Reading Well for children

Cheshire West and Chester have provided hundreds of new books recommended by experts to support children’s mental health and well-being. Developed by charity The Reading Agency in partnership with Libraries Connected and the UK public library network, Reading Well is a national books on prescription programme that provides helpful reading to support health and wellbeing. The scheme is developed and endorsed by leading health partners and delivered in public libraries.

Since its launch, the scheme has supported 1.2 million people to borrow 2.3 million books. It has been endorsed by the public as well as by GPs, mental health professionals and government ministers as a helpful community-based health service. It has also delivered significant benefit; in a recent survey, 90% of young people would recommend their Reading Well book to a friend for support.

Reading Well for children is a new booklist of expert endorsed reading to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. The list is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 but includes titles aimed at a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers.

The booklist of 33 titles provides quality assured information, advice and stories to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. The books are all selected and endorsed by health experts, children and families. The books will be held in ten libraries (Storyhouse, Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Winsford, Neston, Upton, Frodsham, Great Boughton, Barnton and Lache) but children can reserve the books for free for delivery to any library in the borough.

There is enormous need for quality assured health information, advice and stories to support children in understanding and managing their mental health and wellbeing: 
  • One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental health condition when assessed in 2017.
  • Over a third of parents of children aged 4-11 (34%) worry about their child’s mental health at least once a week, and these worries appear well placed as almost two thirds (60%) of children aged 8-11 say they feel stressed, sad or worried at least once a month.
  • There has been an increase over time in the prevalence of mental health needs in 5 to 15 year olds. Rising from 9.7% in 1999 and 10.1% in 2004, to 11.2% in 2017.
  • Schools are on average making 183 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) referrals every school day. Most referrals (56%) came from primary schools.
Reading Well for children is supported by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, The British Psychological Society, Carers UK, Carers Trust, Mental Health First Aid England, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, National Association of Primary Care, NHS England (Children and Young People’s Mental Health), Public Health England, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Book list

Healthy minds ​​​​​​

  • What's Going on Inside my Head? by Molly Potter, illustrated by Sarah Jennings (2019)
  • Healthy for Life: Self-esteem and Mental Health by Anna Claybourne, illustrated by Dan Bramall (2017)
  • How Not to Lose It: Mental Health Sorted by Anna Williamson, illustrated by Sophie Beer (2019)


  • How Are You Feeling Today? by Molly Potter, illustrated by Sarah Jennings (2014)
  • Mindful Me: Exploring Emotions by Paul Christelis, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli (2018)
  • Feeling Angry! by Katie Douglass, illustrated by Mike Gordon (2019)
  • Sometimes I Feel Sad by Tom Alexander (2018)


  • Ruby’s Worry written and illustrated by Tom Percival (2018)
  • Questions and Feelings About: Worries by Paul Christelis, illustrated by Ximena Jeria (2018)
  • Grobblechops by Elizabeth Laird, illustrated by Jenny Lucander (2019)
  • Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna (2018)
  • All Birds Have Anxiety by Kathy Hoopmann (2017)
  • Worry Angels by Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Jane Ray (2017)
  • Outsmarting Worry by Dawn Huebner, illustrated by Kara McHale (2018)​​​​​​​

The world around you ​​​​​

At school

  • Dealing With Bullying by Jane Lacey, illustrated by Venitia Dean (2019)​​​​​​​
  • Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik (2019)
  • Ella on the Outside by Cath Howe (2018)


  • #Goldilocks by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross (2019)

In the news ​​​​​​

  • 19. Something Bad Happened: A Kid’s Guide to Coping with Events in the News by Dawn Huebner, illustrated by Kara McHale (2019)

Dealing with tough times ​​​

When someone dies ​​​​​​​

  • Mum’s Jumper by Jayde Perkin (2019)
  • Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake (2011)
  • If All the World Were by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Allison Colpoys (2019)
  • Clownfish by Alan Durant (2018)​​​​​​​

Tough times at home

  • The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself by Ali Redford, illustrated by Kara Simpson (2015)
  • Up and Down Mum by Child’s Play, illustrated by Summer Macon (2019)
  • The Colour Thief: A Family’s Story of Depression by Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters, illustrated by Karin Littlewood (2015)​​​​​​​

When you have a condition ​​​​​​​

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ​​​​​​​

  • Can I Tell You About ADHD? by Susan Yarney, illustrated by Chris Martin (2013)
  • Check Mates by Stewart Foster (2019)​​​​​​​

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) ​​​​​​​

  • Questions and Feelings About: Autism by Louise Spilsbury, illustrated by Ximena Jeria (2018)
  • M is for Autism by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School and Vicky Martin (2015)​​​​​​​


  • The Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia and Its Amazing People by Kate Power and Kathy Iwanczak Forsyth (2017)​​​​​​​

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ​​​​​​​

  • Double Felix by Sally Harris, illustrated by Maria Serrano (2018)​​​​​​​

Having a disability

  • Questions and Feelings About: Having a Disability by Louise Spilsbury, illustrated by Ximena Jeria (2017)​​​​​​​


© 2022 Cheshire West and Chester. All rights reserved.