The Power of Books: Reading and Children’s Mental Health

The educational benefits of reading are clear: it encourages creativity, develops literacy skills and boosts learning. But how are books beneficial to children’s mental health?

This discussion is more important than ever at the moment, with children feeling isolated, worrying about school and spending much of their time indoors.

Reading can play a big role in helping to alleviate some of these concerns. Children’s mental health charity Young Minds highlights that comfort can be found when reading your favourite book and recommends spending time together while doing a fun activity, such as listening to a story. Its importance is already seen in studies undertaken during the pandemic: as many as 3 in 5 children and young people told National Literacy Trust that reading makes them feel better during lockdown.

The benefits of books can mean different things for different children, particularly depending on their age and their understanding of current events. To help you choose the perfect book for your child’s next read, here are some of our top selections for different ages:

While toddlers have little awareness of the events that are going in the world, lockdown has brought about a confusing change in their routine and has affected the behaviour of the adults and older children around them. For this age group, sharing a story every day provides them with some consistency, as well as a fun activity to look forward to. We recommend books that are tactile and interactive, like our adorable Rainbow Hand Puppet Fun series, each of which come with a soft hand puppet who can bring the story to life.

For young children, who might be missing being out playing with their friends, we recommend fun books packed with humour that can inspire readers to laugh. Children aged 5-7 will love our Geronimo Stilton series, which sees its hero – a plucky mouse journalist – get into all manner of thrilling escapades.

Meanwhile, 7-9-year olds can get stuck into the laugh-out-loud investigations of our wannabe detective Mina Mistry, or perhaps they’ll prefer the action-packed hilarity of Danny Dingle, full-time super-inventor and havoc-wreaker!

Lockdown has been difficult for older children and teenagers, who may experience additional stress from trying to keep up with school. We recommend books focused on working through teen issues that readers will really be able to relate to, helping them to become more absorbed in the story and its characters. Our young-adult series Galloway Girls provides the perfect escape, addressing realistic and important teen struggles alongside lots of romance and fun.

Enjoy reading and stay safe!