In its most basic sense, Bibliotherapy is the use of books (biblio) to initiate and facilitate in the healing process (therapy). As early as the 1800's the therapeutic benefits of books have been acknowledged by those in the medical field.
Let's face it, life can be hard...especially for kids. Each developmental stage brings new challenges in dealing with emotions and life situations. Books for kids can help!
Approaching a difficult topic of conversation through the avenue of a character in a book or story, makes it less threatening. It can also help a child see life from a new perspective. Books open the door for empathy and shared experiences.
When working as a school librarian, other educators would often ask for book recommendations for certain students dealing with self image challenges such as a speech impediment, weight problem, bullying, etc.
Reading about someone else's experience with the same difficulty or a book that brings humor to a topic, can really help a child learn to open up and lighten up on their view of themselves.
Here are a few I have loved over the years:
We all need to be assured of being love and that we matter. Books for kids are a wonderful bibliotherapy tool to fill this well of need. A few of my favorites include:
We've all probably heard - "To have a friend, you have to be a friend." What does being a good friend look like? The following children's books have characters that model how to be a friend and how to accept others who may be different from you.
Not all families look alike; this can be troubling for children. Whether a child is facing a divorce along with their parents, navigating through the foster care system or just becoming a big sister or brother, bibliotherapy can bring comfort and clarity to otherwise confusing situations.
Controlling our emotions is difficult even for us as adults. Children however have not developed the ability to identify and manage emotions. Using children's books as an avenue to address and teach coping tools is a beautiful benefit of bibliotherapy.
No matter what age a child may be, loss can be a confusing and difficult situation to navigate.
Children's books and stories can become a shared experience helping a child not feel alone in their grief. The characters can help a child step out of their own emotions to the perspective of those in the story.