Monday, February 26, 2018

Helping Children Deal with Tragedy Through Books

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Recently, Penguin Books sent us a new release to preview. The book, Come With Me, by Holly M. McGhee and illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre is a touching story about a little girl who sees tragedy in the news and struggles to deal with it. In light of the recent tragedy in Parkland and the general climate in our country, it's a book that can truly help children cope with tragedy. Find out how we're using this book in our home to deal with the emotions that have been brought to the surface with my elementary school student.

Image via Shutterstock
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Author Holly M. McGhee and illustrator Pascal Lemaitre say this of the book. "Come with me is written in honor of friendship, bravery, and the fact that we aren't powerless, no matter how small and insignificant we may feel." When dealing with tragedies that affect our tiny humans, bibliotherapy, (that is using books to address heavy emotions or big issues), can be very beneficial.
Come With Me can be used with children in a variety of ways. Here are some of them:
Write Letters to Survivors
When the students at Sandy Hook were preparing to return back to the school, the PTO asked for people to send in decorated snowflakes so that they could cover the walls in a winter wonderland of support and encouragement for the students. We sent in a large envelope full of snowflakes. Now, a teacher from Stoneman Douglas High School has asked people to send letters for students when they return back to classes this week. We are sending an envelope of letters from our family and friends. If you would like to participate, you can send your letters to:  
Diane Wolk-Rogers
Stoneman Douglas High School
5901 NW Pine Island Road
Parkland, FL 33076

Do a Random Act of Kindness
Like in the book, children can do something to brighten the spirits of those around them. Earlier this year, a group of us got together at our elementary school and the kids decorated the sidewalk an porch to welcome students back to school. You can find more ideas on random acts of kindness kids can do here.

Make Kindness Rocks
Spread love around your community by painting rocks with fun pictures or empowering sayings and placing them where people can find around your community. You can find more information on the Kindness Rocks movement here.

Write Letters to Community Service Members or Military Members
There are so many people in action in our communities that help those living there. These are people such as teachers, librarians, police, firefighters, emergency room workers, sanitation workers, military members... the list is quite expansive. Children can write thank you letters and/or draw pictures to send to these individuals. Or you can put together a care package for troops using this guide from Operation Gratitude.

Image via Shutterstock

Using books during times of tragedy are a great way to help talk children through big emotions. They also provide relatable examples of other kids going through tough things. Using them to inspire healing activities can help kids cope when tough stuff happens.

Other posts that you may find helpful in this issue are:
How to Teach Children to Be Activists

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