Using Children’s Literature

Reading, Writing and Children’s Literature

Children’s picture books may be used as “transitional experiences” (linking two or more events) and offer vicarious learning (natural learning) of almost any human experience, since there are approximately 80,000 picture books in print at any one time.  The books combine images and words to help capture the child’s imagination, learn new alternatives to life’s situations, and perhaps reinforce and energize the child’s creative forces. Cinema and DVD movies also use the bridge between images and words in the telling of their stories, however, the plot action often flows so fast that adequate time is not allowed for the processing and integration of the materials.  Where all the images are supplied, the child is frequently not forced to create their own.   Since movies play a vital role in our societies ability to share and experience diverse stories, we have included links to websites dealing with and offering an index of movies by topics and disabilities.

Children’s literature affords both children and adults the opportunity to connect and share time and experiences together. The process if the “right” books are chosen can engage the parent and child in story experiences countering negative experiences associated with an abusive or flawed childhood history.  The stories when presented, processed, and shared in the right environment, can effectively desensitize the child against the pains inflicted by harsh realities and offer a more hopeful model and vicarious experience.

There are numerous books written on almost any subject, often with specific cultural backgrounds, and for all ages.  Many books will go out of print, however, the award winning Caldecott (best picture book of each year) and Newberry (best written story of each year) books will be with us throughout our lifetimes.   They can be springboards for discussions with children of all ages.  Starting with the safety of the story and its characters, the child can be brought into the story, followed with discussion generalizing to their own life experiences.

Other benefits of reading a story to children may be the encouragement of writing their own story through the valuable life enhancing advantages of journaling (the use of a diary, using a diary, and scribing a child’s experience of the day.

With the help of the Salt Lake Library, we extend their welcome letter on how children can discover keys to imagination, knowledge and curiosity by visiting their local library. The librarians have compiled a list of some of the best children’s literature representing several clinical themes including such separate mental health topics as attention disorder, anxiety, depression, divorce & single parent, autism, identity.
In our story section introduction we quoted Badger of the story Crow and Weasel by Barry Lopez when Badger says that stories have a way of taking care of people.  We need to take care of stories and give them away when needed – sometimes they are more important than food.  Our clinic policy has been to give a book away for each child who meets with us in hopes of modeling what Badger said and to encourage parents to likewise become involved with stories.  We encourage our parents to establish a nightly ritual of reading, when this special time can be shared with their children.

We are including a number of useful articles proclaiming the benefits of teaching literacy to children, with the additional need to teach them a love for the process.  .

Click on: Short Articles

Introduction to the Therapeutic Use of Literature

Using Literature as a Tool

Television vs. Books, a Difficult Parental Decision

Creating Picture Images

Bringing Viable Role Models into a Home

Healing from Trauma, Assisted by Stories

Learning and Using Non-verbal Language through Books

Reach Out and Read (Longer Article)

Children’s Literature Links

Index of movies by topics and disabilities
Films involving Disabilities

Childhood Journaling:
These sites have good information on writing,  journaling and scribing in a diary of ones experiences of the day with its health benefits
Journaling a Child’s Album
Journaling Your Way Through Stress
writing at an upper level with multi-cultural resources

scrapbooking 101
Your Guide to Scrapbooking
Life booking

Reading Resources for Children

Bibliotherapy Education Project – Oregon State University
ATN – Book Lists
ATN Reading Lists
“Storytelling helps with behavior” – How to write a children’s book using behaviors in 17 steps and 3 acts. Made easy for everyone to do.

Award Winning Books:
Association for Library Services for Children

Children’s Library Resources by Theme:  Booklists for Reading
Adoptions – Lending Library Children’s Books
Death and Loss of Someone Loved – Salt lake City public Library Booklist by subject
Divorce & the single parent

Other titles:
Attention disorders
Anxiety (List of books on Anxiety in PDF)
Depression (List of books on Depression in PDF)
Childhood Disabilities thru Salt Lake Public Library
Coping with Stress, Trauma and Abuse
World cultures and ethnicities thru Salt Lake Public Library

Story Telling:
Motivating Children by helping them pick a book to read.
Using oral story telling to enhance reading and writing.

Chinaberry books list under “Browse topics” include puberty, problem solving, diversity and friendships as well as others.