Advocacy & Support for

Borderline Personality Disorder
& Complex Trauma

Children's Books

Listed below are some books that may be helpful in explaining the mental illness of a parent or other adult to young children.

Many do not actually specify mental illness.  Instead they use analogies children can easily understand.

They are not listed in any particular order.

The Weather House: Living with a Parent with Borderline Personality Disorder by Lisa Laporte, PhD and Ronald Fraser M.D.

This book provides clinically sound and age-appropriate information for children, answering questions about the borderline personality disorder of a parent, and suggesting ways to cope with the difficult situations.

Through analogies of weather patterns, the book provides psycho-educational comments by a “weather wiz” who explains the mother’s sometimes strange behaviours that can be challenging to comprehend.

The wonderful illustrations help with the understanding, and lighten the story with humour. This book will help teach children to better understand what is happening at home and how not to feel responsible for their parents’ stormy times.

We have a limited number of copies for sale AU$35.00 inc GST + P&H within Australia).  Please email us to purchase.  This book may alternatively be ordered from pdan (Personality Disorders Awareness Network USA)

Meltdown Moments By Anne Sved-Williams and Marnie Jonsson-Harrison

In some families, mental health difficulties can be at the heart of more frequent meltdowns. Borderline personality disorder is one of the conditions which can cause such emotional spillovers. This book provides not only the picture story to help children understand a bit better about what is going on for mum – or maybe dad – but also some information from the author of the story, Dr Anne Sved-Williams.

Anne is a psychiatrist who has been working with mothers with mental health difficulties for 30 years and has a passionate interest in helping the whole family – infant, small children, mum, dad and maybe the grandparents as well.

Book available for purchase from Women's & Children's Hospital Foundation

Millie the Cat has borderline personality disorder

Millie the Cat has Borderline Personality Disorder is a picture book that takes a unique look at the positive and negative characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder. Meeting kind Mille you get to experience how her day to day routine is, the aspects that she will have to cope with, the amazing personality traits that she has, and how she can learn new skills to be the best cat she can be. It is written in such a way that the BPD is explained in a realistic balanced light.  Also available via a youtube clip.


You Can't Hide An Elephant - book 1 (Ages 7-12) by Sally Halligan

This  illustrated book is used as supported reading for children with a parent with a diagnosed mental illness.

The book encourages the 'elephant in the room' or the stigma of mental illness, to be discussed openly in an age appropriate manner.

A wonderful book for families facing the associated challenges when a parent has a mental illness.

The story is told through the voice of a female middle child.

This book comes with a Safety Plan to complete with appropriate support. The book is the perfect way to start a conversation about mental health, feelings and experiences. It provides hope and guides the development of strategies that will help to empower children.

It is a wonderful resource for therapists, case workers, counsellors, welfare officers, social workers, mental health nurses, group facilitators and parents.

You can't hide an elephant - book 2 (Ages 7-12) by Sally Halligan

A Children's Book About Family Violence

This book is designed to be used as supported reading for children who have experienced family violence. The book is a wonderful way to start a conversation about family violence in an age appropriate manner.

It also helps children voice their feelings about their personal experience.

The story is told through the voice of the eldest boy, and identifies situations that children may face when someone in the family has been using violence.

Children readily identify with the boy's feelings, which are conveyed thoughtfully within the text and illustrations.

The book comes with a Safety Plan to complete and is 'must have' resource for therapists, case workers, group facilitators, refuge workers, welfare officers and parents.

These books may be purchased direct from the Victorian author: website or email

Big and Me by David Miller (age 7+)

Big and Small are machines that work together as a team. ‘But some days Big goes a bit wobbly, and I get a lot worried.’ Big malfunctions in a variety of ways and Small tries to help with the assistance of The Boss and Mechanic.

The story is a metaphor for a child living with an adult who suffers from mental illness. Big and Me is dramatically illustrated with paper sculpture.

A youtube trailer is available on the publisher's website.  

ISBN: 978-1-876462-69-7

Ford Street Publishing, Melbourne.

The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside

Children often worry about a range of different things, and whilst as adults we may dismiss them, they can grow larger and more prolific if there isn ’ t an opportunity to talk about them, dissect
them, and push them away. Of course, at night, for all of us, worries can become magnified, and then they may shrink in size in the morning light.
This beautifully illustrated book, targeted for primary school aged children, can appeal to all ages. The visual descriptions and explanation about how worries grow and multiply is very clear and understandable for children and the young at heart!

Publisher Hachette Children's, 2011
ISBN 1444902725, 9781444902723


Between you and me (for children 8 – 12 years) and Let’s talk About ‘It’ (for parents).......

... a colourful 44 page ‘flip’ book, so two books in one. It describes mental illnesses, some myths, what helps and much more, in clear simple language. It includes art and messages from children who have learnt about mental illness by attending a group called CHAMPS. Parents’ comments and activities are also included.

The aim for this book is to encourage children and parents to talk more, ask more questions and find some answers about mental illness. This book was developed in 2015 by FaPMI at Mid West Area Mental Health Service (MWAMHS) with the contributions of many people.

To obtain copies of this book please contact: Mid West Area Mental Health Service, FaPMI Coordinator 4a Devonshire Rd, Sunshine 3020 (03) 9288 7000 or email

In My Corner On the Moon by Rachel Rashkin-Shoot (age 11+)

This book is intended for children and adolescents who have experienced some form of trauma.

Narrated by 12-year-old Abigail, the book is written in a straightforward but gentle style and has a strong psycho-educational component.

The idea is to normalize the response that many children have to overwhelming events in their lives. Through Abigail’s story, trauma is put into simple terms that kids can understand and it’s done without delving into details of her own or any specific trauma, but focusing instead on responses to trauma and the healing process that follows.

Interactive questions at the end of each page encourage discussion among children and the trusted adults in their lives.

Book may be ordered from Unhooked Books or is available as an ebook from Amazon, Apple, Nook etc

An Umbrella for Alex by Rachel Rashkin-Shoot

This book narrates a young boy’s journey as he attempts to understand and cope with his mother’s abrupt mood swings. Written to be read with a therapist, parent, or other trusted adult, the story of Alex reassures affected children that they did not cause and are not responsible for the volatile behavior of their parent.

This book is suitable for both boys and girls, and specifically for children whose mother or father has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder or other mental illness and suffers from mood swings.

Book may be ordered from Unhooked Books or is available as an ebook from Amazon, Apple, Nook etc

My Happy Sad Mummy by Michelle Vasiliu (2014) - Preschool

Author Michelle Vasiliu draws from her own experience of bipolar disorder, cleverly and humorously portraying the emotional roller coaster of this illness, as a young child might perceive it and how through these difficulties, the bond of love between mother and child remains true. A fantastic picture book and invaluable resource for parents, teachers and health professionals.

JoJo Publishing.

ISBN10 0987358596 - ISBN13 9780987358592

Preview available on YouTube

Happy Pants – Why is Mummy so sad? by Heather Gallagher 

When Mummy wears her happy pants we build sandcastles, go out for baby cinos and have lots and lot of cuddles.

But when she comes home with baby Darcy, her happy pants stay in her wardrobe...Postnatal Depression effects 1 in 7 women. Happy Pants is a heartfelt way to help older children know that their mum's postnatal depression is not because of them, that dads are loving and caring, families can support each other and that mum will get better with help

ISBN: 9781921632938 - ISBN-10: 1921632933

Available from Boomerang Books

Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts! by Nicky Johnston

Go AwayMr worrythoughtsBrayden is an intelligent, confident and courageous boy.  Yet, his worry thoughts can be quite unbearable.  See how Brayden discovers his superpowers, takes control and is able to live free and happy.

Age 4-10+ years, 32 page softcover

To order from the author or available via or as an e-Book


Happy Thoughts are Nicky Johnston

Join Brayden's journey as he goes in search of his happy thoughts - you'll never guess where he finds them. 

Age 4-10+ years, 32 page softcover

To order from the author or available via or as an e-Book


The Worry-Tree by Marianne Musgrove

Worry thoughtsJuliet’s a worrywart, and no wonder! Her little sister, Oaf, sings ‘The Irritating Song’ all day, her parents are arguing, and Juliet’s two best friends are jealous of each other. Juliet can’t fit in any more worries!

But behind the wallpaper in her new room, Juliet discovers a painting of a tree. It’s the Worry Tree, and with the help of a duck called Delia and the other Worry Tree animals, Juliet might be able to solve some of life’s big problems.

Paperback ISBN: 9781742757421

What to Do when You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety by Dawn Huebner

Teaches school-age children cognitive-behavioral techniques to reduce and overcome anxiety, fears, and worry, through writing and drawing activities and self-help exercises and strategies. Includes introduction for parents.

Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change.

ISBN: 9781591473145
ISBN-10: 1591473144

Whilst every effort has been made to provide a list of preferably Australian resources that are considered to be helpful and recommended, if you come across some that are not please let us know.