An exclusive extract from The Elephant by Peter Carnavas and our recommended books about mental health for kids

The Elephant by Peter Carnavas. Book cover and author photo.

The book we sent our Parakeet subscribers this month tells the beautiful and ultimately uplifting story of Olive, whose family are in the midst of a terrible grief. Olive describes a large grey elephant following her father around, keeping him heavy and sad. With the help of her grandad and her best friend Arthur, she is determined to chase the elephant away.

The healing power of love is at the heart of this deeply moving book. Carefully written, packed with empathy and beautifully illustrated, this is the perfect book for reading together.

We're delighted to be able to share an exclusive extract from The Elephant (with thanks to our publisher partner this month, Pushkin Press):

Download an exclusive extract from The Elephant

The depiction of Olive's father's mental health is carefully and beautifully drawn. It's a topic that is all too rarely addressed in children's books. Two examples that we would highly recommend, however, are:

Boy Under Water and The Dog that Saved the World covers
Boy Under Water by Adam Baron

Cymbeline Igloo has never been swimming. But how hard can it be? What he's not ready for is the accident at the pool - or how it leads his mum to a sudden breakdown. Now, with the help of friends old and new, Cymbeline must solve the mystery of why his mum never took him near water. 
The Dog that Saved the World (Cup) by Phil Earle

Pickles the dog and his owner Elsie are huge football fans. But life off the pitch is tough, especially when Elsie's dad loses his job and they have to move. So when disaster strikes and Elsie's dreams of playing at Wembley are shattered, it's up to Pickles to save the day. 

For books that explore children's experience of grief, we would recommend:

The Star Outside My Window, Pie in the Sky and Charlie and Me covers
The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q. Rauf

Following the disappearance of her mum, 10-year-old Aniyah suddenly finds herself living in foster care. With her life in disarray, she knows just one thing for sure: her mum isn't gone for ever. Because people with the brightest hearts never truly leave. They become stars. 

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

When Jingwen moves to Australia, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away.

Charlie and Me by Mark Lowery

Thirteen-year-old Martin and his younger brother Charlie are on a very special journey. They're going to be travelling 421 miles all the way from Preston to the very tip of Cornwall. They're hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphin that regularly visits the harbour there. But is that the only reason they are going?



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