Books can be wonderful tools to use with children who have experienced trauma or loss. Reading (or being read to) and talking with adults can help them understand and cope with their feelings in a developmentally appropriate way. Reading also offers a great way to spend time with a child, reinforce a sense of normalcy and security, and connect with them, all of which are important to recovery from a traumatic experience.
Tips from the National Association of School Psychiatrists for using books to engage with children parents and caregivers after a tragedy or loss:
- Let the characters and story help your child understand how to cope. Discuss ways to feel less anxious or nervous about what is happening.
- Be willing to answer your child’s questions simply, at their level of understanding.
- Let them know that it is normal to cry, feel scared, or want comfort during difficult times. Provide them with opportunities for that emotional closeness, as needed.
- Remind children that you, the caregiver/parent are there for them, and that you are always willing to help them when times are difficult.
- Use the power of ritual to help teach children how people in your family or social group remember those who have died.
- Encourage children to identify simple plans of action to take each day to reengage in normal activities with others.
- Help children develop simple ways to remember good things about those who have died. They might share a story, draw pictures, or remember occasions that they enjoyed with the person(s) who have died.
- Let children know that they are loved and cared for. Reach out to other family members or close friends who could also support your children.
Dealing with Loss, Grief, and Trauma Booklist – Complied by the Vermont Department of Libraries
ALSC booklists for Tough Topics - Includes resources for young people and for parents
- Tough Topics - Inspiring Conversations in Difficult Times Grades K-2
- Tough Topics – Inspiring Conversations in Difficult Times Grades 3-5
- Tough Topics – Inspiring Conversations in Difficult Times Grades 6-8
Overview and Guide to Using the Free Resources Available from The Vermont Department of Libraries
We’re offering the two titles: “Hey Kiddo” and “The Grief Card Game” to libraries in Vermont. This winter, we’ll offer a panel discussion on how librarians can connect families with resources on grief and loss, and guide them on ways to use the materials at home. If you’d like these titles sent to you please complete this form.
Hey, Kiddo is the autobiographical story of author and artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka, who was born of a drug addicted mother and subsequently raised by his old fashioned but genuinely loving grandparents. It is a story of loss but also of the tenacity of the human spirit and the importance of a strong support system around us.
Using Graphic Novels In Education: Hey, Kiddo - This resource has a comprehensive list of activities, lessons and related content as well as connections to the common core curriculum.
The Grief Game -Contains 99 cards and focuses on the specific problem or concerns of children. Includes:-33 Talking cards-33 Feeling cards-33 Doing cards-4-sided die-100 Chips-Instructions Recommended for ages 6-12
This card game is designed to help children talk about and work through grief with a counselor or parent. Through play children will be prompted to reveal the issues in their minds. Part of the Talking, Feeling and Doing Game Collection, this game can be played alone or in conjunction with the board game.
*Because of the therapeutic nature of this game, we don't recommend using it in library programming. It is better suited for families or trained counselors to check-out.*