by Katrina Morse for Family Reading Partnership
Books can be a great comfort. If your child is worried, anxious, sad, mad, or confused, there is most likely a children’s book that can help give information and reassurance. This is the world of bibliotherapy – using books to learn healthy ways of coping with difficult situations.
Sitting together and reading a book, any book you both love, is comfort in itself. Giving your child your full attention by sharing a story together shows that you care.
Your children may be worried about the current spread of Coronavirus, confused if your family is going through a divorce, or anxious if someone close to them is facing a cancer diagnosis. Reading about difficult topics will give your child the right amount of information in age-appropriate language so they can feel more in control of a situation.
Sharing a story can also give you both the opportunity to talk about your child’s feelings and find ways to feel more at ease. Learning the words needed to talk about emotions is just as important as learning facts.
Here are some picture book recommendations that cover a few topics, but look for the books that address your child’s concerns. Read the book by yourself first and see if it is a good choice for the circumstances. Reading the physical copy of a book is the coziest way to read together, but you can also find many books read aloud on YouTube, if you’d like to watch with your child, as another way to share a story.
“Cutie Sue Fights the Germs” by Kate Melton, illustrated by Ira Baykovuka. Book 2 in a series, a brave young girl fights germs with lessons she learns from her doctor about personal hygiene and staying healthy. Rhyming text tells the story of Sue and her brother recovering from tummy aches.
“Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere,” by Kira Willey, illustrated by Ani Betts. Whatever your child’s worries, these strategies for calming down with simple breathing and movements will be useful. Once learned, you and your child can practice them whenever needed.
“Two Homes” by Claire Masurel, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. When parents are divorcing, family life changes. This book doesn’t go into the adult reasons for divorce, but instead tells a child-centered story about how life is different living in two households. Life is also the same because each parent always loves their child.
“The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. Imagine there is always a connection with a loved one, even if there is a physical separation. With an invisible string, no one is ever alone. This is a reassuring story to help children overcome separation anxiety.
“Cancer Hates Kisses” by Jessica Sliwerski, illustrated by Mika Song. Written by a mom who was diagnosed with breast cancer when her daughter was a baby, this book tells about treatment and the side-effects in an upbeat way. How can children help a parent with cancer? By giving kisses and their love.
BOOKS FOR FAMILIES: The Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes supports area families when a parent or loved one is affected by cancer through their program “CRC Cares About Families.” Through this program families can receive a choice of a book for a child or teen and a resource packet. For more information visit http://www.crcfl.net.