20 Multicultural Children & YA Books about Mental Health

with No Comments


Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health


May is Mental Health Awareness Month! With our increasingly faster world and the aftermath of the Covid years, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are on the rise among children and teenagers. The multicultural books on this list can help children, parents and educators start conversations about mental health, ways to cope and seek help.

20 Multicultural Children & YA Books about Mental Health


Ruby Finds a Worry
by Tom Percival

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Ruby loves being Ruby. Until, one day, she finds a worry. At first it’s not such a big worry  but then it starts to grow. It gets bigger and bigger every day and it makes Ruby sad. How can Ruby get rid of it and feel like herself again? Part of the Big Bright Feelings series, Ruby Finds A Worry is a poignant story that can help start conversations about worries and anxieties, no matter how big or small they may be. ~ African – Preschool

Also available: Ruby Finds A Worry, Ravi’s Roar, and Meesha Makes Friends (3-Book Set)

Scaredy Kate
by Jacob Grant

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

There are many things Kate is afraid of, from a big, grumpy dog to a spooky elevator and 3-eyed monster. But there are also some funny surprises and Kate learns that some things are not so scary after all. With sweet illustrations, Scaredy Kate is a charming book that will appeal to kids everywhere. ~ Preschool

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Fear and Courage

Tough Guys Have Feelings Too
by Keith Negley

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Tough Guys Have Feelings Too is a fun read-aloud that shows young children that everyone has a whole range of feelings…  even ninjas, wrestlers, knights, and superheroes! Kids will love recognizing their feelings in Keith Negley’s bold illustrations. ~ Diverse – Preschool

Related: 30 Multicultural Children’s Books featuring Superheroes

Up and Down Mum
by Child’s Play

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Living with Mum is a bit like a roller coaster ride. At times, she is excited and full of energy, but at others, she is tired and withdrawn. But she’s always my mum, and we’re sharing the ride. For children who grow up in the care of a parent who has bipolar disorder, life can be filled with anxiety and uncertainty. With the aid of a clear and simple information spread, Up and Down Mum helps children to understand the causes of bipolar disorder and how they can learn to live with someone who has it. ~ Diverse – Preschool

Related: 5 Multicultural Picture Books about Mental Illness

Happy Right Now
by Julie Berry

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

It’s great to feel happy, but it’s okay to feel sad sometimes, too. With bright illustrations, Happy Right Now shows kids that they don’t need to wait for fantastic gifts, school vacations, or sunny days to find joy in the moment. And if they can’t find a way to choose happiness, the book provides a series of practices to help young readers move through their sadness. ~ Preschool

Related: 21 Multicultural Children’s Books About Feelings

Elementary School

Pilar’s Worries
by Victoria M. Sanchez

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Pilar loves to dance. She pliés while brushing her teeth. She leaps when hurrying to ballet class. But when tryouts for her favoriteballet are held, Pilar is anxious. Auditioning makes her whole body feelscared. But by using some of the coping techniques she’s learned and focusing on her love for ballet, she is able to persevere. Pilar’s Worries is a gentle story that provides great tools for children dealing with anxiety. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Related: 300+ Hispanic Children’s & YA Books

Beautifully Me
by Nabela Noor

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

When Bangladeshi girl Zubi sees her mother frowning in the mirror and talking about being “too big,” she starts to worry about her own body and how she looks. As her day goes on, she hears more and more people being critical of each other’s and their own bodies, until her outburst over dinner leads her family to see what they’ve been doing wrong. Beautifully Me is a much-needed picture book about loving yourself as you are. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books To Help Build Self-Esteem

A Blue Kind of Day
by Rachel Tomlinson

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Coen is having a sniffling, sighing, sobbing kind of day. His family thinks they know how to cheer him up. His dad wants to go outside and play, Mom tells her funniest joke, and his little sister shares her favorite teddy. Nothing helps. But one by one, they get quiet and begin to listen. After some time, space, and reassurance, Coen is able to show them what he needs. With poignant text and stunning illustrations, A Blue Kind of Day explores how depression might feel in the body and shows us how to support the people we love with patience, care, and empathy. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys

Anxious: A Choose Your Own Attitude Book
by Gail Hayes

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

There are many things in life that cannot be controlled. In fact, we cannot decide much of what happens to us. But what we can decide is how we react to what happens to us. Learning which thoughts lead to good outcomes is powerful, but it starts by learning that we do get to choose those thoughts. Using techniques the author has developed through her work as a counselor, Anxious: A Choose Your Own Attitude gives the reader a chance to explore the choices we make daily and learn about their impact. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Also available: Worry? A Choose Your Own Attitude Book

The Shy Monster
by Shamirrah Hill

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

A little girl is struggling to defeat the “shy monster” who bullies her, makes her scared to speak up and go after her dreams. With an engaging story and vibrant illustrations, The Shy Monster shows children how to cope with shyness and overcome their fears. Includes discussion questions and tips for teachers and parents. ~ Elementary School

Also available: The Shy Monster Coloring Book

Middle School

The Grip
by Marcus Stroman

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Young Marcus Stroman is determined to make it to the highest playing level he can, despite every coach telling him he’s not tall enough to become a “real” pitcher. He’ll show them…with some struggling and a whole lot of learning. It’s easy to forget that for every professional sports player there was a kid just learning that sport, dealing with nerves during try-outs, dropping the ball when all their teammates are counting on them, and learning how to stay friends with someone who doesn’t make the team. The first book in the semi-autobiographical middle grade series from MLB pitcher Marcus Stroman, The Grip highlights the importance of mental health care for young athletes. ~ African – Middle School

Also available: The Spin

Related: 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys

Living With Viola
by Rosena Fung

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Olivia “Livy” Siu Leen Tong is already having trouble fitting in as the new girl at school—and then there’s Viola. Viola is Livy’s anxiety brought to life, a shadowy twin that only Livy can see or hear. Livy tries to push back against Viola’s relentless judgment, but nothing seems to work until she strikes up new friendships at school. Livy hopes that Viola’s days are numbered. But when tensions arise both at home and at school, Viola rears her head stronger than ever. Only when Livy learns how to ask for help and face her anxiety does she finally figure out living with Viola. Honest and funny, Living With Viola is an award-winning graphic novel is a refreshingly real exploration of mental health, cultural differences, and the trials of middle school. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers

For Black Girls Like Me
by Mariama J. Lockington

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Makeda June Kirkland is eleven years old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda’s family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena― the only other adopted black girl she knows― for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda’s sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can’t seem to find one real friend. Through it all, Makeda can’t help but wonder: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me? Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world. For Black Girls Like Me is a lyrical coming-of-age story about family, sisterhood, mental health and identity for transracial adoptees. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 28 Multicultural Children’s Books about Adoption

The Science of Breakable Things
by Tae Keller

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

When Korean-American Natalie’s science teacher suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie thinks that this might be the perfect solution to all of her problems. There’s prize money, and if she and her friends wins, then she can fly her botanist mother to see the miraculous Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds. Natalie’s mother has been suffering from depression, and Natalie is sure that the flowers’ magic will inspire her mom to love life again. Which means it’s time for Natalie’s friends to step up and show her that talking about a problem is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light. With their help, Natalie begins an uplifting journey to discover the science of hope, love, and miracles. The Science of Breakable Things is an uplifting story about the coming-of-age moment when kids realize that parents are people, too. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

by Coe Booth

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

This should be an exciting time for Caprice. She has been offered a place at the school of her dreams, where she’s just had a fantastic summer. But this great opportunity coincides with a lot of internal doubt and the disturbing news that her long-estranged grandmother has fallen ill and may be near death. As Caprice tries to figure out her future, she is pulled back toward her past, and the abuse she endured from her uncle when she was little — an abuse she’s never told anyone about. With extreme sensitivity and honesty, Caprice has written a painful but ultimately healing novel about finding support from your parents and friends, articulating your truth, and choosing your own path. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2020

Iveliz Explains It All
by Andrea Beatriz Arango

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Seventh grade is going to be Iveliz’s year. She’s going to make a new friend, help her abuela Mimi get settled after moving from Puerto Rico, and she is not going to get into any more trouble at school. . . . Except that is not what happens. Because no matter how hard Iveliz tries, sometimes people say things that just make her so mad. And worse, Mimi keeps saying Iveliz’s medicine is unnecessary—even though it helps Iveliz feel less sad. But how do you explain your feelings to others when you’re not even sure what’s going on yourself? Powerful and compassionate, Iveliz Explains It All navigates mental health, finding your voice, and discovering that those who really love you will stay by your side. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022

Finding Junie Kim
by Ellen Oh

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Junie Kim just wants to fit in, so she keeps her head down and tries not to draw attention to herself. But when racist graffiti appears at her school, Junie must decide between staying silent or speaking out. When Junie’s history teacher assigns a project, she decides to interview her grandparents about their unbelievable experiences as kids during the Korean War. Junie comes to admire her grandma’s fierce determination to overcome impossible odds, and her grandpa’s unwavering compassion during wartime. And as racism becomes more pervasive at school, Junie taps into the strength of her ancestors and finds the courage to do what is right. Tackling difficult subjects like war crimes, racism, depression, suicidal ideation, and death, Finding Junie Kim is a reminder that within all of us lies the power to overcome hardship. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

High School

My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope
by Diane Guerrero

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

One day, while Diane Guerrero was at school, her undocumented immigrant parents were taken from their home, detained, and deported. Guerrero’s life, which had been full of the support of a loving family, was turned upside down. Reflective of the experiences of millions of undocumented immigrant families in the United States, My Family Divided is the heartbreaking yet hopeful memoir of Netflix star Diane Guerrero that tells the story of her childhood trauma and struggles.  ~ Hispanic – High School

Related: 100+ Children’s & YA Books about Immigrants & Refugees

Home Home
by Lisa Allen-Agostini

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

After being hospitalized for chronic depression and a suicide attempt, Kayla is sent from Trinidad to Canada to live with an estranged aunt. Now Kayla feels more lost than ever. Everything in Canada is cold and confusing, and Kayla feels more lost than ever. She just wants to be home home, in Trinidad, where her only friend is going to school and Sunday church service like she used to do. But this new home also brings unexpected surprises: the chance at a family that loves unconditionally, the possibility of new friends, and the promise of a hopeful future. Home Home is an award-winning novel about a girl on the verge of losing herself and her unlikely journey to recovery after she is removed from anything and everyone she knows to be home. ~ African – High School

Related: 50 Children’s Books set in the Caribbean

by Sarah Moon

Multicultural Children's & YA books about Mental Health

Mixed-race Sparrow doesn’t make friends easily. The only person at school she feels comfortable with is the school librarian who lets her eat her lunch in the library office and shares her passion for novels. When Mrs Wexler is killed in a freak car accident, Sparrow’s world unravels and she’s found on the roof of her school in an apparent suicide attempt. With the help of an insightful therapist, she finally reveals the truth of her inner life and discovers an outlet in music. Sparrow is a compelling book about social anxiety, love and grief. ~ African – High School

*You can buy any of the books on this site from Amazon USA by clicking on the book titles or images.*
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.*

Multicultural Disney ToysMulticultural Games & PuzzlesMulticultural Barbie Dolls
Multicultural Dolls & PuppetsMulticultural Play FiguresMulticultural Arts & Crafts
Multicultural Children's Clothes

Leave a Reply