This past semester, I had the great fortunate of working with a group of Child Life Specialists. These people are the liaisons between hospitals/doctors and families when children are preparing to undergo procedures or treatments. They have a strong understanding of both the medical system and child development. I taught a Children’s Literature course for this group with a focus on using books to help children understanding their conditions/treatment; educate other children about conditions/treatment; provide comfort and connections for children dealing with medical issues; and provide entertainment and escape for children undergoing treatments. The books in my #nf10for10 are the books we discovered together.
Michael Rosen's Sad Book
The book is an honest and direct look at how grief can impact the daily life of a person. The author lost his son and his mother and there are days he is sad. His simple sentences and watercooler images show how the sadness feels to him. However, there is hope as he realized his memories are comforting and grief, over time, is less painful. It sounds like a heavy topic for a children’s book, but with so much tragedy in the world, it provides children with identifiable situations and words and the hope of eventual healing.
Luis Carlos Montalvan, Bret Witter
Through the voice of the dog and using actually photos, this book shows how a service dog provides assistance and comfort for a real veteran soldier through his activities of daily living including getting ready for the day, using public transportation, and eating at a restaurant. It provides context for the use of service dogs and helps children understand the “hidden” disability of PTSD.
Why Are You So Scared? A Child's Book about Parents with PTSD
Beth Andrews, Katherine Kirkland
Having a parent with PTSD can be scary and confusing. This book helps children identify the behaviors they notice when their parents are struggling with PTSD – such as anger, depression, panic attacks etc. It emphasizes that the parent’s mood and behavior is NOT the child’s fault and provides some suggestions on how the child can react to the scary behaviors of the parent.
This is more fiction than non-fiction, but it helps explain to children about fear and anxiety. Fear can be paralyzing, and the squirrel in this story is afraid of anything outside of his nest. He imagines a lot of horrible things that could happen if he would leave his comfort zone. But, when he accidently loses his emergency kit, he goes after it and discovers that “the unknown” is not so bad. There is a whole series of Scaredy Squirrel books – At Night; At a Party; Making a Friend. Plus, a fun website http://www.scaredysquirrel.com/default.html
My Book for Kids With Cansur: A Child's Autobiography of Hope
This older title, written when the author was young and diagnosed with cancer, the book uses children’s drawing to talk about cancer and treatments, along with the fears of having cancer. It is a nice model to use to help children write/draw through some of their own issues.