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Boreal Community Media

Grand Marais librarian provides book recommendations for helping kids process difficult topics and events

Mar 30, 2023 12:06PM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Suad Kamardeen 

By Laura Durenberger-Grunow - Boreal Community Media - March 30, 2023

Editor's note: this is a follow-up article on how to approach difficult topics and events with kids. You can find the original article here: 
How to talk to kids about difficult topics and events

Talking with kids about difficult events and topics can be challenging. 

According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NAOSP):
"reading (or being read to) and talking with adults can help children 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."

Erika Ternes, librarian at the Grand Marais Public Library, knows books. Specifically, books for kids and youth. 

Boreal Community Media reached out to Ternes to see what book recommendations she had for addressing difficult topics and events with kids of all ages. 

The first thing Ternes suggested as a place to start is Magination Press - a resource from the American Psychological Association. 

The resources available from Magination Press is impressive, and you're sure to find something related to what you're looking for. 

For books specifically on processing difficult events on the news (or in your community), Ternes recommends the following:
  • The Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul
  • What to Do When the News Scares You by Jacqueline B. Toner
  • Most People by Michael Leannah and Jennifer E. Morris
  • Ordinary Terrible Things series by Anastasia Higgenbotham (great for slightly older kids--7 to 10-ish)

For books on identifying and processing grief, Ternes recommends these:
  • Dance Like a Leaf by A. J. Irving
  • The Shared Room by Kao Kalia Yang
  • Dadaji's Paintbrush by Rashmi Sirdeshpande
  • The Pond by Nicola Davies
  • The Forever Sky by Thomas Peacock
  • We Dream Medicine Dreams by Lisa Boivin

For helping tweens and teens delve into loss, trauma, racism, and coming-of-age, Ternes has the following recommendations:
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
  • Ghost by Jason Reynolds
  • Finding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh

NAOSP suggests "letting the characters and story help your child understand how to cope, and open the door to conversations on ways to feel less anxious or nervous about what is happening (or has happened)."
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