Let’s read about nature for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021!

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is ‘Nature’. Nature is a central part of our physical and psychological health, and a greater connection to the world around us can really help to improve our overall wellbeing. Nature is a great resource for a mentally healthy future, and it turns out that how we open ourselves up to nature is most important. That’s why for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week Emma, Munmun and Sarah from Botwell Green Library have chosen their favourite picture books, all about nature, to share with your little ones!

  1. A Way with Wild Things by Larissa Theule (illustrated by Sara Palacios)

Meet Poppy, a young girl who loves bugs! Butterflies, ladybirds, bumble bees, caterpillars – you name it, Poppy is friends with them all (even spiders!). Her favourite thing to do is sit amongst the wildflowers and listen to all the different sounds of nature, and in the afternoons, she loves to talk to all the different critters that live in the tall grass. But when Poppy is around big groups of people, she doesn’t feel so chatty – instead, Poppy prefers to blend in with the wallpaper, or hide behind a potted plant. At her grandma’s 100th birthday party, Poppy watches the festivities at a distance, imagining her family and friends as colourful leaves dancing in the wind. That is, until a beautiful, dazzling dragonfly lands on top of grandma’s birthday cake! A Way with Wild Things is a poetic, wonderfully written story about finding your voice and celebrating the beauty of the world around us. [Written by Sarah Gaafar]

  1. How Many Trees? by Stephane Barroux

In How Many Trees? all the creatures in the woodland, from the self-proclaimed ‘King of the Forest’ (a deer) to the smallest of ants debate how many trees it takes to make a forest. The animals all have their specific reasons for the number they pick, but they manage to settle everything in the end. It’s a simple, fun, and light-hearted story, and you will find yourself wanting to do your best reading voices to bring the argumentative animals to life for your little ones! [Written by Emma Rawlin] 

3. Winnie-the-Pooh: The Big Adventure by Jane Riordan

Get ready to go on a big adventure with Christopher Robin! Featuring his well-loved friends Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Kanga and Roo, children will love lifting the flaps to see what (or who!) is underneath. The whole gang go along with Christopher on this exciting adventure, as they agree the best adventures are found with friends. Using a map, Christopher and his pals enjoy the scenery and explore the nature around them on their walk. It is a lovely book that every child will love to read time and time again. My favourite part was at Pooh-bear’s bedtime, where you and your children say goodnight and lift the flap to see him fast asleep. This is an adorable book that will not only encourage your little one to explore the outdoors but focus on friendship and togetherness in life. [Written by Munmun Ghosh]

  1. Bloom by Anne Booth (illustrated by Robyn Wilson-Owen

A lovely story about a little girl and her brother who stop every morning on the way to school to talk to a beautiful flower growing in a pot – that is, until the man who owns it chases them away! The flower afterwards refuses to bloom, despite the man’s (worst) best efforts to get it to do so. I loved the use of colour in the book – the block of flats are all in grey and the people and plants are all vibrantly coloured. It’s a book about kindness, and the appreciation of nature in any place. [Written by Emma Rawlin] 

5. Alfie in the Woods by Debi Gliori

Join Alfie the rabbit and his Daddy on an imaginative woodland adventure. Alfie wants to find lots of woodland treasure and ends up getting into lots of mischief along the way! After playing hide-and-seek with all the woodland animals, Alfie has a go at imagining to be them too. With all the woodland regulars – such as hedgehogs, squirrels, owls, bumble bees, and even a roaring bear! – this simple yet fun and energetic book is full of lovely illustrations to share with your children about wildlife, animals and all the fun you can have outdoors. [Written by Sarah Gaafar]

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