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Judy’s Book Recommendations & Themes for Mental Health Literature

The following book selections cover both the art and the science of the human mind and experience. The Human Curriculum™ is dependent on personal connections and understandings of topics related to the vast disciplines that cover mental health and well-being topics. Some texts speak to more of a science perspective and less positive psychology (or vice versa); others speak to historical, cultural, or analytical perspectives. Choose texts that help develop your knowledge, skills, and attitudes personally or professionally – or both!

Whether you wish to learn from an artistic, cultural, scientific, creative, or analytical perspective is up to you. Some books offer a variety of perspectives. What matters most is that you find meaning in your literature choices and they offer you an opportunity to grow in any manner that is meaningful for where you are at today.

These books form the basis for Heuristic Self-Inquiry and Transformative-Inquiry. Two processes at the root of many of my courses. To read more on these topics see the following resources:

  1. Heuristic Inquiry: Sultan, N. (2019). What is heuristic inquiry anyway?. In Heuristic inquiry: Researching human experience holistically (n.p.). Sage Publications, 2019.
  2. Transformative Inquiry: Michele T.D. Tanaka Ph.D.; http://transformativeinquiry.ca/downloads/ (eBook available online)

Stress & Burnout

Harris, D. (2014). 10% happier: How I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works -a true story. Hachette UK.

Maté, G. (2011). When the body says no: The cost of hidden stress. Vintage Canada.

Nagoski, E., & Amelia Nagoski, D. M. A. (2020). Burnout: The secret to unlocking the stress cycle. Ballantine Books.

Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Loss

Amen, D. G. (2015). Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Revised and Expanded): The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Lack of Focus, Anger, and Memory Problems. Harmony.

Brewer, J. (2021). Unwinding Anxiety: New science shows how to break the cycles of worry and fear to heal your mind. Avery.

Cain, S. (2022). Bittersweet: How sorrow and longing make us whole. Penguin, Random House.

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: An easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones. Penguin.

Moustakas, C. E. (1961; 2016). Loneliness. Pickle Partners Publishing.

Kalanithi, P. (2016). When breath becomes air. Random House.

Lyons, L., & Wilson, R. (2013). Anxious kids, anxious parents: 7 ways to stop the worry cycle and raise courageous and independent children. Health Communications, Inc.

May, R. (1967). The meaning of anxiety. Psychosomatic Medicine.

Solomon, A. (2014). The noonday demon: An atlas of depression. Simon and Schuster.

Wilson, R., & Lyons, L. (2013). Anxious kids, anxious parents: 7 ways to stop the worry cycle and raise courageous and independent children. Health Communications, Inc.

Diverse & Culturally Relevant Health / Healing Perspectives / Belonging & Self Reflection (BIPOC Perspectives)

Archibald, J. (2008). Indigenous storywork: Educating the heart, mind, body, and spirit. Vancouver: UBC Press

Brendtro, L. K., Brokenleg, M., & Van Bockern, S. (2019). Reclaiming youth at risk: Futures of promise. Solution Tree.

Brown, B. (2017). Braving the wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone. Random House.

Burke, T., & Brown, B. (Eds.). (2021). You are your best Thing: Vulnerability, shame resilience, and the black experience. Random House.

Foo, S. (2022). What my bones know: A memoir of healing from complex trauma. Ballantine Books.

Kimmerer, R. W. (2015). Braiding sweetgrass. Milkweed Editions.

Phillips, A. (2023). The Garden Within: Where the War with Your Emotions Ends and Your Most Powerful Life Begins. Nelson Books (Thomas Nelson), HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc.

Singh, A. A. (2018). The queer and transgender resilience workbook: Skills for navigating sexual orientation and gender expression. New Harbinger Publications.

Singh, A. A. (2019). The racial healing handbook: Practical activities to help you challenge privilege, confront systemic racism, and engage in collective healing. New Harbinger Publications.

Wagamese, R. (2016). Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations. D & M Publishers.

Walrond, K. (2021). The lightmaker’s manifesto: How to work for change without losing your joy. Broadleaf Books.

Yeager, C. (2022). How am I doing? 40 conversations to have with yourself. Harper Celebrate. HarperCollinsFocus LLC.

Understanding or Healing Emotions / Trauma

Brown, B. (2021). Atlas of the heart: Mapping meaningful connection and the language of human experience. Random House.

Chodron, P. (2016). When things fall apart: Heart advice for difficult times. Shambhala Publications.

David, S. (2016). Emotional agility: Get unstuck, embrace change, and thrive in work and life. Penguin.

Eger, E. E. (2020). The gift: 12 lessons to save your life. Scribner.

Goleman, D. (Ed.). (2003). Healing emotions: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on mindfulness, emotions, and health. Shambhala Publications.

Perry, B. & Szalavitz, M. (2017). The boy who was raised as a dog: And other stories from a child psychiatrist’s notebook–What traumatized children can teach us about loss, love, and healing. Basic Books.

Perry, B. D., & Szalavitz, M. (2011). Born for love: Why empathy is essential–And endangered. William Morrow Paperbacks.

Southwick, S. M., & Charney, D. S. (2018). Resilience: The science of mastering life’s greatest challenges. Cambridge University Press.

Van der Kolk, B. A. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. Penguin Books.

Winfrey, O., & Perry, B. D. (2021). What happened to you?: Conversations on trauma, resilience, and healing. Flatiron Books.

Mindfulness, Mindset, Meaning

Chopra, D. (2019). Metahuman: Unleashing your infinite potential. Harmony.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House.

Easter, M. (2021). The comfort crisis: embrace discomfort to reclaim your wild, happy, healthy self. Rodale Books.

Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man’s search for meaning. Simon and Schuster.

Forrest, L. (2011). Guiding Principles for Life Beyond Victim Consciousness. Edited by E. Meagher. Conscious Living media.

Goldstein, J. (2013). Mindfulness: A practical guide to awakening. Sounds True.

Hayes, S. C. (2005). Get out of your mind and into your life: The new acceptance and commitment therapy. New Harbinger Publications.

Hoff, B. (1982). The tao of pooh (p. 1). New York: Penguin Books.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2018). Meditation is not what you think: Mindfulness and why it is so important. Hachette UK.

Macdonald, M., & Shirley, D. (2009). The Mindful Teacher. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Neff, K. (2011). Self-compassion: The proven power of being kind to yourself. Hachette UK. AND Neff, K., & Germer, C. (2018). The mindful self-compassion workbook: A proven way to accept yourself, build inner strength, and thrive. Guilford Publications.

Palmer, P. (2004). A hidden wholeness: The journey toward an undivided life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Siegel, D. (2020). Aware: The science and practice of presence–the groundbreaking meditation practice. Penguin.

Tolle, E. (2006). A new earth: Awakening to your life’s purpose. Penguin Life.

Positive Psychology

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

Greene, J. D., & Seligman, M. E. (Eds.). (2016). Positive neuroscience. Oxford University Press.

Hanson, R. (2016). Hardwiring happiness: The new brain science of contentment, calm, and confidence. Harmony.

Hanson, R., & Hanson, F. (2020). Resilient: How to grow an unshakable core of calm, strength, and happiness. Harmony.

Horowitz, D. (2017). Happier?: The history of a cultural movement that aspired to transform America. Oxford University Press.

Kashdan, T. B., & Ciarrochi, J. V. (Eds.). (2013). Mindfulness, acceptance, and positive psychology: The sevenfoundations of well-being. New Harbinger Publications.

Seligman, M. E. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Simon and Schuster.

Understanding Neuro-diversity (ADHD, ASD, HSP) & The Brain

Amen, D. G. (2020). The End of Mental Illness. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Dana, D. (2021). Anchored: How to befriend your nervous system using polyvagal theory. Sounds True.

Daniel, K. (2017). Thinking, fast and slow. Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

Maté, G. (2017). Scattered minds: The origins and healing of attention deficit disorder. Random House.

Maté, G. (2022). The myth of normal: Trauma, illness and healing in a toxic culture. Random House.

Nerenberg, J. (2020). Divergent mind: Thriving in a world that wasn’t designed for you. HarperOne.

Siegel, D. (2015). Brainstorm: The power and purpose of the teenage brain (Illustrated ed.). Penguin Publishing Group.

Siegel, D. (2020). The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. Guilford Publications.

Ratey, J. (2013). Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. Little, Brown Spark.

Mentorship & Management

Brendtro, L. K., Brokenleg, M., & Van Bockern, S. (2019). Reclaiming youth at risk: Futures of promise. Solution Tree.

Brown, B. (2018). Dare to lead: Brave work. Tough conversations. Whole hearts. Random House.

Glasser, W. (1986). Control theory in the classroom. Perennial Library/Harper & Row Publishers.

Gossen, D. (1998). Restitution: Restructuring School Discipline. educational HORIZONS76(4), 182-88.

Gossen, D. (2004). It’s All About We: Rethinking Discipline Using Restitution. Chelsom Consultant Ltd.

Weinhold, B. K., & Weinhold, J. B. (2014). How to break free of the drama triangle and victim consciousness. CICRCL Press.

Nature – Nurture

Haupt, L. L. (2021). Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit. Hachette UK.

Keltner, D. (2023). Awe: the new science of everyday wonder and how it can transform your life. Penguin Press NY.

Kimmerer, R. (2013). Braiding sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants. Milkweed editions.

Kimmerer, R. W., & Smith, M. G. (2022). Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Zest Books TM.

Li, Q. (2018). Forest bathing: How trees can help you find health and happiness. Penguin.

Other Resources/Articles For Informing Mental Health & Education

Andrews, A., McCabe, M., & Wideman-Johnston, T. (2014). Mental health issues in the schools: are educators prepared? The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 9(4), 261-272

Bailey, A., Ciarrochi, J., & Hayes, L. (2012). Get out of your mind and into your life for teens: A guide to living an extraordinary life. New Harbinger Publications.

Bandura, A., & Watts, R. E. (1996). Self-efficacy in changing societies. Cambridge University Press.

Bopp, J., Bopp, M., Brown, L., & Lane, P., Jr. (1985). The sacred tree. (2nd ed.). Lethbridge, AB: Four Worlds International Institute for Human and Community Development.

Borba, M. (2021). Thrivers: The surprising reasons why some kids struggle and others shine. Penguin Group USA.

Buron, K. D. (2006). When my worries get too big. National Autistic Society.

Comprehensive School Community Health: http://publications.gov.sk.ca/documents/11/85649-2199-12F-2014%20CSCH%202%20pager%202014_en.pdf

D’Emidio-Caston, M. (2019). Addressing social, emotional development, and resilience at the heart of teacher education.

Teacher Education Quarterly, 46(4), 116-149.

Edmonton Catholic Schools. (2018). Focus on self-regulation. Edmonton, AB: A Genesis Publication.

Huebner, D. (2017). What to do when you worry too much: A kids guide to overcoming anxiety. Magination Press. American Psycholgical Foundation

Huebner, D. (2017). Outsmarting Worry: An Older Kid’s Guide to Managing Anxiety. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Jennings, P. A. (2015). Mindfulness for teachers: Simple skills for peace and productivity in the classroom (the Norton series on the social neuroscience of education). WW Norton & Company.

Katz, J. (2018). Ensouling our schools: A universally designed framework for mental health, well-being, and reconciliation. Portage & Main Press.

Ludwig, T. (2013). The invisible boy. Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Lyons, L., & Wilson, R. (2013). Anxious kids, anxious parents: 7 ways to stop the worry cycle and raise courageous and independent children. Health Communications, Inc.

Natterson-Horowitz, B., & Bowers, K. (2020). Wildhood: the astounding connections between human and animal adolescents. Scribner.

Rothì, D. M., Leavey, G., & Best, R. (2008). On the front-line: Teachers as active observers of pupils’ mental health. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(5), 1217-1231.

Saha, L. J., & Dworkin, A. G. (Eds.). (2009). International handbook of research on teachers and teaching (Vol. 21). Springer Science & Business Media.

Schraw, G. (1998). Promoting general metacognitive awareness. Instructional Science, 26(1-2), 113-125.

Sensoy, O., & DiAngelo, R. (2017). Is everyone really equal?: An introduction to key concepts in social justice education. Teachers College Press.

Siegel, D. J., & Bryson, T. P. (2012). The whole-brain child: 12 revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind (Illustrated ed.). Bantam.

Siegel, D. J. (2015). Brainstorm: The power and purpose of the teenage brain. Penguin.

Steinberg, L. D. (2014). Age of opportunity: Lessons from the new science of adolescence. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Steele, W. (2017). Optimizing learning outcomes: Proven brain-centric, trauma-sensitive practices. Taylor & Francis.

Tummers, N. (2011). Teaching stress management. Human Kinetics.

Ubbes, V. (2008). Educating for health: An inquiry-based approach to pre-K-8 pedagogy. Human Kinetics.

World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/

Zachary, H. (2017, February 14). Flourish by design: To develop students’ well-being, teachers have to think about their own. Here’s how.Harvard Graduate School of Education: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/ideas/17/02/flourish-design

My Go to Podcasts Informing Mental Health & Well-being Education

1. 10% Happier, Dan Harris (all topics of mindfulness and meditation)
2. Unlocking Us: Brene Brown (All topics of the heart / emotions)
3. Being Well Podcast: Rick and Forrest Hanson: All topics of wellbeing
4. We can Do Hard Things: Glennon Doyle (LGBTQ, Grief, Trauma, Parenting)
5. Oprah Super Soul (Oprah Winfrey (all topics of grief, loss, happiness, hope)
6. Daily Breath: Deepak Chopra; Infinite Potential (Deepak Chopra)
7. Sick Boy Podcast: Breaking Stigma around illness
8. Esther Perel: Where Do We Begin? (Topics of trauma, how narratives shape our
worldview, and accepting uncomfortable emotions)

9. The Trauma Informed Lawyer: Myrna McCallum

10. All My Relations Podcast: Matika Wilbur, & Dr. Adrienne Keene

11. Hidden Brain: Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal
the unconscious patterns that drive human behaviour

12. The Metta Hour Podcast: Sharon Salzberg brings Buddhist wisdom to
everyday life in a practical, common sense vernacular.

13. The Secret Life of Canada: Leah-Simon Bowen and Falen Johnson explore
the unauthorized history of a complicated country. 

14. On Purpose with Jay Shetty

15. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

*Not an exhaustive list – updated periodically

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