Happy, Healthy Minds: A Children’s Guide to Emotional Wellbeing

The School of Life. Oct. 2020. 176p. ed. by de Botton, Alain, ed. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781912891191.
Gr 5-8–This self-help book for young teens covers timely topics, including family issues, modern technology, and humanity’s relationship to nature. The advice varies as much as the subjects covered, and some of the terminology will not be familiar to American readers. The section covering technology addiction draws tone-deaf parallels to substance abuse. The author writes, “Nowadays, the most respectable kind of addiction is screen addiction—and what makes you an addict isn’t just being on your screen all the time, it is the fact that you are running to a screen because you’re running away from something else.” This does not seem like an appropriate comparison, as people with substance abuse issues also have deep physical and psychological problems to overcome that are not easily conflated with frequent screen use. Chapters feature pages for readers to record their own observations. While some of the advice is helpful, such as a reminder that everyone experiences anxieties, there are other comprehensive materials available to deal with these types of subjects. The broad range of content could deter those looking for a specific topic, and browsers may find the variety overwhelming. The pastel palette and soft illustrations are appealing.
VERDICT It will likely be difficult to find an audience for this extensive guide, and some of the discussions of certain issues may be off-putting to readers. Suggested only as an additional purchase where self-help titles are in high demand.

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