Storybooks to help children and young people talk about alcohol or drug use

Young female with two project workers at desk

Children aged 2-8

Little Meerkat's Big Panic: A Story About Learning New Ways to Feel Calm (2016)

Little Meerkat's Big Panic, playful full-colour storybook, shows children aged 2-6 easy ways for them to calm their body and brain when feeling anxious. It also includes guidance for parents or professionals on the neuroscience behind the strategies, and how they can use the book to help children.

Kit Kitten and the Topsy-Turvy Feelings: A Story About Parents Who Aren't Always Able to Care (2015)

Many children live in homes where things are chaotic and parents or carers are distracted and emotionally unavailable to them. Kit Kitten and the Topsy-Turvy Feelings, a therapeutic storybook for children aged 2 to 6, is about a kitten called Kit whose parent isn't always able to care for them. To help support Kit Kitten, Kindly Cat comes to their house and helps Kit to identify the feelings that are mixed up inside. It includes feelings based activities to build a child's emotional awareness and vocabulary. A helpful tool for use by parents, carers, social workers and other professionals to enable young children to begin to name and talk about their feelings.

How Are You Feeling Today Baby Bear? Exploring Big Feelings After Living in a Stormy Home (2014)

Baby Bear lives in a home with the Big Bears, and loves to chase butterflies and make mud pies - they make Baby Bear's tummy fill with sunshine. Then, one night, Baby Bear hears a big storm downstairs in the house and in the morning, Baby Bear's tummy starts to feel grey and rainy. How will such a small bear cope with these big new feelings? How are you feeling Today Baby Bear? is a sensitive, charming storybookwritten to help children who have lived with violence at home to begin to explore and name their feelings. Accompanied by notes for adults on how to use each page of the story to start conversations, it also features fun games and activities to help to understand and express difficult emotions. It will be a useful book for social workers, counsellors, domestic violence workers and all grown-ups working with children.

Children aged 4-8

The Boy Who Built A Wall Around Himself (2015)

Boy built a wall to keep himself safe. Behind it he felt strong and more protected. Then Someone Kind came along. She bounced a ball, sang and painted on the other side of the wall, and Boy began to wonder if life on the other side might be better after all. Written for children aged 4 to 9, The Boy Who Built A Wall Around Himself is a gentle full-colour picture book that uses a simple metaphor to explain how children who have had painful or traumatic experiences can build barriers between themselves and other people. It will help children explore their feelings and encourage communication

The Huge Bag of Worries Paperback (2011)

Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her - in a big blue bag. They are there when she goes swimming, when she is watching TV, and even when she is in the lavatory. Jenny decides they will have to go. But who can help her? The Huge Bag of Worries was written by Virginia Ironside, one of Britain's leading agony aunts, and has sold 140k copies to date.

Wishes and Worries (2011)

Wishes and Worries, a reassuring book, written by professionals, offers information in the form of a story about one family’s struggle. When Dad’s drinking ruins a birthday party, everyone wishes that he would just stop. If only wishing could fix the problem! Wishes and Worries is an excellent way to open a discussion between adult and child. It provides straightforward answers to common questions. Why does my parent drink? Will I drink too much, too? What can I do to help? Is it my fault? The book also includes important information for parents, teachers, and professionals.'

The Blue Polar Bear (2006)

Developed as part of the Dual Diagnosis Support Kit produced by the NSW Department of Community Services, the Blue Polar Bear is for children 5-7 years. It's aim is to help workers, carers and parents to introduce the issues of parental dual diagnosis (mental illness and substance misuse), explore concerns and encourage positive coping and help-seeking behaviours. It is available as a free download.

A Terrible Thing Happened (2000)

Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. A Terrible Thing Happened is a gently told and tenderly illustrated story aimed at children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode. An afterword written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.

Up and down the Mountain: Helping Children Cope with Parental Alcoholism: Let's Talk (1994)

Up and Down the Mountain begins on the day of Jenny's sixth grade graduation as she wonders if her daddy - an alcoholic - will attend. Alcoholism is a disease which touches many families, especially affecting children, who will often blame themselves for the grief and unhappiness around them. This book shows them it's not their fault and gives hope and counsel.

Children aged 8-12

The Flying Dream (2009)

The Flying Dream has been written for children of parents with dual diagnosis (mental illness and substance abuse). It can also be used to work with parents to help them understand their children's needs and to identify what they can do differently to help them. This publication was developed by the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS) through the National Illicit Drug Strategy. Sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services.

Emmy's Question (2007)

Emmy's Question focuses on Emmy who wants desperately to be a normal kid with a happy family like her friends. But no matter how hard she tries to keep her mom's drinking problem a secret, things are getting worse. Her mother humiliates her by showing up at school and her dance recital after drinking too much wine. Even though she's teased at school and snubbed by classmates after that, Emmy's too ashamed to admit to anyone how much she is hurting. When her mom leaves the family, Emmy's pain forces her to reach out for help, breaking her "Don't Tell Rule." "How could Mom choose wine over me?" she cries. Emmy comes to know she cannot cure her mother's disease, but still finds the best about herself. Emmy's voice is one not easily forgotten. Appropriate for small group reading and discussion. A complete resource guide is included.

An Elephant In The Living Room - The Children's Book (1994)

An Elephant In the Living Room is an illustrated story to help children understand and cope with the problem of alcoholism or other drug addiction in the family.

The brown bottle (1983)

The Brown Bottle simple but powerful short story resource is a tale about Charlie the fuzzy brown caterpillar. It helps talk about alcohol dependency with children and was originally written by Penny Jones in 1983.