Books to help guide children through difficult topics

2020 was a challenging time and there are bound to be challenging times ahead so how can we help children understand all the difficult feelings they could be experiencing?

Fear, anxiety, loss, and confusion can be difficult to guide a child through so we have found five books that could help parents and guardians talk about these difficult emotions with their kids.

If you have any personal recommendations for books dealing with tough issues, please let us know in the comments.

 

A graphic novel that talks about that claustrophobic feeling of being stuck or trapped in one place.

“Omar and his brother Hassan, two Somali boys, have spent a long time in the Dadaab refugee camp. Separated from their mother, they are looked after by a friendly stranger. Life in the camp isn’t always easy. The hunger is constant . . . but there’s football to look forward to, and now there’s a chance Omar will get to go to school . . .

With a heart-wrenching fairytale ending, this incredible true story is brought to life by Victoria’s stunning illustrations. This book perfectly depicts life in a refugee camp for 8-12 year olds.”

A sweet picture book dealing with aspects of life and death.

“As the seasons change, so too does a young Hmong girl’s world. She moves into a new home with her family and encounters both birth and death. As this curious girl explores life inside her house and beyond, she collects bits of the natural world. But who are her treasures for?
A moving picture book debut from acclaimed Hmong American author Kao Kalia Yang.”

A poignant story of how to help someone through grief.

“The Rabbit Listened is a tender meditation on loss. When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs. Whether read in the wake of tragedy or as a primer for comforting others, this is a deeply moving and unforgettable story sure to soothe heartache of all sizes.”

A gentle picture book to help kids understand that fear doesn’t have to hold you back.

“Lots of things at the beach scare Sukie. Lots. Because she is just a small dog, and the stairs are big and sandy, and the waves are big and whooshy, and the balls are big and beachy. And besides, there might be lobsters. With endearing illustrations and a perfectly paced text that captures a timid pup’s looping thoughts, here is a funny and honest read-aloud about how overwhelming the world can be when you’re worried — and how empowering it is to overcome your fears when it matters the most.”

A loveable story reminding us all that we are all struggling with something and to be empathetic.

“Each act, big or small, can make a difference – or at least help a friend.

What does it mean to be kind? When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it means to be kind. From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving and thoughtful story explores what a child can do to be kind.

With award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller’s gentle text and Jen Hill’s irresistible art, Be Kind is an unforgettable story about how simple acts can change the world.”

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