Books for counselors of all ages

This summer I co-taught a course for international school counselors at the CTC. We asked the participants to share some of their favorite resources. Below are books that were recommended with their commentaries:

Elementary School Level

  • Our school, in the elementary level, uses Kelso’s Choices as guidance for problem solving and conflict resolution. It provides students, especially younger students, with some strategies that help in social situations or conflict resolution.
  • Guided gratitude journals like this work better than just saying, ‘go journal.’ 
  • Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell is a great book that can be read to ES students. It encourages discussion around positive thinking, values, anti-bullying, etc. The children really enjoy the book and the discussions/learning that follows.
  • I used to be afraid
  • What Do You Do With a Problem?
  • Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands by Tamara Levitt (from …
  • Julia Cook’s books — Her ‘bibliotherapy’ type books are unbelievable tools for counsellors, teachers, and parents! A must to add to your collection and or your school’s SEL library section. New releases: Bubble Gum Brain (growth mindset), The Judgemental flower, The Technology Tail. Do visit her facebook page, as well:
  • At the Elementary School, we embrace the growth mindset and it is fascinating to listen to how students tackle a problem and encourage eachother when they have a growth mindset. Although these are not exactly for parents, they are all great books that we use with Elementary students to promote growth mindset.   We have had parents who read these books at home and found it very useful to have conversations about growth mindset with their children.

    Middle school Level
    • I have used the book “Bluish“, by Virginia Hamilton, as a class read aloud resource in my classroom. This novel focuses on a girl of upper elementary school age/early middle school, who is exploring feelings and experiences around being new to school/class, new friendships, family dymanics, and a friend’s illness (leukemia). This book is a useful segue for discussions about transitioning schools, how to fit in, making new friends, being ‘different” and how these experiences apply in an international school setting. 
    • “The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School — Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More” by Haley Kilpatrick
    • A book I used to read aloud to my class each year is the Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I have a few copies in my office that I regularly lend to students. You can find a breif description and great quotes from the book here 

    High School


    All Levels

    • I would recommend the book NFI: An Inclusive Toolkit by William Powell and Ochan Kusuma-Powell.  It is available on, but if your school is a member of NFI (Next Frontier Inclusion), you can download it for free.  Go to the NFI website and check if your school is a member.  If you don’t know your username or password, check with your Learning Support teacher or write directly to NFI.  The chapter titled Typcal High Incidence Populations in International Schools is an especially useful resource when talking to parents about their child, special needs, and service delivery.  There is a definition of each along with information about diagnosis, educational needs and service delivery options.


    • One book I use with parents is the STEP Parent’s Handbook.  There is a general one, young children, and teenagers edition.  It basically uses positive discipline approach based on Adler.  It is written in easy to read language that is good for parents of differing English levels. Also good for parent workshops.


    Counselors and teachers