Children Express and Cope with Their Anxiety by Michele Winchester Vega D.S.W. LCSW-RSharen Casazza M.D.,  Katie Helpley LMRT RPT, and  Corrine Varnavides LCSW SBL-SDL

There’s a barn full of Chicken Little characters, but they don’t want to come out. It’s scary out there and they fear that the sky is falling! However, with a lot of teamwork and a little help from Chicken Little, together they can calm their fears and phobias. Using beautifully illustrated, relatable farm animals from the classic Chicken Little story, Psychiatric Social Worker Dr. Winchester-Vega offers ways to manage and normalize children’s mental health and foster conversation and understanding. Children will learn how to identify and normalize their worries, fears, and anxieties while increasing their mental health awareness and learning new strategies for improved coping. View this book on Amazon!

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Kids’ Random Acts of Kindness by The Editors of the Conari Press

When the adult version of Random Acts of Kindness was first published, hundreds of teachers across the country gave assignments to their students to write about unsolicited acts that they had experienced or initiated. Teachers sent the results to Conari Press which then put out a call for similar stories in a teacher’s magazine. Stories poured in and the result was Kid’s Random Acts of Kindness. Whimsical and funny to moving and thoughtful, this book helps restore your belief in the potential for goodness in man. In Kid’s Random Acts of Kindness, you will see how children are the truest examples of open-hearted giving. View this book on Amazon!

For College Students

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Love The Sh*t Out Of Yourself by Zoey Arielle Poulsen

Wise words and positive affirmations have the power to touch our hearts, make us laugh, alleviate our stress–while realizing the vast potential life has to offer. Grouped together, these quips, quotes, and “power thoughts” can help you deal with everything life throws at you. Build your self-esteem with daily affirmations, and you can rule the world. Like a muscle, the more you do it, the stronger your confidence and sense of self will be. More importantly, you can live a life filled with love, joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction thanks to your own positive self-regard. Simply put, you’ll be too blessed to be stressed!  Love the Sh*t Out of Yourself is the ultimate motivating, encouraging, and uplifting book to enjoy and share. View this book on Amazon!

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You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression by Kate Allan

When you have anxiety or depression, you can feel deeply alone. You can feel like you’re the only person on the planet who’s struggling with weird worries (which won’t go away), who can’t go grocery shopping without getting sweaty and panicked, who fears everything. When we feel this way, one of the greatest gifts we can receive is knowing that there’s someone out there walking a similar path, someone who understands the sorrow, the struggles, the symptoms, the hardships.  Someone we can relate to, someone who shares their story, with vulnerability and without filters. With You Can Do All Things, Kate Allan has given us such a gift. In You Can Do All Things, Kate shares her struggles with anxiety and depression, which started when she was just a child. Through her honest words, uplifting illustrations, and actionable suggestions, Kate also encourages us to keep trying and to keep going. View this book on Amazon!


It’s Your Weirdness that Makes You Wonderful by Kate Allan

Depression and anxiety are topics that can be uncomfortable to talk about, but that doesn’t mean they should be avoided. If anything, it means we need to be more aware and have more conversations about them. With the help of her adorable illustrations, art blogger Kate Allan (known through her remarkably popular Tumblr blog as “The Latest Kate”) urges us to be mindful of our mentality. Allan, who suffers from anxiety and depression herself, understands what it’s like to deal with feelings that are difficult to fight through. In this book, she provides the personal kind of encouragement that she herself needs to hear. These encouraging words, along with writing prompts, can help readers sort through and express their feelings. Kate Allan’s creative journal meets us where we are―in the midst of the feelings that say we’re not enough, we can’t handle this life, we won’t make it. Her whimsical art and simple words lift trampled spirits and combat thoughts that lead us to believe our weirdness makes us weak. Young and old, we are encouraged to love ourselves exactly as we are. View this book on Amazon!

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You’re Strong, Smart, and You Got This: Drawings, Affirmations, and Comfort to Help with Anxiety and Depression by Kate Allan

It’s not easy to discuss mental health, even though it affects everyone. We want to believe we can handle anything that comes at us, but the reality is we all have good days and bad days. Through guided illustrations, author Kate Allan opens the door to discussion about mental health in an approachable and unassuming manner. Whether you deal with social anxiety, depression, or are simply going through a rough patch, Allan is here with her friendly animals to help. The focus of this book is personal growth, both the reader’s and the author’s. With her beautiful illustrations, Allan guides us through how she went from rock bottom to managing her mental health quite well. By zooming in on mindfulness and prioritizing self-care, Allan expresses how we can get through the hardships we face and come out stronger. View this book on Amazon!


Thera-pets: 64 Emotional Support Animal Cards by Kate Allan

Thera-pets is a deck of 64 cute doodles that comes from the bestselling author of You Can Do All Things. Each card of positive affirmations offers you a daily moment of joy to escape from the problems so many of us face in this hectic, modern world. Inside, you’ll find cute animal drawings to calm your mind, uplifting quotes to help you through bad days, and words of wisdom and ways to find mindfulness. Kate Allan draws from her own experiences with anxiety and depression to create therapeutic and soothing works of art for all. Think of this card deck as a menagerie of emotional support animals to take with you anywhere―an airplane, a trip to the dentist, your first day at a new job, or anytime you need a little boost of cheer and encouragement. View this book on Amazon!

So, as school gets back into session, crack open a good book, learn something new and spark a little joy through the power of literature.

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