Counselors who specialize in child/adolescent therapy will often use therapeutic books to implement during sessions. 

Counselors know that as a child, counseling can be scary, nerve-wracking, and overwhelming in the beginning. Incorporating books not only allows for the possibility for the kiddo to feel more comfortable, it allows for age-appropriate conversations regarding experiences and feelings that may be too overwhelming for children to think about. It can act as a good start for relationship building along with implementing the message in the books in their daily life, even at home! 

Summertime is also a great opportunity to add some new books into your kiddo’s daily routine, especially ones that are specific to something your child may be struggling with. Books are a great way to incorporate messages that promote emotional growth and learning. Bringing awareness to the many emotions and experiences a child may be experiencing through books is a great age-appropriate way to begin open conversations about feelings. Here are a few options:

“The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden” by Heather Smith and Rachel Wada– A story of a young boy who lost his father and ways he and the community learned to cope with loss together. 

Topics: Grief, Community

“The Rabbit Listened” By Cori Doerrfeld- A story of a child who is upset after her hard work was ruined and learning what she needs in her moment of frustration. In the end, all she needed was a hug and a listening ear. 

Topics: listening, boundaries, emotional regulation

“Seeds and Trees” by Brandon Walden– A story about the power of words and how they can hurt and heal. 

Topics: Positive self-talk, positive relationships

“A Tale of Two Beasts” by Fiona Roberton– A story that shows how two people can feel very differently about the same interaction. 

Topics: Boundaries, different personalities, understanding friendships and relationships

When reading the books with your children, the best thing you can do is to ask them things like: “what do you think that person is thinking/ feeling?” Help them pick up on the context clues (facial expressions, actions they’re taking, etc). So if a person the page has a scowl and is stomping around and growling, they may feel… angry. 

If the character just received very sad news, have their face in their hands and their shoulders are dropped, they may feel… (allow your child to answer). 

Reading together with your child can be such a bonding experience for both of you. We highly recommend it! 

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