It's so hard sometimes to talk to kids about tragedy and how to deal with tough emotions like grief. Picture books can provide a valuable entry point into conversations with young children.
In the wake of the awful tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary I decided to delay the book list I had scheduled for today and instead offer up (what I hope are useful) resources about using picture and chapter books to teach children about empathy and how to deal with grief in tough situations.
- Common Sense Media has a list of chapter and picture books to teach empathy.
- You can find an article at Reading Rockets about ways to use books as teaching tools. The article was written in the aftermath of the Japan and Haiti earthquakes, but the sentiments are easily translated to other situations.
- Humane Education has a list of books with mini-reviews.
- Pragmatic Mom has a list of Top 10 books that teach kids empathy for ages 2-14.
- The Children's Book Review has a few suggestions for books teaching kids compassion.
- Imagination Soup has a list about teaching kids kindness.
- No Time For Flash Cards shares 75 Books that Build Character, Books about Death, and Books about Tough Stuff.
It's not a book list, but at Scholastic you can find a article about Raising a Caring and Compassionate Child.
Some other resources you might find useful include:
- Books about Death for Children at the Barr Harris Children's Grief Center.
- Scholastic has a comprehensive list of Book for Kids Dealing with Grief.
- The CCBC lists 50 Books About Grief and Loss.
- Babble shares 10 Books Explaining Death and Grief
- Play Dr. Mom posts about Books that Can Help Children Grieve
- At Children's Books that Heal you can find reviews of books and activities to aid discussions.
- At Susannah Leonard Hill's blog you can find a master list of picture books with titles under categories like "emotions" and "grief and loss."
- View Cheryl Rainfield's list of books to help children deal with trauma
- School Library Journal has a list of Books to help kids deal with tragedy
Hug your children tight, read them a book and practice compassion.