What follows is a list of books and other resources for children and adults on a variety topics. The resources for children (organized by reading level) has suggestions of books on handling crises, grief, trauma, terrorism, diversity, war, death of a parent, sibling, or friend. Resources for adults include material on similar topics.
Books for Children
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Viorst, Judith (1987). New York: Aladdin Library. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL)
The author captures Alexander's testy temperament, rendering him sympathetic rather than whiny. The story offers cranky commiseration as well as a reminder that things may not be all that bad.
Cowardly Clyde. Peet, Bill (1984). New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL)
This book teaches that one can be brave when the need arises. The story details risk of life and limb for a friend.
House on the Prairie. Wilder, Laura Ingles (1953).
New York: Harpercollins Juvenile Books. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL)
A very popular book that provides invaluable and unique insight into the trials and tribulations of pioneer Americans. While a child will be interested in these stories because they're entertaining, funny, and even a bit scary sometimes, the book provides valuable history lessons and even some survival techniques.
Oh, the Places You'll Go. Dr. Seuss (1990). New York: Random House. (PRE-SCHOOL LEVEL)
In this ode to life and success, Dr. Seuss's message is simple: life may be a great balancing act but through it all, it is fun.
The Cay. Taylor, Theodore (2002). New York: Yearling Books. (MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL)
The Cay is the story of Phillip, a boy living on the island of Curacao off Venezuela during World War II. As he and his mother are trying to escape the war and head back to their home in Virginia the ship they are riding on sinks. This book gives the reader a better understanding of how a boy learns to confront adversity and survive.
The Creative Journal for Teens. Capacchione, Lucia (2001). Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books. (HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL)
This book helps teenagers express their true feelings and thoughts in the safe, nonjudgmental atmosphere of personal journal-keeping. The author offers teenagers easy techniques for journal writing that enables them to understand their inner most thoughts and express their real selves. They will be able to clarify their goals, visualize their future and achieve self-reliance.
About Trauma, Terrorism, Diversity, and War:
And One For All. T. Nelson (1991). New York: Yearling Books. (ELEMENTARY and MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 9-12)
A book describing the struggle a latency-aged girl goes through dealing with war, peace, and friendship. Geraldine, her older brother Wing, and his best friend Sam swore their eternal friendship back in grade school. But now its 1967, and Wing and Sam are seniors in high school. Wing wants to go into the Marines and go to Vietnam; Sam would rather march for peace. Geraldine is caught in the middle, and longs to keep their pledge of friendship alive despite all their differences.
A Terrible Thing Happened - A Story for Children who ave Witnessed Violence or Trauma. Holmes, M. (2000). Washington D.C.: Magination Press. (PRE-SCHOOL LEVEL and ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 4-8)
This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword by Sasha J. Mudlaff written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.
Charlie Pippin. Boyd, C.D. (1988). New York: Viking Press. (ELEMENTARY and MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 9-12)
A book that deals with themes of war, trauma, and dealing with emotions. A spunky eleven-year-old Charlie hopes to understand her rigid father by finding out everything she can about the Vietnam War, the war that let him survive but killed his dreams.
Dear Daddy… Dupasquier, P. (1985). London: Puffin Books. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL)
This book is a letter from a young daughter to her dad, who is away on a ship, traveling to Asia, for a whole year. The illustrations show what is happening at home and what is happening where Daddy is. It is excellent for children whose parents are away for long periods of time. It could also be used as a springboard for geography discussions.
Feelings. Aliki (1984). New York: Greenwillow Books. (PRE-SCHOOL LEVEL and ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 4-8)
Children often have difficulty articulating emotion. That fact is the underpinning for the author's catalog of feelings, be they happy, sad, or somewhere in between.
Hut School and the Wartime Home-Front Heroes. Burch, R. (1974). New York: Viking Press. (MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL)
Describes the reactions of a sixth grade class in Georgia to World War II and its effect on their lives.
My Daddy Was a Soldier: A World War II Story. D.K. Ray (1990). New York: Holiday House. (PRE-SCHOOL LEVEL and ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 4-8)
A book about a child coping with war. While Jeannie's daddy is away fighting in the Pacific, Jeannie plants a Victory garden, collects scraps to help the war effort, and sends her daddy letters. She awaits his safe return.
My Friends' Beliefs: A Young Reader's Guide to World Religions. Ward, H.H. (1988). New York: Walker and Co. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL AND MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 9-12)
This book teaches latency aged children about global religious beliefs with the underlying aim of helping the reader understand diversity.
The Diary of a Young Girl. Frank, Anne (1997). New York: Bantam Books (MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL)
A classic since its initial publication in 1947. Born in 1929, Anne Frank received a blank diary on her 13th birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Her detailed entries chronicle 25 months of claustrophobic intimacy with her family. The diary's universal appeal stems from its blend of the particulars of life during wartime and candid discussion of emotions familiar to every adolescent.
The Wall. Bunting, E. & Himler, R. (1992). New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. (PRE-SCHOOL LEVEL and ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 4-8)
The book tells a story about a father-and-son visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Themes of the book include memory and loss.
When Will the Fighting Stop? A Child's View of Jerusalem. Morris, A. & Rivlin, L. (1990). New York: Athenaeum. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL AND MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 9-12)
Readers follow Mishkin, a young Jewish boy, as he wanders through the quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem, marveling at the sights and people, but also aware of the tension, barbed wire, and soldiers which abound. This book conveys the feeling of living in the Old City of Jerusalem without placing blame on any one side, and simultaneously maintaining the hope for peace.
Aarvy Aardvark Finds Hope – O’Toole, Donna (1988). Burnsville, NC: Mt. Rainbow Publications. (PRE-SCHOOL LEVEL)
This read-aloud story is about loving and losing friendship and hope. Through it readers will learn how healing and growing through even the most devastating losses is possible.
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children – Mellonie, Bryan and Ingpen, Robert (1983). New York: Bantam Doubleday. (PRE-SCHOOL LEVEL AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 4-8)
A pet, a friend, or a relative dies, and it must be explained to a child. This sensitive book is a useful tool in explaining to children that death is a part of life and that, eventually, all living things reach the end of their own special lifetimes.
Love, Mark – Scravani, Mark (1988). New York: Putnam Press. (MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL)
This book contains a collection of letters written to bereaved children about ways to express their grief.
The Kids Book about Death and Dying – Rolfes, Eric (1976). New York: Little Publishers. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL-9-12)
Fourteen children offer facts and advice to give young readers a better understanding of death.
When People Die – Bernstein, Joann and Gullo, Steven (1977). New York: Dutton Books (Penguin Press). (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL)
In this book, life, death, and loss are investigated from the perspective of one woman’s death.
When Someone Very Special Dies – Heegaard, Marge (1992). Chapmanville, WV: Woodland Press. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 6-12)
A workbook for children designed to teach basic concepts of death and help children understand and express the many feelings they have when someone special dies.
About Sibling Death:
Am I Still a Sister? – Sims, Alvin (1986). Slidell, LA: Big A and Co. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 9-12)
An 11-year-old whose baby brother died writes this story; in it she explores her struggle to form a new self-identity.
Children are not Paper Dolls – Levy, Erin Linn (1982). Springfield, IL: Human Services Press. (ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL)
This is a book of drawings and quotations from young bereaved siblings. They talk about their personal experiences of loss, hearing the news, what the funeral was like, how they reacted, how their families changed, their feelings of guilt and sorrow, and what helped them to heal.
Losing Someone You Love – Richter, Elizabeth (1964). New York: Putnam Publishing. (ELEMENTARY THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL)
True stories written by surviving siblings aged 10-24. The stories depict their feelings at home and school after the death of a sibling.
My Brother Joey Died – McLendon, Gloria (1982). New York: Julian Messner. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL)
A child goes through the difficult process of adjusting to the sudden illness and death of a brother. A young girl attempts to come to terms with her feelings of grief, guilt, and inadequacy and to cope with her relationships with parents and friends after the death of her brother.
About Parent Death:
A New Mother for Martha – Green, Phyllis (1987). New York: Human Science Press. (MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL)
An exceptionally sensitive rendering of how a young girl learns to cope with the traumatic death of her mother and the subsequent re-marriage of her father.
Goodbye Chicken Little – Byars, Betsy (1979). New York: Harper Press. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL-ages 9-12)
Since his dad died, Jimmie hates to take risks - unlike his Uncle Pete, who decides to walk across the thin ice of the river, to clown for the crowd on the bank. Jimmie tries to stop him, and when Uncle Pete drowns, Jimmie feels responsible and guilty. The book details how Jimmie doesn't have to feel responsible for his uncle's drowning.
How It Feels When a Parent Dies Krementz, Jill (1993). Magnolia,
MA: Peter Smith Publishers. (ELEMENTARY and MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL)
This book combines photographs and personal stories of 18 youth, ages 7 - 16. The young people openly speak of their feelings, their trials, and even of the eventual triumphs following the death by illness and suicide of a parent.
About Death of a Friend:
Dusty Was My Friend. Clardy, Andrea (1984 ). New York: Human Science Press. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL)
This book presents a child’s experience of bereavement in simple yet affecting straightforward terms.
The Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson, Katherine (2000). New York: Harper Collins. (MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL)
Two friends make an emotional connection in an attempt to help them deal with difficult issues in their lives including fear, death and loss.
Books for Adults
Back from the Brink: A Family Guide to Overcoming Traumatic Stress. Catherall, D. (1992). New York. Bantam Books.
This book is very helpful in normalizing the trauma survivor's experience, grounding them in their healing process, and educating their significant others about the process.
Beyond Sympathy: How to Help Another Through Injury, Illness, or Loss. Lord, Janice Harris (1988). Ventura, CA: Pathfinder Books.
This book provides practical and specific guidelines to help adults move from awkwardness to confidence in helping others with loss.
Children and Trauma: A Guide for Parents and Professionals. Monahon, Cynthia (1993). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers Inc.
This book teaches parents about the effects of trauma on their children and offers a blueprint for restoring a child's sense of safety and balance. The author helps adults understand psychological trauma from a child's point of view and explores the way parents can help their children heal to lead healthier, happier lives.
Dear Parents: Letters to Bereaved Parents. Johnson, Joy (1998). Omaha, Nebraska: Centering Corporation.
This book contains a collection of letters to bereaved parents written by bereaved parents and well-known leaders in the bereavement field. This is a support group in book form. Makes a wonderful gift to newly bereaved families.First Steps in Parenting The Child Who Hurts: Tiddlers and Teens . Archer, Caroline
(1999) Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Philadelphia.
This excellent book looks at the attachment and development of very young children in the fostering and adoption situation. It deals sensitively and practically with the young child's 'hurts' to help adopters and foster care parents understand and cope with the many traumas they may experience in integrating a young child into their family.
How Do We Tell The Children? A Step-By-Step Guide for Helping Children Two to
Teen Cope When Someone Dies". Schaeffer, Dan & Lyons, Christine (1993). New York: Newmarket Press.
This compassionate, step-by-step guide to talking about death with children is updated with new material on AIDS, the loss of a companion animal, and talking about the mentally handicapped.
Next Steps in Parenting The Child Who Hurts: Tykes and Teens. Archer, Caroline (1999) Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Philadelphia.
This is a clear, sensitive and extremely practical handbook that looks at the reasons behind difficult behavior, especially the effects of early trauma in a child's life, as well as suggesting strategies for dealing with it. The issues covered include bedwetting, anger, lying and stealing as well as drug abuse, risk taking and self-injury. There is also excellent advice on continuing to parent even when the circumstances mean your child no longer lives at home.
No Time for Goodbyes: Coping with Sorrow, Anger and Injustice After a Tragic Death – Lord, Janice Harris (1991). Oxnard, CA: Pathfinder Publishing of California.
Offering hope and useful suggestions to those grieving the loss of a loved one, this guide provides outlets for feelings of grief, anger, frustration, and disappointment. It is devoted to the unique grief suffered by the families and friends of persons killed suddenly and violently. This book provides self-affirming skills of emotional expression that will help get survivors well again.
Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child. Grollman, Earl A. (1990). Boston: Beacon Press.
A compassionate guide for adults and children to read together, featuring a read along story, and answers to questions children ask about death.
Raising Children Compassionately: Parenting the Nonviolent Communication Way , Marshall Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication Guides)
This booklet by Marshall Rosenberg addresses the use of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in parenting. His book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life describes the principles of NVC. “This method of communication, once I developed enough fluency for it to become natural, not only was the single most helpful thing in being a parent, it also transformed the way I communicate in my life. His insight that “a [moralistic] judgment is an alienated expression of an unmet need” is worth the price of admission.” This booklet is available through Amazon.
This online guide is offered through the Help Center at the American Psychological Association website. It provides concrete support and suggestions for parents.