As parents and educators, we often struggle with responding to certain complex situations in a child’s life. For instance, what do we say to a child when she/he loses a loved one? Or, how do we sensitize our students to a child with special needs? Using books in these kinds of difficult situations have proven to be surprisingly effective. Through these stories – both real and fictional – children tend to realize that these are common challenges faced by others and that they aren’t alone in their experiences. It also helps widen their perspectives on a range of issues. At Hippocampus, we have actively been promoting ‘Bibliotherapy’ – the act of healing through books – and found that it works wonders.
Here are 5 incredible books that will sensitize children to what may commonly be perceived as different, and also help them through rough times.
1. Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus (ages 3-5)
Typically, late bloomers experience some amount of insecurity. Here’s a moving tale that will bring comfort and joy to all of them.
2. The Lonely King and Queen by Deepa Balsavar (ages 5-7)
In India, we tend to bury facts around a child’s adoption, which we know now is not the best approach. This important book leads the reader to discover what ‘family’ really means without mystifying adoption. It also reaffirms the right of every child to be loved and to have a home.
3. The Tenth Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst (ages 5-9)
What do you say to a child who has just lost a pet? Here’s a touching story of how a little boy copes with the death of his pet cat with the support of his family. This is a great book to initiate a discussion on loss.
4. Ian’s Walk by Laurie Lears (ages 7-9)
This is a beautifully illustrated book that portrays the nature of autism in a realistic and sensitive manner. A fantastic read-aloud book that should find a prominent place in your library!
5. Wonder by R J Palacio (ages 9-12)
All 10-year-old August wishes for is to be treated normally. With facial deformities that don’t allow him to blend into the crowd, August faces a lot of difficulties in his first year of being enrolled into a private school. A brave book that will give strength to any child who seeks acceptance.