United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3: GOOD HEALTH & WELL-BEING

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

[Benjamin Farr, Kambala Church of England Girls’ School, Sydney, Australia]

Good health and well-being is a fundamental goal that ensures a happy and healthy world community. 

The main focus of SDG 3 is to ensure that there is worldwide public access to proper healthcare for all people by 2030. This can be achieved through such actions as reducing infant/maternal mortality, managing outbreaks of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and COVID-19 and by lowering road fatalities. Increased access to sexual healthcare is fundamental, as is access to mental health care. 


From My Window: Children At Home During COVID-19 by the United Nations (2020)

An excellent and timely resource from the United Nations which can be purchased as an official printed copy— or read free online.


Priya’s Mask by Shubhra Prakash (2020) / United Nations

India’s first female superhero goes on a mission to promote mask wearing in order to stop the spread of Covid-19, in this latest edition to the graphic novel series, started by Ram Devineni in 2014 in response to the problem of gender and sexual violence in India. Other titles in the series include: Priya and the Lost Girls, Priya’s Mirror, Priya’s Shakti, Priya’s Fairy Tales, and Super Sheroes.

Free downloads of the text, available in English, Hindi, Urdu, Kannada, Malayalam, Telegu, Tamil, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish, as well as teachers’ notes, can be found on the website: https://www.priyashakti.com/priyas-mask


My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart (2020) / Australia

Melbourne-based author/illustrator Scott Stuart has created this empowering and self-affirming book about love, acceptance, self-awareness and teaching children to accept people for who they are.

“Coming home from childcare one day, [my son] was completely distraught from being bullied because he had an Elsa doll. That night I started writing the book behind this film, and started envisioning this on screen.” — Scott Stuart (quoted in this news article about the inspiration behind the story).


Respect by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy (2020) / Australia

This gorgeous picture book teaches children about Australian Aboriginal culture through gentle reminders about the importance of respecting ourselves and others. Highly recommended for ages 2+ – a great resource to teach students about other cultures.


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Sick Bay by Nova Weetman (2019) / Australia

An excellent book to share with students who try to ‘escape’ situations by taking themselves off to the School Nurse.

In this lovely story for younger readers (age 10+), Meg uses Sick Bay to hide from other children. The book explores the struggles she has with home life and the reasons behind her wanting to use the Nurse as an escape.


Small Things by Mel Tregonning (2016) / Australia

A heartbreaking, yet incredibly beautiful, picture book that looks at anxiety and the little things that chip away at a child’s mental health wellbeing. This complex picture book for older readers has a tragic backstory; the creator committed suicide before finishing the book and the award-winning author/illustrator Shaun Tan, who brought Mel Tregonning to publishers’ attention, helped complete it (read more here).


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Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts (2013) / Australia

This Australian novel (ages 15+) follows the lives of Zac and Mia as they endure a long, grueling leukemia treatment. The book explores the emotions of (sick) teenagers, including themes of love, angst, despair and hope. Highly recommend!


The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim (2019) / Australia

A wonderful novel by Chinese-American author Wai Chim that explores the impact of mental illness on families and the ways young people cope when family members are experiencing trauma and illness.


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Honeybee by Craig Silvey (2020 / Australia

The latest book by the award-winning young adult author of Jasper Jones (2009), Honeybee is the story of a transgender teen who, through a chance encounter, has a second chance at life (suitable for ages 15+).

“Honeybee is a tender, profoundly moving novel brimming with vivid characters and luminous words. It’s about two lives forever changed by a chance encounter — one offering hope, the other redemption. It’s about when to persevere, and when to be merciful, as Sam learns when to let go, and when to hold on.”  [book blurb]


Clementine Ford fearlessly poses the most fundamental of questions: ‘How do I raise my son to respect women and give them equal space in the world? How do I make sure he’s a supporter and not a perpetrator?’ in this excellent look at toxic masculinity and the effect it has on young women/teenagers (ages 15+).


A wonderful book for ages 15+ by an Australian journalist, broadcaster, and writer who talks about mental health and the ways we can look for beauty in a world that is sometimes challenging, drawing upon her personal experience with a life-threatening illness.


Benjamin Farr is a high school teacher-librarian based in Sydney, Australia. He worked at Tanglin Trust School (Singapore) for 12.5 years as Head of Infant Library before moving back to Sydney to take up a teacher librarian role at Kambala (Rose Bay, Sydney). He is passionate about reading and ensuring that students have access to books that they can see themselves represented in. (Twitter handle: @bjflibrarian)


Note: all the books highlighted during this month of SDGs can be found on this GLLI Goodreads shelf.

What are your favorite books for SDG Goal 3: Good Health & Well-Being? Please share them in the comments. Let’s make this a conversation and work on the goal together.

3 thoughts on “United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3: GOOD HEALTH & WELL-BEING

  1. A nonfiction book for upper primary/ middle school – Invisible Enemies: A handbook on pandemics that have shaped our world by Hwee Goh

    Book from Singapore with information about pandemics throughout history including COVID19. Very readable.

    Liked by 1 person

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