Children’s books about tough stuff

So many parents turn to books to help explain some of the more difficult aspects of life to their children, so I’m always on the lookout for lists of books that tackle the tough subjects.  This list contains books about divorce, potty training (this one has a lot of good reviews on Amazon), anxieties, death, being different (several books), bullying, bad behaviour, moving, cancer, etc.

When life sucks for kids

When life sucks for kids, by Kirrilie Smout. Subtitled “Ideas and tips for when you feel mad, worried or sad- or life gets kind of messy”. While I haven’t read this entire book, I was impressed enough with the content of the sample chapters (link is just over halfway down the page, under the Buy Now button and cover images) to link to it here.  This book is suited for 8-13 year olds, and the author has a previously-published book called “When life sucks for teens”.  In the sample chapters, I particularly liked the SHOPS acronym for how to initiate conversations- ask questions about Screens, Hobbies, Other People and School- with half a dozen examples of each.

Siblings and acceptance

In Jesse’s Shoes, by Beverly Lewis. Written from the perspective of the sister of a boy with special needs (most likely autism)- from embarrassment about how her peers see them both, through to literally walking in his shoes. She learned to appreciate him and his interests, and to stand up to and educate the troublemakers. Great story for promoting understanding of both autism, and sibling issues. The book does contain some Christian content.

Children’s book about trauma

A Terrible Thing Happened, by Margaret M Holmes.  This book is about helping children to process trauma.  The main character is a raccoon, who has seen a terrible thing, that upset and scared him.  He decided not to think about it, but eventually started having physical and emotional effects. His parents took him to someone who could help him figure out his feelings, who played with him and encouraged him to draw pictures, then talked about them. He felt stronger, and much better. At the end of the book are notes for parents and caregivers. Nice simple language, and general enough to be used in many different difficult situations.

Children’s books: death

I have recently read two children’s books about death and grief that were quite good.

Rabbityness, by Jo Empson: Describes a rabbit, his likes and how he influenced his peers – then one day he disappeared. “All that Rabbit had left was a hole… a DEEP dark hole.” But down in the DEEP dark hole, Rabbit had left some of his favourite things, which made them think of Rabbit, which made them happy.

Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in between, by Bryan Mellonie: This book has plenty of repetition and reassurance, looking at the lifetimes of various living things, and that no matter how long or short, lifetimes are really all the same – they have beginnings, and endings, and there is living in between.

Nobody’s Perfect

Nobody’s Perfect, by Marlee Matlin.  A great book for siblings and disability acceptance!  A new girl starts at school, and seems very aloof, despite the others trying to be friendly. She seems to be nearly perfect at everything, and it’s only late in the book that it’s revealed that she has an autistic brother, who she is initially ashamed of. One of her classmates, who is deaf, begins teaching the boy sign language, to the delight of his family, and his sister learns to accept disabilities.