Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading:

The Color of Hope: People of Color Mental Health Narratives  
by Iresha Picot

The Color of Hope: People of Color Mental Health Narratives is a project that sheds light on mental health in communities of color by sharing stories by those affected by mental illness. By sharing our stories, we open up discussion around the topic and break through stigma and shame.

The contributors represent those living with or affected by loved ones with depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and other conditions.

They are men and women, children and adults, political prisoners, college students, politicians, musicians, business people, artists, fathers, mothers, daughters…all of African, Latino, and Asian descent. Their narratives add to the tapestry of the human experience and without them, our history is incomplete.

Balance Boldly
by Sharon J Lawrence (Author), Dr. Vicki T. Sapp (Foreword) 

Live A Balanced & Bold Life

Desiring to live a balanced life and completing tasks to get to a place where your life is balanced are two different things. Life is filled with ups and downs, responsibilities and extensive to-do lists that keep us from taking better care of ourselves and having better relationships overall. Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Life Coach Sharon J. Lawrence, will assist you in working towards living a balanced and bold life by teaching you to improve relationships, self-care and set boundaries. She will assist you with learning to focus more on yourself so that you can prioritize you and your relationships better. It’s Time to Focus!

Gambling Addiction Monster
by Holly Anne Ellison - Recovered gambling addict sharing insights for recovery 

Holly Anne Ellison is a recovered gambling addict. After spending decades wasting both time and money as an addicted slots player, she is sharing the concepts she discovered that finally were the game-changers in her own recovery. In her book Gambling Addiction Monster, she will show you how to finally slay your GAM and fulfill your desire to win so that you can permanently be free to live the life you deserve.

A Little SPOT of Feelings: Emotion Detective Paperback  
by Diane Alber

Do you have a little one that has a tough time expressing their feelings? This book helps children not only recognize feelings in themselves, but in others too!A Little SPOT of Feelings is a story about a little Scribble SPOT that is an Emotion Detective. He teaches you all about different emotions and facial expressions so you know how to NAME your FEELINGS. He also shows specific examples of children describing how they are feeling. Targeted to young children, this book will inspire kids to discuss and NAME their multitude of feelings in a kid-friendly way. 

Unwinding Anxiety
by Dr. Judson Brewer

A step-by-step plan clinically proven to break the cycle of worry and fear that drives anxiety and addictive habits

We are living through one of the most anxious periods any of us can remember. Whether facing issues as public as a pandemic or as personal as having kids at home and fighting the urge to reach for the wine bottle every night, we are feeling overwhelmed and out of control. But in this timely book, Dr. Judson Brewer explains how to uproot anxiety at its source using brain-based techniques and small hacks accessible to anyone. 

We think of anxiety as everything from mild unease to full-blown panic. But it's also what drives the addictive behaviors and bad habits we use to cope (e.g. stress eating, procrastination, doom scrolling and social media). Plus, anxiety lives in a part of the brain that resists rational thought. So we get stuck in anxiety habit loops that we can't think our way out of or use willpower to overcome. Dr. Brewer teaches us map our brains to discover our triggers, defuse them with the simple but powerful practice of curiosity, and to train our brains using mindfulness and other practices.

Nothing's Wrong: A Man's Guide to Managing His Feelings
By David Kundtz, S.Th.D., M.F.T

To have successful professional and personal lives, you have to get the emotional healing that you need.

Every man that you come across has a deep bed of emotions. Emotions and feelings are not things that should be ignored. In order to get the great and healthy relationships that you desire, you have to change the way that you manage your emotions. David Kundtz has created this perfect guidebook to help you do just that!

Identify your emotions. Emotions are full of diversity, so you’ll learn about all the different ways to spot your emotions and you’ll learn how to better express your feelings. You’ll learn how to become comfortable with your emotions and in turn with the emotions of those around you. Stop the self-sabotage and get the healing that you’ve been seeking.

Men, this book is for you. This book is dedicated to teenage boys, young men, fathers, and grandfathers. This book is so much more than your average book plastered with inspirational quotes or half-hearted advice. The language, tools, and the exercises inside of this book are specified to help you express the deep, vibrant and ever-present emotions that you hold inside of you. Nothing’s Wrong is packed with:

If you find yourself constantly struggling to express yourself, this book is the inspirational book that you need. It’ll help you build the confidence to speak your feelings to those around you so that you can have effective communication in your everyday conversations.

Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig

Through a series of conversations with his younger self, author Matt Haig illustrates the cliche, but true adage, “there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”  Many face mental health problems, and Haig is one of them. Reasons to Stay Alive is his journey of how he battled his depression, one day at a time, minute by minute, to come out the other side. It’s not about eradicating his depression, but about finding reasons beyond that to stick around, and appreciating life all the more for it.

Matt Haig is the number one bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive, Notes on a Nervous Planet and six highly acclaimed novels for adults, including How to Stop Time, The Humans and The Radleys. His latest novel is The Midnight Library and the audiobook edition is read by Carey Mulligan. Haig also writes award-winning books for children, including A Boy Called Christmas, which is being made into a feature film with an all-star cast. He has sold more than a million books in the UK and his work has been translated into over forty languages.

The Juice Box Bully 

by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy

One of the best things kids can do to combat bullying is to stand up for one another, which is exactly what The Juice Box Bully is about. Students will learn how to have each other’s back instead of doing nothing when they witness bully confrontation.

Click here for 28 Must-Read Anti-Bullying Books for Kids of All Ages

Sometimes Mommy Gets Angry

by Bebe Moore Campbell, E.B. Lewis  (Illustrator)

The story offers an opportunity to see -- from the perspective of a child -- a parent's struggles with mental illness within a family context, the role of support systems for children and families (extended family, friends, neighbors, etc.), and how one family puts into action a plan to support a child who lives with a struggling parent. The book is sensitive, but also honest.

Click here for additional information.

72 Hour Hold

by Bebe Moore Campbell

A 72 hour hold is the amount of time that a hospital or a psychiatric institution can hold a mentally ill person against their will in order to go through an assessment to determine if the person is at risk of doing harm to self or others. This novel showcases a mother’s unconditional love towards her daughter and how she handles her daughter breakdowns and deals with her ex-husband denial about their daughter and refusing to accept the fact that his daughter is indeed mentally ill. Although the reality of being diagnosed with a mental illness prompts unacceptance within the person, it might take someone a long time to accept the condition and to learn how to cope and handle different methods of overcoming the illness.

Click here for additional information.

Boys Don't Cry: Why I hid my depression and why men need to talk about their mental health

by Tim Grayburn (Author)

Meet Tim. For nearly a decade Tim kept his depression secret. It made him feel so weak and shameful he thought it would destroy his whole life if anyone found out. But an unexpected discovery by a loved one forced him to confront his illness and realise there was strength to be found in sharing his story with others. When he finally opened up to the world about what he was going through he discovered he was not alone.

Boys Don't Cry is a book that speaks against the stigma that makes men feel like they are less-than for struggling, making sense of depression and anxiety for people who might not recognise those feelings in themselves or others. It is a brutally honest, sometimes heart-breaking (and sometimes funny) tale about what it really takes to be a 'real man', written by one who decided that he wanted to change the status quo by no longer being silent. This is Tim's story, but it could be yours too.

Click here for additional information.

The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States  

by Alliah L. Agostini (Author), Sawyer Cloud (Illustrator)

Subject: With colorful illustrations and a timeline, this introductory history of Juneteenth for kids details the evolution of the holiday commemorating the date the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom​.

On June 19, 1865—more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation—the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom. That day became a day of remembrance and celebration that changed and grew from year to year.

Learn about the events that led to emancipation and why it took so long for the enslaved people in Texas to hear the news. The first Juneteenth began as “Jubilee Day,” where families celebrated and learned of their new rights as citizens. As Black Texans moved to other parts of the country, they brought their traditions along with them, and Juneteenth continued to grow and develop.

Today, Juneteenth’s powerful spirit has endured through the centuries to become an official holiday in the United States in 2021. The Juneteenth Story provides an accessible introduction for kids to learn about this important American holiday.

Click here for additional information.

LGBTQ: The Survival Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teens 

by Kelly Huegel Madrone

Subject: Fully revised and updated guide with frank, sensitive information for LGBTQ teens, their families, and their allies.

An indispensable resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning teens—and their allies. This fully revised and updated third edition includes current information on LGBTQ terminology, evolving understandings of gender identity and sexual identity, LGBTQ rights, and much more. Other advice covers topics such as coming out, confronting prejudice, getting support, making healthy choices, and thriving in school and beyond.

This all-encompassing resource guide is one of those books that should be in every mental health center, library, and school to assist LGBTQ+ teens seeking to understand their bodies and autonomy. It covers cultural and political history, understanding human rights, and the exploration of gender and sexuality as an individual experience. For teenagers moving through these stages, parents who want to support their children, and educators who are passionate about creating a safe space for their students, Madrone’s book is an essential tool to help make that possible.

It is a great comfort for young people to know there is a volume that gives them a starting point for all the elements of the queer identity they may want to dive into safely.

Click here for additional information.

Staff Picks, April 2023:
The Stress Response: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Free You from Needless Anxiety, Worry, Anger, and Other Symptoms of Stress
Author: Christy Matta, MA
Subject: Skills to better manage anxiety and stress

Life is stressful, and that’s not always a bad thing. A certain amount of stress actually helps us work more productively and take action in a crisis. But recurrent and prolonged stress can paralyze us or lead us to feel exhausted, angry, or overwhelmed. The skills presented in The Stress Response can dramatically change the way you process stress and they don’t take much time to learn. Drawn from a technique therapists use called dialectical behavior therapy, these powerful strategies can help you manage the slings and arrows of life more gracefully and effectively.

Click here for additional information.

Staff Picks, March 2023:
Title:  The Whole-Brain Child
Authors: Daniel Siegel, M.D., Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.
Subject:  Parenting strategies to foster emotional intelligence in children

In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids throw tantrums, fight, or sulk in silence. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.

Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.

Staff Picks, February 2023:
Title:  Silent Agreements:  How to free your relationships of unspoken expectations

Authors: Linda D. Anderson, PhD, Sonia R. Banks, PhD, Michele L. Owens, PhD

Subject:  Communication

Silent Agreements will help readers define the unspoken beliefs and expectations that might be causing dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and resentment in their relationships, giving them the tools to explore these agreements and work toward healthier communication with a partner, friend, boss, or family member.

Staff Picks, January 2023:
Title: The Color Monster
Author: Anna Llenas
Subject: Unpack feelings with color in this international bestseller that helps young readers identify emotions and feel more in control.

One day, Color Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad, and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through color. As this adorable monster learns to sort and define his mixed up emotions, he gains self-awareness and peace as a result. Everyone will enjoy sharing this concept book that taps into both socio-emotional growth and color concepts in a simple, friendly way.

Staff Picks, December 2022:

Title: Feeling good - the new mood therapy

Author:  David D. Burns, MD

Subject:  Recognizing your moods and learn techniques to assist you in alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety 

From renowned psychiatrist Dr. David D. Burns, the revolutionary volume that popularized Dr. Aaron T. Beck’s cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and has helped millions combat feelings of depression and develop greater self-esteem.

Anxiety and depression are the most common mental illnesses in the world, affecting 18% of the U.S. population every year. But for many, the path to recovery seems daunting, endless, or completely out of reach.

The good news is that anxiety, guilt, pessimism, procrastination, low self-esteem, and other "black holes" of depression can be alleviated. In Feeling Good, eminent psychiatrist, David D. Burns, M.D., outlines the remarkable, scientifically proven techniques that will immediately lift your spirits and help you develop a positive outlook on life, enabling you to:

Staff Picks, November 2022:

Title:  Silent Agreements:  How to free your relationships of unspoken expectations

Authors: Linda D. Anderson, PhD, Sonia R. Banks, PhD, Michele L. Owens, PhD

Subject:  Communication

Silent Agreements will help readers define the unspoken beliefs and expectations that might be causing dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and resentment in their relationships, giving them the tools to explore these agreements and work toward healthier communication with a partner, friend, boss, or family member.

If you have relationships, you've likely been part of silent agreements. Silent agreements are the implicit "rules" of your relationships that arise from unspoken beliefs and expectations that both parties hold, stemming from your earliest experiences and reinforced as you mature. They can sound something like "The person who makes more money should pay for the dates," or "My boss doesn't offer me a raise, and he knows I won't ask for one." These agreements can hinder your relationships, remaining undiscussed due to fear, aversion to conflict, feelings of obligation, or guilt. Because expectations so rarely line up and neither person will address the issue, a silent agreement can cause unhappiness and resentment on both sides.

Clinical psychologists Drs. Anderson, Banks, and Owens will help you explore your agreements and work towards healthier communication with a partner, friend, boss, or family member. In the process, you'll learn more about your own motivations and how to dismantle the the beliefs that don't serve you. With guidelines and advice on how to have productive conversations about sex, money, commitment, family, the workplace, and health, this book will help you lift the silence and resolve those land-mine issues before they do irreparable damage.

Staff Picks, October 2022:

Title: You Can't Make Me [But I Can Be Persuaded]

Author: Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

Subject: Parenting a strong-willed child

Turn Conflict into Cooperation

Many parents suspect their strong-willed child is deliberately trying to drive them crazy. Difficult to discipline and seemingly impossible to motivate, these children present unique, exhausting, and often-frustrating challenges to the those who love them.


But strong will is not a negative trait. These same children have firm convictions, high spirits, a sense of adventure—all the makings of a great adult. In this book you’ll discover how to channel that passion and determination in positive ways as you build a healthy relationship.

NOTE: When reading suggested books, you agree and acknowledge that QCI Behavioral Health is not providing health care, counseling, medical mental-health related services, or attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental or emotional issue, disease or condition. The above information is general information for educational purposes only.