10 Feel Good Books for Young People
It's Children's Mental Health Week! Did you know? One in six children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2020, a huge increase from one in nine in 2017. That’s five children in every classroom. Adults who experienced four or more adversities in their childhood are four times more likely to have low levels of mental wellbeing and life satisfaction (Youngminds.org). Books have been used by many, consciously or not, as a form of therapeutic relief. We've come up with a list of 10 feel good fiction books that may help provide the escapism a middle grader or young adult may need to provide respite for the real world.
We have come up with a list of 10 books that we think will make tweens and teens feel happy, motivated and inspired! We have tried to pick diverse books where possible - this includes books with characters from ethnic minority backgrounds and characters with disabilities.
1. Wonder - R.J. Palacio
"'My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.'
Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things - eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside. But ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren't stared at wherever they go.
Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?"
Best for: Ages 9-11
2. The Chance to Fly - Ali Stroker & Stacy Davidowitz
"A heartfelt middle-grade novel about a theater-loving girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility and her quest to defy expectations—and gravity—from Tony award–winning actress Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz
Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon loves a lot of things: her dog Warbucks, her best friend Chloe, and competing on her wheelchair racing team, the Zoomers, to name a few. But there’s one thing she’s absolutely OBSESSED with: MUSICALS! From Hamilton to Les Mis, there’s not a cast album she hasn’t memorized and belted along to. She’s never actually been in a musical though, or even seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on stage. Would someone like Nat ever get cast?
But when Nat’s family moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon auditions for a kids’ production of Wicked, one of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! The other cast members are super cool and inclusive (well, most of them)— especially Malik, the male lead and cutest boy Nat’s ever seen. But when things go awry a week before opening night, will Nat be able to cast her fears and insecurities aside and “Defy Gravity” in every sense of the song title?"
Best for: Ages 8-12
3. More to the Story - Hena Khan
"When Jameela Mirza is picked to be feature editor of her middle school newspaper, she’s one step closer to being an award-winning journalist like her late grandfather. The problem is her editor-in-chief keeps shooting down her article ideas. Jameela’s assigned to write about the new boy in school, who has a cool British accent but doesn’t share much, and wonders how she’ll make his story gripping enough to enter into a national media contest.
Jameela, along with her three sisters, is devastated when their father needs to take a job overseas, away from their cozy Georgia home for six months. Missing him makes Jameela determined to write an epic article—one to make her dad extra proud. But when her younger sister gets seriously ill, Jameela’s world turns upside down. And as her hunger for fame looks like it might cost her a blossoming friendship, Jameela questions what matters most, and whether she’s cut out to be a journalist at all…"
Best for: Ages 8-12
4. Measuring Up - Lily LaMotte
"Twelve-year-old Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-má’s, seventieth birthday together.
Since she can’t go to A-má, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There’s just one problem: Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food.
And after her pickled cucumber debacle at lunch, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child. Can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite with A-má, a way to fit in with her new friends, and somehow find herself too?"
Best for: Ages 8-12
5. A Place to Hang The Moon - Kate Albus
"It is 1940 and William, 12, Edmund, 11, and Anna, 9, aren’t terribly upset by the death of the not-so-grandmotherly grandmother who has taken care of them since their parents died. But the children do need a guardian, and in the dark days of World War II London, those are in short supply, especially if they hope to stay together. Could the mass wartime evacuation of children from London to the countryside be the answer?
It’s a preposterous plan, but off they go– keeping their predicament a secret, and hoping to be placed in a temporary home that ends up lasting forever. Moving from one billet to another, the children suffer the cruel trickery of foster brothers, the cold realities of outdoor toilets and the hollowness of empty stomachs. They find comfort in the village lending library, whose kind librarian, Nora Müller, seems an excellent choice of billet, except that her German husband’s whereabouts are currently unknown, and some of the villagers consider her unsuitable.
A Place to Hang the Moon is a story about the dire importance of family: the one you’re given, and the one you choose."
Best for: Ages 9-12
6. The Amelia Six - Kristin L. Gray
"Eleven-year-old Amelia Ashford—Millie to her friends (if she had any, that is)—doesn’t realize just how much adventure awaits her when she’s given the opportunity of a lifetime: to spend the night in Amelia Earhart’s childhood home with five other girls. Make that five strangers. But Millie’s mom is a pilot like the famous Amelia, and Millie would love to have something to write to her about…if only she had her address.
Once at Amelia’s house in Atchison, Kansas, Millie stumbles upon a display of Amelia’s famous flight goggles. She can’t believe her good luck, since they’re about to be relocated to a fancy museum in Washington, DC. But her luck changes quickly when the goggles disappear, and Millie was the last to see them. Soon, fingers are pointing in all directions, and someone falls strangely ill. Suddenly, a fun night of scavenger hunts and sweets takes a nosedive and the girls aren’t sure who to trust. With a blizzard raging outside and a house full of suspects, the girls have no choice but to band together. It’s up to the Amelia Six to find the culprit and return the goggles to their rightful place. Or the next body to collapse could be one of theirs."
Best for: Ages 8-12
7. Roll With It - Jamie Sumner
"Ellie is an irrepressible girl who always tells it like it is. That might surprise some people who just see a girl in a wheel chair, but having cerebral palsy doesn’t hold Ellie back. She’s got big dreams of becoming a world-famous baker. Being the new kid in the wheel chair from the wrong side of town is a lot to come up against. But if anyone’s up for the task, it’s Ellie. In fact, moving might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to her."
Best for: Ages 10+
8. The Library of Ever - Zeno Alexander
"Lenora is the most bored she ever way—until she discovers a secret door at the library and becomes the Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian. No biggie. Now she spends her days helping patrons from future civilizations and fielding queries about lost penguins. But there are those who want to destroy all knowledge in the universe. And now it’s up to Lenora to help stop them!"
Best for: Ages 8-12
9. Wizardmatch - Lauren Magaziner
"Twelve-year-old Lennie Mercado loves magic. She practices her invisibility powers all the time (she can now stay invisible for fifteen seconds!), and she dreams of the day that she can visit her grandfather, the Prime Wizard de Pomporromp, at his magical estate.
Now Lennie has her chance. Poppop has decided to retire, and his grandchildren are coming from all over to compete in Wizardmatch. The winner inherits his title, his castle, and every single one of his unlimited magical powers. The losers get nothing. Lennie is desperate to win, but when Poppop creates a new rule to quelch any sibling rivalry, her thoughts turn from winning Wizardmatch to sabotaging it...even if it means betraying her family."
Best for: Ages 8-12
10. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom - Christopher Healy
"A fast-paced and hilarious fantasy quest in the grand tradition of Shrek and The Princess Bride, starring four very unlikely, but likeable, heroes.
Prince Liam. Prince Frederick. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? But you’ve probably heard of Prince Charming, the guy who rides in at the last minute to save the girl. Well that’s them, all four of them. They are all Prince Charmings. Only in reality, they are a little less heroic than you might expect.
One day, cast out of their castles for one reason or another, the four Prince Charmings stumble upon each other, then shortly afterwards, upon an evil plot to bring about the downfall of the kingdom. Can the princes stop their bickering, overcome their failings and become the heroes the stories always said they were?"
Best for: Ages 9+
Get your hands on our February 2022 edition of Happier Every Chapter, Feel Good February now! Click here to be taken to our website where you can subscribe, buy our books, or buy a one off box!
Here is our January 2022 box for Thought Leaders (8-12 year olds)! Available to buy now as a one off, by clicking here.
Here is what one of our subscribers has to say!
The idea of having a special little box arrive each month with amazing books to read and goodies, is an inspirational idea! My son has absolutely loved his first box and has already read the first novel. It’s such a lovely way to encourage our youngsters to read! The two young girls should be very proud of themselves! Can’t wait for next month’s box!
- Vicky A