Reading Well for teens
This is a list of useful books which provide information, advice, and support to help teenagers (13-18) better understand their feelings, handle difficult experiences, and boost confidence.
Some of the books are personal stories, others are fiction, some titles cover self-help techniques. All the books have been endorsed by health professionals and chosen by people with lived experience. There is a wide range of reading levels.
The books are available for an extended loan period of six weeks; if the book you want is unavailable you can reserve it free of charge.
There is also a list of online resources – recommended websites and free apps - to support teens.
- Healthy minds
- Managing feelings
- Anxiety and depression
- Body image
- Understanding bereavement and loss
- Learning about life
- Boost your confidence
- Surviving online
- Sexuality, gender and mental health
- Online resources
- Be Resilient: How to Build a Strong Teenage Mind for Tough Times.
Age range: 12+
Other format: eBook
From building a support network to building optimism, find positive, practical advice for preparing for, coping with, and bouncing back from the toughest of times. Authoritative and backed by the latest science, this is a reassuring companion for teenagers everywhere.
- Be Happy Be You: The Teenage Guide to Boost Happiness and Resilience
Penny Alexander & Becky Goddard-Hill
Age range: 13+
This positive and insightful guide gives you the tools to build your confidence, eliminate negative feelings and boost happiness in all areas of your life. Being a teenager has its own unique challenges, but it’s also the perfect time to shape your own mental wellbeing and happiness. There are tons of ideas to try, from creating an anxiety toolkit, to planning a digital detox and meditating, plus you’ll learn the science behind why they work. Carry out the activities by yourself or with family and friends and take your happiness into your own hands!
If you want to achieve against the odds and create genuine impact, this book may be the encouragement you need. The interviews cover race, sexuality, violence, grief, neurodiversity, bullying and other issues central to life today.
Single parent household with three boys, understated expression of grief over a father’s death, and the main character, fifteen years old Sander Dalen has a growth disorder which results in him feeling insecure about being shorter than similar boys of his age. It’s a story about the angst of growing up and learning how to start to make sense of the world. It sifts through social misconceptions about adults and young people; it’s about friendship and learning to judge what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
- The Mental Health and Wellbeing Workout for Teens
Paula Nagel, illustrated by Gary Bainbridge
Age range: 12-18
This easy-to-understand, engaging guide arms teens with healthy thinking habits and coping strategies for staying on top of their mental health. Using tried and tested therapeutic techniques, readers are given the tools to build their own personalised mental health 'workout' to boost their emotional resilience and wellbeing.
- My Intense Emotions Handbook
Bridie Gallagher, Sue Knowles and Hannah Bromley, illustrated by Emmeline Pidgen
Age range: 14+
This is a guide to the emotional and interpersonal issues you may encounter as a young adult, packed with advice and real-life stories of hope and resilience from people in similar situations.
- My Anxiety Handbook
Bridie Gallagher, Sue Knowles and Phoebe McEwan, illustrated by Emmeline Pidgen
Age range: 10+
Helping young people with anxiety learn to recognise and manage their symptoms, this anxiety survival guide teaches young people aged 10+ how they can overcome their biggest worries. With practical chapters on sleep, exam stress, transitions, and seeking extra help, this is a go-to guide for any tween, teen or young person living with anxiety.
In this guide, anxiety is explained in an easy-to-understand, engaging graphic format with tips and strategies to relieve its symptoms and change the mind's habits for a more positive outlook.
This informative and supportive series explores in detail some common mental health issues affecting the lives of children today. Working to tackle and destigmatise mental health issues, these creative and factual titles explore depression. Readers can learn about causes, symptoms and practical coping strategies, including mindfulness, talking therapies and when to seek professional help.
The summer between school and sixth-form. When Hope doesn’t get into drama college, and her friends do, all her plans fall apart. She’s struggling with anger, grief for her father and a sense that her own body is against her. She meets Riley on the ferry and his texts give her someone to talk to. But this isn’t a story about a boy fixing everything. It’s about trying new things and having the courage to ask for help.
- Wired Differently – 30 Neurodivergent People You Should Know
Joe Wells, illustrated by Tim Stringer
Age range: 12+
Showcasing these 30 incredible people, the extraordinary stories in this book show that the things they've achieved, created and inspired they did, not despite being different, but because they are different. From politicians, activists and journalists to YouTubers, DJs and poets, this book highlights a wide range of exciting career paths for neurodivergent readers.
Frankie knows she’s not like anyone else in her class: she’s different, but she can’t quite figure out why. Is it the new freckle on her nose, or the fact she’s small for her age? Or that she must go to the hospital sometimes? Everyone else seems to think she’s weird too, and they make fun of her at school. Frankie’s dad left when she was a baby – maybe he was different too? It would explain why she always feels like an alien. So, she and her best-friend Sam, embark on a mission to track him down. A graphic novel offering a unique perspective on autism, told with humour and heart. Brought to life with glorious colour artwork in a distinctive blue and orange palette.
Through this easy-to-read and beautifully illustrated guide, Dr Markey teaches girls how to nurture both mental and physical health to improve their own body image; shows the positive impact they can have on others, and enables them to go out into the world feeling fearless!
- Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys
Charlotte Markey, Daniel Hart, Douglas Zacher
Age range: 13-18
Easy-to-read, evidence-based guide to developing a positive body image for boys aged 12+. It covers all the facts on puberty, diet, exercise, self-care, mental health, social media, and everything in-between. Boys will find answers to the questions most on their mind, the truth behind many diet and exercise myths, and real-life stories from other boys.
- Appearance Anxiety
National and Specialist ODC, BDD and Related Disorders Service, Maudsley Hospital, JKP
Age range: 14-18
The first book for teens that explains the causes and impact of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). The book is interspersed with accounts and artwork from young people with BDD, along with perspectives of their families. BDD is a debilitating mental health disorder, and this book gives advice on treatment including CBT and medication and shows where to get help.
This is a sympathetic and honest portrayal of a very intelligent young girl’s struggle with how she is seen by others, and how some people treat her and judge her because of her being overweight. It’s written from the first-person point of view, so we really see how she feels, how she is affected by people’s words and the actions of those around her.
- The Year I Didn't Eat (Autobiography/ Fiction)
Samuel Pollen, illustrated by Sophie Beer
Age range: 11-16
14-year-old Max only has one person he can really talk to. Her name is Ana - also known as anorexia, his eating disorder. Max writes to Ana every day. She feeds on his fears, encouraging him to lose more and more weight. In the midst of a family crisis, Max's eating disorder quickly deteriorates. Ana pulls him further and further away from his family and friends, until he feels totally alone. Can anyone help him find a way out? Drawing on debut author Samuel Pollen's own experiences, this is an unforgettable, uplifting story of one boy's battle with anorexia.
The death of a parent, sibling or friend is one of the most traumatic experiences for a child or young person and it can be hard to know how to talk to them about it. In this honest, comforting and strength-building guide, Julie Stokes, a clinical psychologist and founder of childhood bereavement charity ‘Winston’s Wish’, provides readers with the tools they need to navigate this tough and turbulent time.
Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don't quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer, Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing and above all, the courage it takes to survive.
- When Shadows Fall (Fiction)
Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Natalie Sirett
Age range: 14+
Other Format: eAudiobook
Kai, Orla and Zak grew up together, their days spent on the patch of wilderness in between their homes, a small green space in a sprawling grey city. Music, laughter and friendship bind them together and they have big plans for their future – until Kai’s family suffers a huge loss.
Trying to cope with his own grief, as well as watching it tear his family apart, Kai is drawn into a new and more dangerous crowd, until his dreams for the future are a distant memory. Excluded from school and retreating from his loved ones, it seems as though his path is set, his story foretold. Orla, Zak and new classmate Om are determined to help him find his way back.
A novel written in verse, flowing freely and smoothly, reading perfectly naturally. Poet and author Kwame Alexander skilfully tells the story of Nick Hall, a clever, articulate, football-loving youngster. Everything is rosy for Nick, until his mum leaves, and then one by one other things start to go wrong in his life. He must learn to live through some painful experiences, including parental divorce, bullying at school, unreasonable expectations from his dad, and unrequited love.
Aman's dad is gone, leaving her feeling lost and alone. She struggles to talk about it, but it's a fact and he isn't coming back. When a lovely man called Gurnam moves in to her street and saves Aman from some local bullies, he and Aman quickly become friends, perhaps even like family. But Gurnam has his own sadness. One that's far bigger than Aman can understand, and it's tearing his life apart. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
Social anxiety is a serious, yet often overlooked, form of anxiety commonly experienced by teens. If left untreated, it can lead to a significantly increased risk of developing depression and even addiction in adulthood. In Social Anxiety Relief for Teens, Bridget Flynn Walker presents a five-step cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program to help teens gain confidence and stop living in fear of social situations.
Packed with entertaining illustrations alongside practical information, the Social Media Survival Guide answers questions about all aspects of social media - the good AND the bad - making it a must-have tool for young people (and parents) to help navigate the online world safely and confidently and learn the best approaches to taking care of themselves.
Based on the hugely popular ‘Coming Out Stories’ podcast, this empowering, humorous and deeply honest book invites you to share one of the most important moments in many LGBTQ+ people's lives.
- Queer Up: An Uplifting Guide to LGBTQ+ Love, Life and Mental Health
Age range: 14+
Other Format: eBook
In this empowering and uplifting book, award-winning podcaster Alexis Caught sets out to help queer and curious teenagers explore their LGBTQ+ identity and understanding. Alongside the author's personal experiences are first-hand stories from notable LGBTQ+ figures, providing a inclusive account of what it means to grow up queer. With chapters on questioning, coming out, friends and family, love, sex, shame, pride and allyship, this insightful, thoughtful and reassuring book is essential reading for any questioning teen and their allies looking to support them.
- Welcome to St Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure (graphic novel, autobiography)
Age range: 14-18
In Welcome to St Hell, author-illustrator Lewis Hancox takes readers on the hilarious, heart-breaking and healing path he took to make it past trauma, confusion, hurt and dubious fashion choices to become the man he was meant to be.
Information, tips and techniques, ideas and inspiration to help anyone under 19 in the UK feel more in control. Cover a wide range of topics that affect children and young people including bullying, body and body image, feelings, relationships and school, college and work.
Supports children and young people on their mental health including practical tips and advice from young people, as well as information on getting support. Cover a wide range of topics including conditions, feelings, coping with life and supporting friends. Also provide information for parents and those working with young people.
Support and information for under 25s on any challenges they may be facing. Cover a wide range of topics including sex and relationships, body image, mental health, money and work and study.
On My Mind (Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families)
Information co-produced with young people to empower young people to make informed choices about their mental health and wellbeing. Cover a wide range of topics including LGBTQI+ mental health, self-care, loss and bereavement, social media and supporting others.
Information and advice on mental health for young people aged 11-18. Topics covered include understanding mental health and wellbeing, feelings and experiences, looking after yourself and rights.
Talk to Frank
Honest information about drugs, including facts about drugs and what do if your concerned about someone.
Stem4 Clear Fear
Clear Fear is an app developed for teenage mental health charity stem4 by Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and used the evidence-based treatment CBT to focus on learning to reduce the physical responses to threat by learning to breathe, relax and be mindful as well as changing thoughts and behaviours and releasing emotions.
Available on Google Play and AppStore
Stem4 Move Mood
Move Mood is an app developed for teenage mental health charity stem4 by Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and uses the evidence-based treatment Behavioural Activation Therapy to help you improve your mood by encouraging you to increase your motivation to carry out a variety of tasks in order to help you move forward, take control and feel positive.
Available on Google Play and AppStore
Apart of me
Apart of Me is a game designed to help young people who have lost a parent or close relative, or have someone important in their life with a terminal illness. The game is aimed at young people aged 11+.
Available on Google Play and AppStore