Suggested Books and Readings for Adults and Children

Putting on the Brakes: Young People’s Guide to Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (3rd Edition)
Patricia Quinn, MD, and Judith M. Stern, MA

This book was written as a guide to help students and parents understand ADHD, ways to control symptoms, and coping skills.

The Survival Guide for Kids with ADHD
John F. Taylor, PhD

This 100+ page book is written with a direct and casual tone that children with ADHD will appreciate with a lot of psychoeducation about ADHD and lots of practical tips for school and social situations.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain
JoAnn Deak, PhD

A cute book with humorous illustrations describing the structure, function, and development of the brain.

ADD and Me: Forty Years in a Fog
Ken Patterson

This book is a first-hand account of living life with ADHD on how ADHD affected his ability to succeed as an adult and learning to handle his symptoms and achieve his goals.

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety
Daniel Smith

The book is very much about a personal journey towards an understanding of his anxiety and how important it was/is for him to learn skills to manage it.

Please Explain “Anxiety” to Me!: Simple Biology and Solutions for Children and Parents
Laurie Zelinger, PhD, and Jordan Zelinger, MS Ed

A children’s story about dinosaurs on how your body changes when you get nervous. There are simple tips for children on how to recognize and deal with anxiety at the end of the book.

What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety
Dawn Huebner, PhD

An introduction to children and parents of CBT techniques for anxiety through easy-to-understand examples and pictures.

What You Must Think Of Me: A First Hand Account of One Teenager’s Experience with Social Anxiety Disorder
Emily Ford

A personal account of her anxiety disorder written in the 1st person. The book includes the theories and science on anxiety and offers practical tips on medications, therapies and coping strategies.

Emergence: Labeled Autistic
Temple Grandin and Margaret M. Scariano

In her first and lesser-known book, Temple Grandin powerfully describes her experiences growing up with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Freak, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome: A user guide to Adolescence
Luke Jackson

Written by a teenager with autism for other teenagers of autism. This book is educational, witty and provides helpful tips for coping with some of the difficulties faced by adolescents with autism.

Thinking In Pictures
Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin’s most famous book, Thinking In Pictures is a detailed account of her life, focusing mainly on her development as an adult suffering from Asperger’s disorder.

I Am Utterly Unique: Celebrating the Strengths of Children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism
Elaine Marie Larson

The book focuses on the strengths of children with high-functioning autism.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Kay Redfield

This book charts her course from a young girl with unstable moods, to an adult diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The book documents some of the dangerous pitfalls of mania and depression but can provide hope and inspiration for anyone living with a mood disorder.

Brandon and the Bipolar Bear: A Story for Children with Bipolar Disorder
Tracy Anglada

This is a short story about a boy with bipolar disorder. The book can help a child understand his or her illness and feel less alone.

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
William Styron

A true story, the author discusses his sufferings of depression, including both psychological and physical symptoms. symptoms. He covers his thoughts of suicide, hospitalization, and eventual recovery.

What to Do When you Grumble Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Negativity
Dawn Huebner

Workbook for kids who use a lot of negative thinking to help them to learn techniques to see more positive aspects of life and cope with negative things that occur.

When I Feel Sad
Cornelia Maude Spelman

A simple picture book about sad feelings. Appropriate to encourage discussion/expression in young children.

Second Star to the Right
Deborah Hautzig

This story of a successful, popular teenage girl, as she develops and struggles with anorexia, and how it affects not only her, but all those around her. The story is fiction, but written by an author who had a personal struggle with anorexia.

Bullies, Cyberbullies and Frenemies – Teen Life Confidential

Part of the Teen Life Confidential series, this chapter book features information and strategies for children who are being bullied.

Some Bunny To Talk To: A Story About Going to Therapy
Cheryl Sterling, Paola Conte, and Larissa Labay

Short, concise, positive book for children starting therapy. Helps them understand why therapy may be helpful to them and what therapy can consist of.

Devil in the Details
Jennifer Traig

In her memoir, the author describes firsthand her own difficulties with developing neuroses and compulsive behaviors related to obsessive-compulsive disorder from age twelve to college.

What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD
Dawn Huebner, PhD

This is a great book explaining how to fight OCD. It has clinical exercises and drawing space to emphasize the therapeutic take-home points. It’s a great way to help kids conceptualize how to fight OCD.

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
Elyn R. Saks

A personal memoir of Dr. Elyn Saks, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Southern California and her experience of living with schizophrenia.

Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia
Pamela Spiro Wagner and Carolyn S. Spiro, M.D.

This book chronicles the lives of identical twin sisters Pammy (author Pamela) and Lynnie (Carolyn) as their lives are turned upside down by Pammy’s descent into psychosis during their adolescence. As the previously eclipsed sister, Lynnie finds herself in the conflicted position of surpassing Pammy as the illness progresses.

Skin Game: A Memoir
Caroline Kettlewell

Author writes in Skin Game about her struggles with cutting. She gives a well-written and thoughtful account of the issues she faced in childhood and adolescence and how they might have led to her eventual use of non-suicidal self-injury as a form of fascination, self-punishment and maladaptive coping skill. Ms. Kettlewell also explains how she eventually was able to stop cutting, which could be helpful to individuals who struggle with this issue.

Chasing the High: A Firsthand Account of One Young Person’s Experience with Substance Abuse
Kyle Keegan

Author takes the reader through the prejudices of society’s view of an addict and then through the trip from the normal angst of adolescence to the devastating destruction of heavy addiction and how he decided to allow the choice to become a compulsion. This book includes the science of addiction terminology all in reader-friendly verse.

In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide
Nancy Rappaport, M.D.

A prominent child psychiatrist, was 4 years old when her mother committed suicide. In this book, she explores her mother’s life and death in a search for meaning and understanding – both in terms of her mother’s state of mind and the impact of her loss on the author’s own life and family.

Gran-Gran’s Best Trick: A Story for Children Who Have Lost Someone They Love
L. Dwight Holden, MD

This is a touching story about a little girl whose grandfather died of cancer. They had a very close relationship. The reader learns about how she struggles to process his death and resolves to keep him alive in her memory.

I Miss You: A First Look at Death
Pat Thomas

This book is a simple explanatory account of what a child might feel and think when a loved one dies. It touches on the unknown and issues children may be curious about without subscribing to a certain spiritual belief system. It would be appropriate for a parent and child to read together after the death of a pet, a friend or a relative.

Bomji and Spotty’s Frightening Adventure: A Story About How to Recover from a Scary Experience
Anne Westcott and C.C. Alicia Hu

This picture book features a short story about two friends who have a scary experience and the negative behavioral changes that ensue for one of the friends. The pictures help emphasize the mental states of the characters with an easy-going comic book style.

Body-Mind Integration: Training Attention for Mental and Physical Health
David R. Hamilton

Body and mind are inseparably connected, which is why physical conditions triggered by underlying mental health causes can sometimes be difficult to rule out. The book covers an A to Z list of how we can use imagery as a healing mechanism for chronic pain and other physical conditions.

The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook
Elaine N. Aron Ph.D.

Sustaining positive mental health is a lot about self-regulation and emotional management. Highly sensitive people (HSP), who catch energy from others too quickly, often find it hard to keep their calm. With a collection of self-help exercises on positive self-image, self-motivation, and mindfulness, this handbook is a pathway provider for a fuller, more abundant, and more insightful life.

The Social Skills Guidebook: Manage Shyness, Improve Your Conversations, and Make Friends, Without Giving Up Who You Are
Chris MacLeod MSW

The Social Skills Guidebook is beneficial for understanding the deep-rooted causes of social anxiety, interpersonal struggles, and avoidant personality traits.

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health
Kelly Jensen

Don’t Call Me Crazy talks about the social aspects that make mental illness worse than it is. How we look at others with mental illness can impact their wellbeing to a large extent.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
Lori Gottlieb, Brittany Pressley and Audible Studios

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone is topped with a layer of humor and studies all the slants of being a therapist and a help-seeker. From diagnosis to opening up to a stranger, this book is all about being unapologetically yourself and taking life one day at a time.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

This book is primarily about combating trauma and healing after encountering stress. Author has shed light on some well-researched scientific advances of how trauma disintegrates the body and mind, and what we can do to protect ourselves against it.

Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude Journal
Pretty Simple Press

Good Days Start with Gratitude has been a bestselling guide on cultivating gratitude in daily lives.It comes as a 52-week standard form with exercises that help us in realizing what we are grateful for and how we can practice spreading words of gratitude to ourselves and others.

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Revised and Expanded): The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Lack of Focus, Anger, and Memory Problems
Daniel G. Amen

Author makes the case for how anxiety, depression, obsessiveness, impulsiveness, and anger may be related to how specific structures work in your brain. The book shares techniques to lessen anxiety, fight depression, curb anger, boost memory, sharpen your focus, and deal with the feeling of being stuck.

Hope and Help for Your Nerves: End Anxiety Now
Claire Weekes

In Hope and Help for Your Nerves, the author provides step-by-step guidance on how to understand and mitigate your symptoms of anxiety. She uses her own experience and scenarios from pioneering work in psychiatry to provide a clear-cut path to help readers find their own power.

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
Melody Beattie

In Codependent No More, she shares life stories, reflections, exercises, and self-tests to help readers break the pattern of codependency and start putting their lives first.

Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts
Guy Winch

Author provides strategies and tools to build your own emotional first aid kit. In the book, he tackles rejection, loneliness, loss and trauma, guilt, rumination, failure, and low self-esteem.

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
Mark Wolynn

Author dissects how the trauma of relatives can be passed down the family tree. He believes this trauma can cause depression, anxiety, phobias, and chronic pain despite it not happening directly to the reader.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
Don Miguel Ruiz

The four agreements are simple: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. The book teaches that if we have an awareness of four principles, we can improve our lives drastically.

Loving Bravely: Twenty Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want
Alexandra H. Solomon

The author believes that real love starts with you, and shares 20 lessons to help readers commit to their emotional well-being and growth.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen R. Covey

This transformative book teaches its readers how to discard old ways and approach life from a different perspective — all leading to becoming a more effective and intentional individual.

The Power of Now
Ekhart Tolle

The Power of Now is a spiritual self-help guide to help us discover our true Being, release our pain and find deep inner peace. When we are intensely present in the Now, we respond from deep consciousness and flow with ease and joy in life.

The Journey Home: The Story of Michael Thomas and the Seven Angels
Lee Carroll, Kryon

Once we learn how to love ourselves, we are truly free to be the best versions of ourselves and to live life to its fullest. This book is jam-packed with spiritual wisdom and esoteric knowledge and you just have to read it once to be changed for the rest of your life.

Mental Health Resources

National Mental Health Resources
Suicide And Crisis
Grief And Loss

For General Information on Grief

  • AARP’s Grief and Loss offers articles, discussions, resources, and tools for coping with grief and the loss of a loved one.
  • HOPE for Bereaved, Inc. provides hope, support, and services for the bereaved.
  • OptionB An online community that collects and shares stories of adversity to help people build resiliency and find joy.

For Death from AIDS

  • CDC National AIDS Clearinghouse The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s primary reference, referral, and publications distribution service for HIV and AIDS information. The services are aimed primarily at professionals.

For Death of Armed Forces or Law Enforcement Personnel

For Death of a Child/Children

For Homicide Survivors

For Life-Challenging Illness

  • American Cancer Society Information on cancer, including coping with a long-term illness and dealing with grief and loss after death from cancer.
  • Candelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation A national nonprofit membership organization with a mission is to educate, support, serve and advocate for families of children with cancer, survivors of childhood cancer, and the professionals who care for them.
  • The Hospice Foundation of America Nonprofit organization that provides leadership in the development and application of hospice and its philosophy of care.
  • Cancer Care National nonprofit organization providing free professional help to people with all cancers.
  • National Cancer Institute This patient summary on loss, grief, and bereavement is adapted from the summary written for health professionals by cancer experts.
  • The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization National organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of end-of-life care.

For Youth

  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to raise the standard of care and improve the access to services to children, families, and communities.
  • Coalition to Support Grieving Students The Coalition to Support Grieving Students is a collaboration of the leading professional organizations that have come together with a common conviction: grieving students need the support and care of the school community.
  • The Dougy Center The Dougy Center provides a safe place for those—children, teens, young adults, and their families—who are grieving a death to share their experiences. We do this through peer support groups, education, and training.
  • National Alliance for Grieving Children NAGC is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the needs of children and teens who are grieving a death and provides education and resources for anyone who supports them.
Advocacy And Legal
  • Legal Services Corporation provides civil legal aid to low-income Americans. Use their website to find programs in individual states. Scroll to the bottom of their website to find locate legal aid near you
  • National Bar Association provides a directory of state and local bar associations to help find legal representation
  • National Disability Rights Network protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities, particularly in hospitals and state prison systems. Click on the map on the right-hand side of their website to locate the agency near you.
Drug Addiction Resources
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator (SAMHSA) – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a special feature to help people locate abuse treatment facilities near you and begin a journey to a healthier, addiction-free life.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – Nation leader in scientific research on all aspects of health, drug abuse, and addictions. It supports and conducts research all across the board. This range includes genetics, social neuroscience, medication, behavioral therapies, and health services.
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – Mission is to transform the understanding of addiction. To be able to treat mental illnesses through basic and clinical research is the #1 goal.  Paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.
Alcohol Abuse Resources
  • Al-Anon Family Groups – Al-Anon and Alateen Family Groups offer support and fellowship to relatives and friends of individuals with alcohol problems. Mutual support groups meet worldwide.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous – Alcoholics Anonymous offers support and fellowship to individuals with alcohol problems through group therapy and Twelve Steps programs. AA meetings are completely anonymous and open to anyone of any age who wants to achieve and maintain sobriety.
  • National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – A nonprofit organization working to raise awareness of birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy and to improve the quality of life for those affected.
National Helplines
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline1-800-662-HELP (4357). A free, 24/7 helpline that provides referrals to local treatment facilities support groups and community-based organizations. The helpline is confidential information and can be in English or Spanish. Callers are also given the option to order free publications and other information. In 2013, the helpline received 334,891 calls which is nearly 28,000 calls per month. The helpline also has resources available to those who cannot afford treatment and will help you locate local resources.
Addiction-Related Foundations
  • Children of Alcoholics Foundation – A nonprofit organization that provides educational materials and services to those wanting to live healthier lifestyles.
  • Christopher D. Smithers Foundation – A foundation that aims to reduce the stigma of alcohol addiction through public education and funds prevention programs serving high-risk populations.
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) – A coordinating body that supports anti-drug coalitions with technical assistance, training, public policy, media strategies, marketing programs, and conferences.
  • Dana Foundation – A private philanthropic organization devoted to brain research that specializes in (and provides information on) neuroscience, neuroimmunology, and addiction.
  • Drug Strategies – Drug Strategies is a nonprofit research institute that promotes more effective approaches to the nation’s drug problems and supports private and public efforts to reduce the demand for drugs through prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement, and community initiatives.
  • Faces & Voices of Recovery – Faces & Voices of Recovery is a national campaign of people in long-term recovery, families, friends and allies, and organizations that advocate to end discrimination, broaden social understanding, and achieve a just response to addiction as a public health crisis.
  • National Family Partnership – An organization that provides information and materials for communities to promote youth alcohol and drug prevention efforts.
  • Phoenix House – One of the country’s best-known anti-drug organizations, running 120 programs in 11 states, this famed nonprofit facility works to treat and prevent substance abuse among lower-income adults and adolescents without demanding the exorbitant fees required by ritzier rehabs.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America –  These two organizations are allied together of nonprofit, self-help support organizations for patients and families dealing with a variety of mental disorders. Both have State and local affiliates throughout the country and may be especially helpful for patients with comorbid conditions.