In daunting times, many adults find themselves feeling anxious or scared about the future of the world around them. It’s important to remember that young children may be feeling the same way about their experiences or situations. Hearing something scary on the news, encountering a bully, dealing with a death in the family, or learning their parents are divorcing are all tough topics. Reading a book with a worried child may help. This can give the child and caregiver a time to connect and find comfort with each other. It can also give the child an opportunity to ask questions and start a conversation about their concerns.
Below, are a selection of picture books for tough topics …
Death, Dying, Grief
Ida, Always by Caron Levis
When his best friend and fellow polar bear, Ida, becomes terminally ill, a sad Gus spends their final days together whispering, sniffling, cuddling, and laughing with Ida in their home at the Central Park Zoo.
The Dead Bird Story by Margaret Wise Brown
When they find a dead bird, a group of children bury it in the woods, sing a song to it, and put flowers on the grave.
The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr
Illustrations and brief text relate how a person might feel when he or she has lost someone they love.
Monday, Wednesday, and Every Other Weekend by Karen Stanton
Although Henry enjoys the time he spends at his mother’s apartment and his father’s house, his dog Pomegranate gets confused about which place is home.
Two Homes by Claire Masurel
A young boy named Alex enjoys the homes of both of his parents who live apart but love Alex very much.
Come With Me by Holly M. McGhee
Frightened by news of angry people around the world, a young girl gets her parents’ help in learning to be compassionate and brave a little at a time.
No Bad News by Kenneth Cole
On his way to get a haircut, Marcus is dismayed by the bad things he sees in his urban neighborhood but, after hearing his friends in the barbershop talk about the many good things in their African-American community, he finds that on the way home he sees nothing but good news.
Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney
Following their teacher’s lead, Llama Llama speaks to Gilroy Goat and tells him he should not act like a bully on the playground.
Ben Rides On by Matt Davies
Ben rides his new bicycle the very, very long way to school but Adrian Underbite, perhaps the world’s largest third-grader, takes the bike anyway and later, when Ben finds Adrian in trouble, he must decide whether or not to help the larcenous bully.
Lion vs Rabbit by Alex Latimer
Lion bullies all the other animals until finally they can’t take it anymore. They post an ad, asking for help. One animal after another tries and fails to defeat Lion. Can no one stop him? Finally, a rabbit arrives. No one thinks that such a small animal will be brave enough or strong enough to defeat Lion. But perhaps this rabbit is smart enough?
Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Kelly P. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/10-picture-books-to-help-tackle-tough-topics.