Reading is not only one of my favorite coping skills, but also one of my favorite interventions with kids in therapy. Reading storybooks out loud to children is a wonderful and gentle way to normalize issues that they are facing, comfort them, give them attention, and instill hope that their problem won’t last forever. I cherish the moment a child’s eye widen with hope when they see themselves in a story; the moment they realize they are not alone if a real book exists about the same problem. What a gift to know you are not the only one struggling and that others have overcome exactly what you’re facing.
Here’s a few of my favorite story books that address hard issues in gentle ways:
You’ve Got Dragons – A boy talks about dealing with and overcoming “dragons”, a purposely vague problem that lends itself to mental health issues like depression and anxiety, hard changes in life like divorce or moving, or even just the heartache of growing up. We often expand the “dragon” theme into an art activity and working metaphor for the issues we are working on in counseling.
Jack’s Worry – A wonderfully illustrated book about how a young boy learns to understand and overcome his overwhelming feelings of anxiety. This simple and yet powerful book appeals to both young and older children dealing with anxiety.
Living with Mom and Living with Dad – The pain of missing a parent can be a taboo topic for kids of divorce to bring up with their mom or dad. This sweet book gives words to the mixed feelings that come up and validates a child’s sense of self during transitions in living arrangements and family structure. Reading this with your child will give them permission to open up about feelings and thoughts they may otherwise feel they need to protect you from knowing. The book includes large flaps to lift that encourages engagement.
Do you like to read too? Do you have a moving story you love to read to your children? I’m always on the lookout for more books to add to my collection.