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Emotional Literacy & ELSA

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Emotional Literacy Support Booklist

From mental health first aid to specialist work with Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA) there’s no doubt that stories can be a key tool in helping children to develop emotional literacy. Chosen especially for their value in dealing with mental health issues, feelings and emotions, the books on this list can be used with pupils to start conversations that enable children can begin to make sense of their own feelings and understand ways to manage and deal with their emotions. With thanks to specially trained ELSA Sue Mills at Garway Primary School for helping us to compile this list and for commenting on using these books with her school community.

Patrice Karst
 & Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Picturebook

A story about the connections between loved ones. A mother tells her two children that they’re all connected by an invisible string. ‘What Kind of String?’ the children ask. The answer is the simple truth that binds us all: an Invisible String made of love. This book links to the whole school value of ‘love’ and can be used with children who might find separation from parents difficult, such as at dropping off time n the morning, for settling in new children in pre-school and reception or for children living through a prolonged period of separation from a family member.

Linda Sarah
 & Benji Davies
Picturebook

Brit and Etho are the best of friends. Every day they take their cardboard boxes to the top of Sudden Hill and turn them into adventures. But when Shu comes along, their comfortable two-by-two relationship is changed and Brit finds it difficult to adjust. Eventually, with much persuasion from Etho and Shu, Brit learns that three-by-three can be even better. This heartwarming story explores the feelings of insecurity many of us feel when a new personality comes along, and shows children that it is okay for friendships to change over time. The story inks to the whole school value of ‘friendship’ and can be use with individuals or small groups of children experiencing friendship issues (e.g. when three children are finding it difficult to share each other) or for helping established friends to welcome new friends into their group.

Rachel Bright
 & Chris Chatterton
Picturebook

A fun and reassuring tale about dealing with worries, all about a Worrysaurus who faces a series of worried thoughts about the picnic he has planned. Can Worrysaurus find a way to chase his fears away and have fun?​This story can be used to support children with high levels of anxiety, to help children to recognise the physical affects of anxiety and to support a whole school focus on developing resilience.

Anne Booth
 & David Litchfield
Picturebook

A poignant and heart-warming picture book exploring the importance of making space and time for our own griefs, small or large, sensitively visualized with David Litchfield’s stunning illustration. A small boy is sad, and instead of ignoring it or trying to push the feeling aside, he creates a shelter for his sadness – a safe space where Sadness can dwell until it is ready to leave the shelter. This story can be used in a small group to support children experiencing sadness, e.g. after a loss or bereavement, or more widely to talk about the value of acknowledging feelings. It can also be useful to explore the concept of safe spaces​.

Tom Percival
Picturebook

A moving, powerful story that shines a light on those that feel invisible in our world. Isabel and her loving family are forced to leave their home due to poverty. Feeling alone and invisible to the world, Isabel begins to notice the many other people living in similar circumstances – in fact, there are other ‘invisible’ people everywhere. Isabel is stirred to action and decides to make a difference to her new community in the little ways she can. By gradually improving small things that cost nothing, she starts a community movement and, before long, colour floods into her life and the lives of others once again.

​This story links to whole school values of tolerance, kindness and caring and can be used for developing a sense of belonging and community. It shows how anyone can make a positive impact on those around them, regardless of how little they have.​

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Stone Girl Bone Girl

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