Book reviews

Seeing gender: An illustrated guide to identity and expression

Review by Abigail Freeland, Policy Analyst

Whether LGBTQ+, cisgender, or nonbinary, a must-read for curious people who care about how we see and talk about gender and sexuality in the 21st century.

Read more

Seeking civility: How leaders, managers & HR can create a workplace free of bullying

Review by Dr Chris Taua of Pumahara Consultants – Personal and Professional Development Specialists

Written from the author's own experiences as a consultant focused on workplace bullying and positive workplaces.

Read more

The little tiger with the big temper: A story of mindfulness, meditation and conscious communication

Review by Faith McGregor, parent.

This book can help adults navigate and soothe a child's challenging emotions and to introduce to children the benefits of mindfulness and self-regulation.

Read more

Step up! My anti-bullying activity book

Review by Jacoba Glenny, Years 6, 7 and 8 Teacher

This activity book provides a wide-ranging set of activities for a child to unpack their experiences of bullying.

Read more

Can we talk?: Seven principles for managing difficult conversations at work

Review by Fiona Robinson-Morey, Organisational Communications Manager

Can We Talk? outlines how to lead tough conversations and how to develop better, more meaningful relationships at work.

Read more

The savvy ally: A guide for becoming a skilled LGBTQ+ advocate

Review by Meg Nelis, Learner Advisor

If you’re interested in being an effective ally to the LGBTQ+ communities then put this book on your required-reading list.

Read more

The bully, the bullied and the not so innocent bystander

Review by Rachel Walker, School Teacher

Parenting educator Barbara Coloroso reveals the dynamics that give rise to bullying and what parents, schools, and communities can do to stop, heal, and prevent it.

Read more

My shadow is pink

Review by Jack, mum Elissa Jordan and grandparents.

My Shadow is Pink is about a young boy, born with a pink shadow that loves princess, dresses & "things not for boys".

Read more

Mophead Tu: The Queen's Poem

Review by Ari Prakash

From the sinking islands in the South Seas to the smoggy streets of London, this is a thought-provoking take on colonial histories and one poet's journey to bridge the divide.

Read more

Mophead: How your difference makes a difference

Review by Deb Marsden, Guidance Counsellor & Secondary School teacher

An inspirational graphic memoir, full of wry humour, as NZ’s bestselling Poet Laureate tells the true story of a how her difference made a difference.

Read more

Life isn’t binary: On being both, beyond and in-between

Review by Jennifer Huddleston, Lead of Relationships and Operations, Sticks ‘n Stones

This book looks at how non-binary methods of thought can be applied to all aspects of life, and offer new and greater ways of understanding ourselves and how we relate to others.

Read more

How to stop homophobic and biphobic bullying: A practical whole-school approach

Review by Richard Everson, Teacher Aide and LGBT member/supporter

A teachers’ guide to challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying offers unique insights to address the issue at its core.

Read more

The prettiest

Review by Imogen Crooks, Secondary school student

A novel about about standing up for yourself and those around you.

Read more

Teine Sāmoa

Reviewed by Kirsten Edie, Secondary School Teacher

This resource aims to develop the cultural confidence of NZ teachers in order to better support our tamaiti in succeeding as proud teine and tama Sāmoa.

Read more

The boy at the back of the class

Review by Shahin Najak, recent University graduate

Told with heart and humour, this story is a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense.

Read more

The teacher’s guide to resolving school bullying

Review by Teri McMullan, Year 11 Dean and Teacher

This practical book helps teachers better understand the causes of bullying, and provides them with the tools to develop pupil-led anti-bullying campaigns.

Read more

Out on the Shelves

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

An online resource collecting books and literature by rainbow authors featuring rainbow stories.

Read more

Workplace bullying: A costly business phenomenon

Review by Dr Katrina McChesney, Senior Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education, University of Waikato

An updated and revised edition of this book supported by Needham’s Legacy Trust.

Read more

Mastering civility: A manifesto for the workplace

Review by Reece Palmer

Christine Porath shows how people can enhance their influence and effectiveness with civility.

Read more

Just work: Get s*it done, fast and fair

Review by Sophie Jackson, Knowledge, Resources and Information Manager

How we can recognize and eliminate workplace injustice, and transform our careers and organizations in the process.

Read more

Creating a drama-free workplace: The insider’s guide to managing conflict, incivility and mistrust

Review by Sabrina Fernandez, Registered Nurse

Maravelas notes knowing how to transform conflict into collaboration affects the outcome of every interaction, challenge, and opportunity.

Read more


Review by Maya Russell, Secondary Student

Award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world and the importance of having good people around you. .

Read more

Fish in a tree

Reviewed by Bodhi Hellesoe, Intermediate student

An uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.

Read more

Gracefully Grayson

Review by Becky Essery, Intermediate school teacher

A novel about identity, self-esteem, and friendship shines with the strength of a young person's spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.

Read more

Fantastic Florence, it’s not your fault

Review by Rachel Walker, Primary School Teacher

A story is designed to be a safe space for children to see themselves in the story's characters and is an invaluable tool for parents and caregivers, therapists and educators.

Read more

(Don't) Call me crazy: 33 voices start the conversation about mental health

Reviewed by Fiona McDiarmid, Teacher

Thirty-three actors, athletes, writers, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore mental health

Read more

Channel kindness: Stories of kindness and community

Reviewed by Morgan Dysart

Stories collected from Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a kinder and braver place.

Read more

Draw the line

Review by Deb Marsden, Guidance Counsellor & Secondary School teacher

Black and white illustrations with thoughtful splashes of color create a powerful, multi-layered statement about friendship, boundaries, and healing after conflict.

Read more

Supporting Aotearoa's Rainbow People - A practical guide for mental health professionals

Review by Louisa Woods, Guidance Counsellor

The first thing that strikes you about Supporting Aotearoa's Rainbow People is its colour - the native flora and fauna that adorn its pages thanks to the design and illustration talents of Bo Moore.

Read more


Reviews by Kellie Christophersen and Anna Mowat

Moth is a picture book about friendship and belonging, and how it feels when you don't fit in. It aims to help children to better understand social anxiety and introversion in a safe and relatable way.

Read more

Promised Land

Review by Demi Cox, Bookseller

Promised land is an LGBTQIA+ themed children's book written by Adam Reynolds & Chaz Harris with illustrations by Christine Luiten.

Read more

Release the beast

Review by Michelle Dendale, Information Officer, MHF

Release the Beast is a fun and quirky picture book which allows a child to respond to his frustrations by unleashing his imaginary beast.

Read more

Raven Wild

Review by Taonga Tangaere, Artist, Writer, and Trans Person

The tale of a mystical gem and one woman's journey of self-determination in transition from the boy she once presented herself to be into the woman and hero that she would come to know herself as.

Read more

Stand Up!: Be an upstander and make a difference

Review by Kim Thomas, Health and Physical Education teacher at Ellesmere College

A resource for teachers, parents, sports coaches, community leaders, workplaces, or just anyone that wants to teach children and adults the importance of being an upstander to make the world a better place.

Read more

The no more bullying book for kids

Review by Sarah Premkumar, Student and Blogger

A book that empowers children to become ‘strong, happy and bully-proof’ versions of themselves, while giving parents and teachers alike the tools and resources to open up important conversations at home and school.

Read more

The big umbrella

Review by Alice Bates, Senior Child and Youth Care Practitioner, Cholmondeley Children’s Centre

This story invites readers of all ages to think about what their own 'umbrella' looks like. It is a story about inclusion, connection and hospitality, a book that is deceptively simple in its depth.

Read more

Rainboy: The brightest colors shine from within

Reviewed by Jake Nankervis, Kaiāwhina tautoko

This book explores concepts of differences, acceptance, popularity and loving yourself for who you are.

Read more

Bullies and warriors

Review by Olivia Piper and Sophia Graham

In this novel Tim Tipene depicts the reality of bullying-and strategies to address it-for children on both sides of the problem. It addresses bullying head-on, and weaves practical solutions into a universal story.

Read more

A little bit different

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This book is intended as a funny and touching story about accepting and celebrating what makes each of us different and special.

Read more

ACE: A horsey tail of courage

Review by Vivienne Martini, Learning Advisor, Oranga Tamariki and Sam

An anti bullying story book for children with a story that follows the life of a horse who despite being bullied ends up achieving his long held dreams and goals.

Read more

Ali's first day at school

Reviews by Sasi and Latika

This book wonderfully portrays a refugee boy’s first day at school in New Zealand.

Read more

Feel a little: Little poems about big feelings

Review by Amanda Schulze, Community Engagement/Health Promoter, MHF

A bright book encouraging a stronger understanding of emotions from an early age, providing a toolbox for starting conversations about emotions from a young age.

Read more

Just breathe: A mindfulness adventure

Reviewed by Charmaine Denney, Early Childhood Teacher and mum to two boys

A picture book that tells a story that takes children (and parents) through a simple and engaging mindfulness exercise. This introduced a wonderful way of dealing with difficult emotions and preventing anxiety.

Read more


Review by Amanda Schulze, Community Engagement & Health Promotion Specialist. MHF

Kiwicorn is a cute and funny story about being unique. Gorgeous illustrations and writing, help children to understand their emotions and to open a light-hearted dialogue about diversity.

Read more

Maia and the Worry Bug | Māia rāua ko te ngārara pāwera

Review by Kate Cherven, Communications and Marketing Officer, MHF

'Maia and the worry bug' is a story and resource book to help families experiencing mild to moderate anxiety manage their worries and understand anxiety better.

Read more

Maiden voyage

Review by Leanne Stubbing, Year 6 Teacher

A brand new tale of discovery about the importance of truth, family and love. Maiden Voyage is the follow-up to the internationally acclaimed LGBTQ themed fairytale Promised Land.

Read more

The smelly giant / Tio tiamu

Review by mums, teachers and school kids

The Smelly Giant/Tio Tiamu, tells the story of Toe Butter/Tio Pata, a big friendly giant shunned by the people of his village because he was different.

Read more

The Chill Out Chair series

Review by Anna Mowat, who works as part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign in Otautahi

The Chill Out Chair is the second book in the Nicholas story series. We learn how the Calm Down Chair got its new name, the Chill Out Chair.

Read more

Big Red and the Little Bitty Wolf: A story about bullying

Review by Charmaine Denney, early childhood teacher and mum to two boys

This book is a modern twist on the classic tale, in which a little wolf's unexpected solution to the class bully is met with surprising success.

Read more

Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, respect, and being in charge of YOU

Reviews by William and Deanne Douglas

Rachel Brian's book sets out to help children to speak up and tell others when they don’t want to be hugged or tickled, or if they feel uncomfortable with another person.

Read more

Each kindness

Review by Jo Quigg, mum of 2 children, 7 and 9 years old

When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship.

Read more

From worrier to warrior: A guide to conquering your fears

Review by Anna Mowat, who works as part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign in Otautahi

From Worrier to Warrior will teach you how to create your very own "toolbox" of ways to combat fear and anxiety to carry with you and conquer the Worry Monster at any time.

Read more

Inclusion alphabet: ABCs for everyone

Review by Jill Proops, mum to a child with additional needs

Inclusion Alphabet: ABC’s for everyone is a picture book which guides the reader through some key features of inclusion.

Read more

Invisible Jerry

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This is a picture book with humour and heart for everyone who has ever felt like they’re on the outside looking in.

Read more

Llama Llama and the Bully Goat

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Taking on a difficult but important part of children's lives, Anna Dewdney gives readers a way to experience and discuss bullying in a safe and comforting way.

Read more

Made by Raffi

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

A story of a little boy who is different from his peers and is bullied at school, Pomranz celebrates just how good it is to march to a different beat.

Read more

Odd Velvet

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This is a tale about being different and the pressures of fitting in. In the end, Velvet's classmates discover that being different is what makes Velvet so much fun.

Read more

Stick and Stone

Review by Jo Quigg, mum of two children aged 7 and 9

Stick and Stone are on their own, until a chance encounter with a boorish bully (Pine Cone), inspires Stick to stick up for stone. The new pals head off on an adventure and discover that friendship really rocks.

Read more

The kindness snippet jar

Review by Kimberley Fatt, Primary School Teacher

The story suggests to the reader that whilst doing kind things for others is great, "Sometimes all it takes is doing something kind for someone right in front of you!"

Read more

The proudest blue: A story of Hijab and family

Review by Kirstie Stevens, School Library Assistant

An uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are. Sibling Faizah tells the story of her older sister, Asiya's, first-day wearing a hijab at school.

Read more

What is empathy? A bullying storybook for kids

Review by Ky McWilliam

Two sides to every story--helping kids learn compassion and understanding by putting themselves in someone else's shoes.

Read more

You, me and empathy: Teaching children about empathy, feelings, kindness, compassion, tolerance and recognising bullying behaviours

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This charming story uses verse, beautiful illustrations and a little person called Quinn to model the meaning of empathy.

Read more

Because everything is right but everything is wrong

Review by Nicola Corner, Communications Assistant, MHF

The book follows Caleb, a teenager in his last year of high school, and his experiences going through and coming to terms with mental illness.

Read more

Kick Depression

Review by Meg Rogers, Saint Hilda's Collegiate School

This free e-book contains a number of scientifically proven ways to help you to get through the hard times, with a sprinkling of ‘honest’ language and graphics. .

Read more

Only freaks turn things into bones

Review by Susy Carryer, secondary school English teacher and mother, who has worked with children and young people

Only Freaks Turn Things Into Bones uses the sort of macabre humour that appeals particularly to new entrant age children to present some important messages to anyone who feels like they don’t fit.

Read more

Play your best card

Review by Briar Matthews, Bayfield High School

A team-based game that encourages teens to have conversations on a range of topics relevant to young people.

Read more

Rising tide/He tai pari

Review by Anna Mowat, Family Advisor at All Right?

An engaging junior fiction self-help text for ages 8-12 that follows Ari through a series of challenging events and resolution. The book includes peer reviewed therapeutic lesson plans and family exercises.

Read more


Review by Sam, a year 9 student

Soulfire is a great book that teaches good morals and the importance of doing the right thing.

Read more

Stuff that sucks: Accepting what you can't change and committing to what you can

Review by Jono Selu, Community Engagement / Health Promoter. MHF

Stuff That Sucks encourages you to accept your emotions rather than struggling against them, with a strong emphasis on validation and compassion.

Read more

The book of knowing: Know how you think, change how you feel

Review by Gray Smith, Logan Park High School

The inspiration for "Knowing" came from Gwendoline Smith's very successful blog Dr Know. Answering requests from thousands of young people around the globe.

Read more

When life gives you lemons: A resource for young people dealing with depression & anxiety

Review by Kate Cherven, Communications and Marketing Specialist, MHF

Written by young people who have been there, this book provides an understanding of what depression and anxiety is like, and helps make sense of it all. .

Read more

Young Queen

Review by Jono Selu, Community Engagement & Health Promotion Officer, MHF

Young Queen is the autobiography of Parris Goebe a dancer with a dream ... a young Polynesian girl who grew up in New Zealand and went on to conquer the hip hop world.

Read more

Confessions of a former bully

Review by Elise McGregor, Carmel College

After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she realizes that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too.

Read more

Dare! / Weird! / Tough!

Review by Evie Ryan, St Albans Primary School and Anna Mowat, works as part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign in Otautahi

These three books tell the story of an ongoing case of bullying from three third graders’ perspectives. Kids will easily relate to Luisa, Jayla, and Sam, as each girl has her own unique experience.

Read more

Dear Bully: Seventy authors tell their stories

Review by Honor Jackson, Mana College

Today's top authors for teens and young people come together to share their stories about bullying-as bystanders, as victims, and as the bullies themselves-in this moving personal collection.

Read more

Fighting invisible tigers: Stress management for teens

Review by Portia Devonshire

This book offers proven techniques that teens can use to deal with stressful situations in school, at home, and among friends.

Read more

I am Jack

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Susanne Gervay's thoughtful story sheds light on the contagious and destructive nature of school bullying, and the power of humor, love, and community to overcome it.

Read more

It gets better: Coming out, overcoming bullying and creating a life worth living

Review by Karen, Health Teacher

It Gets Better is a great compilation of stories about coming out, from a wide variety of contributors, offering a range of diverse perspectives and lived experiences.

Read more

Mind your head

Review by Rachel McLean, Darfield College

Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt.

Read more

My Anxiety handbook: Getting back on track

Reviews by Kiefer Hunt and Kristina Pinto

Co-written with a college student who has experienced anxiety herself, this anxiety survival guide teaches 12 to 18 year olds how they can overcome their biggest worries.

Read more

Nobody! A story about overcoming bullying in school

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

With support from friends, classmates, and adults, Thomas starts to feel more confident in himself and his hobbies, while Kyle learns the importance of kindness to others.

Read more

Real friends

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Author Shannon Hale and New York illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends—and why it's worth the journey.

Read more

Starving the anger gremlin: A cognitive behavioural therapy workbook on anger management for young people

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This imaginative workbook shows young people how to starve their anger gremlin and control their anger effectively.

Read more

Stick up for yourself: Every kid's guide to personal power and positive self-esteem

Review by Datoka Shute

Questions from real kids are paired with answers about how to handle specific situations calmly, confidently, and effectively.

Read more

The survival guide to bullying: Written by a teen

Review by Neeve Edwards-Brown, Avonside Girls High School

Author, Aija Mayrock, offers guidance as well as different strategies that helped her get through even the toughest of days.

Read more

The big little book of resilience

Review by Ivan Yeo, Information Office, MHF

The Big Little Book of Resilience is about developing flexibility, acceptance and self-compassion when those plans go awry.

Read more

Bully on the bus

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Leroy's teacher introduces him to the adventures in The Big Bad Book of Fairytales, hidden throughout are the clues that Leroy needs to overcome the bus bully's taunts once and for all.

Read more

Turtles all the way down

Review by Sophia Graham, Communications and Marketing Manager, MHF

John Green shares Aza's story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Read more


Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Patricia Polacco has taken up the cause against bullies ever since Thank You, Mr. Falker, and her passion shines through in this powerful story of a girl who stands up for a friend.

Read more

Fairytale fraud: Sibling wars

Review by Deb Marsden, Guidance Counsellor & Secondary School teacher

The traditional Hansel and Gretel tale taught us to not trust strangers and to not disobey our parents, but Kate Pye has twisted the tale to teach different morals and life lessons.

Read more

How do I feel? A dictionary of emotions for children

Review by Anna Mowat who works as part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign in Otautahi

This emotions dictionary is all about helping children find the words for how they truly feel. Learning to recognise and label our emotions correctly is such an important skill for life.

Read more

The boys in the Waka Ama

Review by Charmaine Denney, Early Childhood Teacher and mum to two boys.

This story is a great way to demonstrate and perhaps initiate a discussion on the values of teamwork, dedication, leadership and respecting Aotearoa's cultures.

Read more

“Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!”