Children’s Book List
Book Recommendations for Common Childhood Issues
Storytelling originated in play, and from our human need for entertainment. It then evolved into a way for us to understand and explain the world around us, to communicate and to educate. Children learn naturally through storytelling. And so it follows that reading your child a story about a specific challenge or issue that arises is an effective way to guide and support them. Below is a list of book recommendations that will help your child with various issues. Reading with your child provides a wonderful opportunity for you to be close with them, and winter is the perfect time to cuddle-up with a stack of good books.
1. New Sibling: I’m a Big Sister (or I’m a Big Brother), by Joanna Cole. Ages 2-7 years. These books are reassuring for young children expecting a new sibling. They help to explain how your family is changing, and what they can expect from their new role as a big brother or sister. At the end of the book the author offers advice to parents on how to prepare your child for a new baby.
2. Fear of the Dark: Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? By Martin Waddell. Ages 2-8 years. A compassionate big bear lights lanterns all around the cave in attempt to banish the dark, but little bear is still afraid. Little bear finally falls asleep after big bear cuddles him close and takes him out to look at the moon and stars. Also, If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow, by Cooper Edens. Ages 7 and up. This creative and quirky book offers imaginative solutions to life’s fears and problems, such as “If tomorrow morning the sky falls, have clouds for breakfast.”
3. Feelings: Today I Feel Silly: And other Moods That Make My Day, by Jamie Lee Curtis. Ages 3-9 years. A free-spirited little girl takes the reader through 13 different moods, such as silly, grumpy, excited and confused. There is a feelings wheel at the end of the book to help children further identify their feelings. Also, It’s OK to be Different, by Todd Parr. Ages 4-10 years. This book is a brightly colored, playful celebration of diversity, with messages such as – it’s ok to be adopted, it’s ok to have a different nose, it’s ok to talk about your feelings.
4. Potty Training: My Big Girl Potty (or My Big Boy Potty), by Joanna Cole. Ages 2-4 years. These books follow the progress of a child learning how to use the potty in a positive, loving and encouraging environment. Children will not feel pressured reading this book. The last pages include tips for parents on successful potty training. Also, My Potty Reward Stickers Book for Boys (and Girls), by Tracy Foote. This book motivates and rewards children with 126 fun stickers and a chart. This kind of positive reinforcement gives children a sense of confidence and accomplishment.
5. Loose Tooth: Little Rabbit’s Loose Tooth, by Lucy Bate. Ages 5-9. This classic book tells the story of a little rabbit who loses his first tooth. Children will relate to the rabbits excitement over this young rite of passage and questions about the tooth fairly.
6. Different Families: Yonder, by Tony Johnston. Ages 4-10 years. This book tells a story about the traditions of a family as they are handed down from generation to generation. Also, Boundless Grace, by Mary Hoffman, (the prequel to Amazing Grace) is about a single parent and grandparent. The little girl, Grace, longs to be part of a “real” family, but is reassured by her mother and grandmother that her family is indeed real.
7. Divorce: Dinosaurs Divorce, by Marc Brown. Ages 3-8 years. In this book friendly dinosaurs involved in a difficult divorce reassure children in distress that they are still loved and will always be taken care of. Also, Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way, by Gary Neuman. Ages 6-17 years. This book helps children open up and deal with their feelings through drawings, games, poetry and other activities. Exercises are designed to increase communication, understanding and connection between parents and children. It also gives practical advice to parents on visitation, custody, co-parenting, etc.
8. Friendship: The Red Book, by Barara Lehman. Ages 2-9 years. This a wordless picture book that tells the story of a little girl from the city who becomes friends with a little boy who lives on an island, all through the imaginative portals that are revealed to them in the red book. Also, Charlottes Web, by E.B. White. Ages 8-12 years. A pig named Wilber is devastated when he learns of his fate on the farm. He befriends a spider named Charlotte who spins a web that reads “some pig”. This is a warm-hearted, enduring classic about friendship.
9. Inspiring Biographies: My Name is Georgia: A Portrait, by Jeanette Winter. Ages 3 and up. This a wonderfully illustrated picture book about the life of Georgia O’Keeffe. Georgia had known she was going to be an artist from the age of twelve. This book inspires children to follow their hearts and true callings. Also, The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin, by Peter Sis. Ages 8-12 years. A fascinating introduction to Charles Darwin, naturalist, geologist, and independent thinker. With its’ layered narratives and illustrations, maps and charts, this book will inspire children to seek the truth in their own way.
10. Death: The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, by Leo Buscaglia. Ages 2 and up. In this tender story, Freddie the leaf experiences the changing seasons along with his companion leaves, and learns that death is part of life. Also, Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies, by Janis Silverman. An art therapy and activity book for children coping with death. Children are encouraged to express their feelings by drawing pictures prompted by questions in the book. The book can become a special keepsake for children to save for years to come.
11. Poetry: Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein. Ages 4 and up. This well-loved book of children’s poetry will make both you and your children laugh. This, or any book by Shel Silverstein, is sure to become a family favorite. Also, Desiderata: Words for Life, by Max Ehrmann, photographs by Mark Tauss. This classic poem, written in 1927, offers advice to children and adults alike on how to live at peace with oneself and in the world. This edition includes beautiful photographs of children and adults of different cultures illustrating each passage.
12. Spirituality: Spinning Inward: Using Guided Imagery with Children for Learning, Creativity and Relaxation, by Maureen Murdock. Ages 3 and up. This book presents simple exercises in guided imagery, meditation and visualization designed to help children to relax, focus attention, increase concentration, stimulate creativity and cultivate inner peace. Also, Nurturing Spirituality in Children: Simple Hands-On Activities, by Peggy Jenkins. Ages 7 and up. A non-denominational book introducing spiritual concepts, stories and activities that children will enjoy.