Therapy in Picture Books

This post is for my sister—a soon to be licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She asked for my opinion on books that deal with difficult subjects in a delicate way… to aid children in making sense of trauma or sadness or difficulty in their lives.

Note that I have NOT read every single one of these books. What I did, was pore over many, many lists, follow many rabbit-trails, read a few message boards, evaluated many reviews and compiled these titles that looked to be the most promising. This is certainly not exhaustive—I don’t doubt I’m missing some great titles.  But I did go ahead and ignore 90% of what was recommended for therapy books precisely because that’s what they were designed to be (e.g. “Mommy and Daddy Dinosaur Got a Divorce” or somesuch). In this scope (as in most others) I seek stories primarily… good messages secondarily.

There are some exceptions, but I do think the art of subtlety in this area is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when reading books with children. Kids aren’t stupid. They see through things that moralize or patronize very quickly.  But again… I have not read all these books personally so maybe a few of them do exactly this… let me know! I am only bookmarking this list for people to peruse who may want to investigate ways to cope with life stressors through the welcoming, non-threatening medium of picture books.  If you know of something that I’m missing here, please comment!!!