5 Multicultural Picture Books about Mental Illness

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Multicultural Children's Books about Mental Illness


May is Mental Health Awareness Month! I’ve searched the internet high and low for multicultural picture books about mental illness but was disappointed to find only a few (interestingly, most of them are older ones, written in the 90’s).

Mental illness is a difficult subject most parents probably want to keep away from their children. But for children living with a mentally ill parent reading picture books about mental illness can help them process their feelings and understand that they are not the only ones living in this situation and that their parent’s mental illness isn’t their fault.

And for all other children, exposing them to picture books about mental illness is an opportunity to create awareness early on and prevent prejudice and stigmatization.

I really wished there were more multicultural picture books about mental illness out there. If you know of any that are not on this list, please let me know in the comments!

5 Multicultural Picture Books about Mental Illness

Sad Days, Glad Days: A Story about Depression
by DeWitt Hamilton

Multicultural Picture Books about Mental Illness: Sad Days, Glad Days

Even though no ethnicity is specified, I think Hispanic children will be able to identify with the main character in this book. Amanda Martha tries to understand her mother’s depression, which sometimes makes her sleep all day, feel sad, or cry. Her mother’s changing moods are reflected in the changing colours of the illustrations: Cool, dark colours on sad days, bright colours on happy days. Sad Days, Glad Days is a sensitive picture book that takes an honest look at how living with a mother suffering from depression affects a child. It reassures children that they are neither the cause nor the solution to a parent’s mental illness. Includes a foreword by a medical professional. ~ Hispanic – PreschoolElementary School

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry
by Bebe Moore Campbell

Multicultural Picture Books about Mental Illness: Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry

Her mother’s changing moods and behaviour are confusing for Annie. Some mornings, her mother’s smiles are as bright as sunshine but other days, she doesn’t smile at all and gets very angry. With the help of her grandma Annies remembers what to do on those days and that her mommy loves her, no matter what. Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry is a poignant story about living with a parent who suffers from bipolar disorder, perfectly complemented by expressive watercolour illustrations. The book reassures children that their parent’s illness is not their fault and introduces coping strategies. ~ African – PreschoolElementary School

The Face at the Window
by Regina Hanson

Multicultural Picture Books about Mental Illness: The Face At The Window

“Any time Miss Nella show her face at her window, something terrible goin’ to happen.” In a small Jamaican village, most people believe the strange elderly neighbour is a witch who can change children into two-headed chickens and rides a three-legged horse. But Dora’s parents explain to her that Miss Nella suffers from a mental illness and that she is feared because  “some people are afraid of what they don’t understand.” Dora learns to overcome her fear and befriends Miss Nella. The Face At The Window is a gentle, compassionate story about the rift mental illness (and associated prejudices, stigma, and myths) can create and how kindness can bridge this rift. ~ African – PreschoolElementary School

Please Don’t Cry, Mom/a Book About Depression
by Helen Denboer

Multicultural Picture Books about Mental Illness: Please Don't Cry Mom

Once happily absorbed in her family and in photography, Stephen’s mother is now sad all the time and cries often. Nobody can make her feel better. Reluctant to medical treatment, she eventually suggests that she would be better off dead. It is at this point that her husband insists that she sees a psychiatrist which marks the beginning of a gradual recovery. Please Don’t Cry, Mom is a realistic and sensitive portrayal of a family learning to cope with a family member’s depression. ~ African – PreschoolElementary School

Why Are You So Scared?: A Child’s Book About Parents With PTSD
by Beth Andrews

Multicultural Picture Books about Mental Illness: Why Are You So Scared?

Having a parent suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can leave children feel confused, scared, or helpless. Why Are You so Scared? explains PTSD and its symptoms in a reassuring, child-friendly way. The book is full of questions and exercises that children and parents can work through together. Children are encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings through writing, drawing, and designing. A useful practical tool to help children cope with a parent’s PTSD. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

 *You can buy any of the books on this site from Amazon US, CAN and UK by clicking on the book title or image*

Multicultural Disney Toys Multicultural Games & Puzzles Multicultural Barbie Dolls
Multicultural Dolls & Puppets Multicultural Play Figures Multicultural Arts & Crafts


7 Responses

  1. vladimir sainte
    | Reply

    Thank you for this article. I’m a mental health professional located in the Midwest, and understand the importance of diverse children books, while also highlighting the need to destigmatize mental health. This is why I created my Just Like a Hero book series, which focuses on three children of color managing through depression, anxiety and ADHD. This message is much needed.

  2. Miss T’s Book Room
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing this blog post. Mental illness is a topic that a lot of people don’t want to discuss but it needs to be addressed.

  3. Mia Wenjen
    | Reply

    This is such a great. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m adding to the Multicultural Children’s Book Day resource list. Thanks also for all your support of MCBD as a co-host!

  4. Gayle
    | Reply

    This is a unique and valuable list, especially for children who live with a family member who suffers from mental illness. Geat submission.

  5. Erin
    | Reply

    Wow you did well to find muliticultural books on this topic. Books look interesting

  6. Statmom
    | Reply

    Thanks for the list…will get some of these

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