Monday, December 18, 2017

Books For When You're Feeling Hopeless


There has been a lot of heavy news lately. How do we, as parents, teachers, and trusted adults, address these topics with the children in our lives and help them feel hopeful? One way is through picture books. While I wish these books didn't have to exit, I'm glad they do.

Come With Me by Holly McGhee does not specify the tragedy that has occurred in the story; it alludes to news of anger and hatred. A young girl feels hopeless and asks her parents what to do. They show her small ways to make a difference, and in turn, she shows a young neighbor. 

This books is multi-purpose: it could be used for students starting in pre-school and used after a variety of tragic events: shootings, terrorists attacks, and other horrors that are hard to explain to a child. I'm reminded of the nightmares a friend's child had after randomly seeing floods on the news. Talking about frightening topics takes away their power. The language in Come With Me is never scary and Pascal Lemaitre's soft illustrations make this a necessary addition to every library. 

With the similar theme of small actions making a big difference, Justin Roberts' The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade is a sweet book that I am eager to share. Our heroine Sally pays "super extra special attention" to what is happening and decides that she doesn't want to be a bystander. By using her powers of observation, Sally makes a change at her school. I love that an introverted child is highlighted. An added bonus are the illustrations by Christian Robinson, who is just my favorite illustrator these days. 

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