This is what we have to offer you today in the aftermath of the inexplicable. Come. Open a book. Start to read. Hold them close and revisit old friends together; Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, Arthur, The Little Engine That Could.
Or stay at home and do the same. Find the books in the bookcase with the dog-eared pages and the tell-tale bite marks on the spine; the ones you can probably recite without looking at the pages. Choose the one with the coffee ring on the cover for having been on the bedside table every night.
Favorite stories are steadfast old friends to count on in times of trouble.
It is clear from the resources we have gathered below that one of the best things we can all do is simply reassure children that many people – their family, their teachers, their neighbors, the people at day care or church or the library love and care about them and are looking out for their safety.
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. ”Yes, Piglet?” ”Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Professional Advice about Helping Children Cope with Violence and Tragic Events:
- The Fred Rogers Company: Tragic Events
- The Fred Rogers Company: Dealing With Death
- Video: Fred Rogers Talks About Tragic Events in the News
- El Señor Rogers: Cómo ayudar a los niños con acontecimientos trágicos en las noticias
- Sesame Street: Traumatic Experiences (Includes Activities)
- Children’s BBC Video: Advice if You Are Upset By the News
- KidsHealth: How to Talk to Your Child About the News
- Common Sense Media: Explaining the News to Kids
- Child Mind: Helping Children Cope After a Traumatic Event
- Laura Bush’s Letter to Elementary School Students, September 12, 2001
- The National Institute of Health: Coping With Trauma after Violence and Disasters
- PBS Arthur Special Program: Helping Our Children Feel Safe
- National Association of School Psychologists: Helping Children Cope with Loss, Death & Grief
While favorite stories are comforting and familiar, you may find that it would be helpful to read a book together that helps your child understand feeling afraid or anxious; or answers questions he or she might have about death. Below are several children’s books that address separation anxiety, fear and grief. These are just a small sampling to show you the kinds of books that are available. Also listed are some parenting books about helping a child cope with anxiety. Click on any book jacket to go directly to the online catalog to make a request with your IndyPL Library Card, or visit any of our branch locations. IndyPL librarians would be happy to help you find books like these. NOTE: The first two titles, Owl Babies and The Kissing Hand, you can watch right now online – no waiting. Both are about learning to cope with separation anxiety.
Watch Right Now: Owl Babies – Three baby owls panic when they awaken one night and find their mother gone, worrying about what has happened to her and becoming frightened by all the scary things that surround them in the dark. Print, eBook, en español
Watch Right Now: The Kissing Hand – When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him. Print, eBook, en español
The Breaking News – When devastating news rattles a young girl’s community, her normally attentive parents and neighbors are suddenly exhausted and distracted. At school, her teacher tells the class to look for the helpers-the good people working to make things better in big and small ways. She wants more than anything to help in a BIG way, but maybe she can start with one small act of kindness instead … and then another, and another. Small things can compound, after all, to make a world of difference. Print
The Invisible String – When Liza and Jeremy run to their mother during a scary storm, she comforts them by telling them about the Invisible String, which connects people who love each other no matter where they are and means that they are never alone. Print
City Dog, Country Frog – In spring, when City Dog runs free in the country for the first time, he spots Country Frog sitting on a rock, waiting for a friend. “You’ll do,” Frog says, and together they play Country Frog games. In summer, they meet again and play City Dog games. Through the seasons, whenever City Dog visits the country he runs straight for Country Frog’s rock. In winter, things change for City Dog and Country Frog. Come spring, friendship blooms again, a little different this time. Print
I Miss You – Explores the difficult issue of death for young children. Feelings and questions about this sensitive subject are looked at in a simple but realistic way. Written by a psychotherapist and counselor this book helps children to understand their loss and to come to terms with their feelings. Print, eBook
Love, Hugs & Hope – Helps children identify feelings that overwhelm them with anxiety and despair. Explains that sometimes bad things happen and good people are hurt. Children feel fear, sadness, and anger. The book teaches that there are ways of dealing with these emotions and helps children reaffirm fundamental truths about the world. Print
Remembering Crystal – Zelda is a young duck that lives in the garden. Her friend Crystal is a turtle who is growing old. The two do many things together. One day Crystal is not in the garden. But friendship never dies. Print
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm – When little Mica is frightened by a storm, her father tells her the story of a rhino who was feeling lost and alone, until he learns that with the love of family and friends, there will always be help during tough times. eBook
Snowflakes Fall – In this illustrated poem in honor of the victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, falling snowflakes celebrate the uniqueness of life, its precious, simple moments, and the strength of memory. Print, eBook
Tear Soup – A modern-day fable, told in a richly illustrated children’s book format, about a woman who has suffered a terrible loss. Grandy has just suffered a big loss in her life, so she is cooking up a batch of “tear soup,” in which the ingredients are parts of the grieving process, including memories, misgivings, feelings, and tears. Print
What To Do When You’re Scared and Worried – Why do we have worries and fears? — Fears after something bad has happened — Fears of people, animals, and situations — Worries about being away from your parents : separation anxiety — Thoughts and behaviors you can’t stop — Worrying all the time — Panic, feeling you are going crazy or about to die — How to control your worries and fears — When fears and worries will not go away — For parents : helping your children cope with worries and fears. Print, eBook
When Bad Things Happen: A Guide to Help Kids Cope – Truly bad things happen in life. And while we cannot shelter children from every hurt and harm, we can reassure them that they will always be loved and cared for. We can teach children the skills needed for coping with life’s biggest challenges and changes. And we can restore children’s trust that life, after all, is good. eBook
Freeing Your Child From Anxiety – Written by an expert in the field of childhood anxiety disorders, this indispensable guide is for parents looking for safe, proven methods for reducing childhood anxiety. Dr. Chansky shows them how to teach their child to successfully deal with stress and face the challenges and uncertainties of life. This resource is a CD but is also available as a Print, eBook
Growing Up Brave – The author, a childhood anxiety expert, helps parents identify and understand anxiety in their children, outlines effective and convenient parenting techniques for reducing anxiety, and shows parents how to promote bravery for long-term confidence. Print
More FREE Online Reading:
- All Ready to Read Booklists – links to free online books, activities and more ideas to talk, sing, read, write and play at home!
- Storytime Online – 100 Free Video Read Alouds
- 500+ Free Video Read Alouds & eBooks for Kids with an iPad
- Download and Stream for Kids – Free with your indyPL Library Card.