In this three-part series, we are sharing activities that you can do with your children to ensure they still have a great summer, while also attending to their mental health.

In part one of this series, Clinical Therapist, Christal Avila, LCSW offered a strategy to help families manage their children’s “big moments” of stress and emotions that might occur while they are home this summer. Read part one here.

In part two, we are sharing a few of our favorite book recommendations for children and teens, read more below! 

Your brain is like any other muscle in your body. Eating right and regularly exercising helps you maintain good physical health. Reading helps your brain stay healthy. Studies have shown that reading can reduce stress, increase self-esteem, lower rates of depression, and can even enhance creativity and the ability to empathize with others. There are so many benefits to reading!

Reading a book out loud with your children is a great way to bond and connect. If your child is past the reading out loud stage, you can still connect with them and strengthen your relationship by reading the same book and chatting about it. You can discuss the parts of the book they liked, the parts they didn’t and why. 

There are so many great books out there for every reading level. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
    For Ages: 4 – 8 Years
    The Invisible String is a heartwarming story that describes the unbreakable connection between loved ones. The imaginative tale offers a hopeful, healing way for children to process loneliness, separation or loss.

  • How are You Peeling? by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers
    For Ages: 4 – 8 Years
    Everyone experiences feelings! How are You Peeling? guides children through a range of feelings and gives them the vocabulary to express those feelings with the help of charming fruits and vegetables.


  • The Feelings Book (Revised): The Care and Keeping of Your Emotions by Lynda Madison
    For Ages: 8-12
    The pre-teen years can bring on lots of changes and new feelings. Written in conversational style, The Feelings Book helps girls understand these changes and normalizes the feelings they may be experiencing with practical advice and tips on how to deal with them. Topics covered include fear, anxiety, jealousy, grief and depression, along with when to seek professional help.


  • Daris the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
    For Ages: 12 – 17 Years
    Darius the Great is Not Okay is a coming of age story about a teen boy who struggles with clinical depression and doesn’t feel like he fits in anywhere – until he finds a friend who makes him feel accepted.
  • Light Filters In: Poems by Caroline Kaufman
    For Ages: 13 – 17 Years
    Light Filters In: Poems is a collection of short poems from teen Instagrammer @poeticpoison about her personal life experiences that remind readers that they’re not alone.

it’s okay if some things
are always out of reach.
if you could carry all the stars
in the palm of your hand,
they wouldn’t be
half as breathtaking
-excerpt from Light Filters In: Poems

Happy reading!