Every human is bound to undergo hurdles throughout life; children aren’t exempted. Challenging issues such as legal separation of the parents, loss of family members, and the likes bring sadness and take away a child’s comfort. During these moments of struggle and vulnerability, you might ponder the things you can do to help take away the pain.
Difficult events sometimes arise right before children learn how to express their emotions. However, some books can help children feel more at ease with their negative feelings and make them feel less lonely. Although they can’t solve everything, books with stories that comfort and solace provide more for a child than advice.
There are many fiction books produced for children who are experiencing heartbreak, crisis, and struggle. Here are 10 children’s books that can help children go through a difficult chapter.
Title: Smoky Night
Author: Eve Bunting
Eve Bunting won a Caldecott Medal for the dramatic illustrations on her work, Smoky Night. This book brings understanding to the violence in the children’s neighborhoods. Not everyone, even pets, in the fictional Los Angeles neighborhood hit it off, but as a riot breaks out in their community, the neighbors must support one another to confront violence together.
Title: The Life’s Challenges Series
Author: Eric Braun, Nancy Loewen, and Trisha Speed Shaskan
This series is a collection of books starring gender-neutral animal characters with illustrations that lightly explore tough circumstances and allow children experiencing difficult times to find solace in relatable characters.
Through stories dealing with the separation of a family, the passing of an uncle, the death of a pet, and the jailing of a father, children will be able to discuss and confront real-life scenarios that families might find hard to discuss.
Title: Jenny Is Scared: When Sad Things Happen in the World
Author: Carol Shuman
Young readers who are scared of terrorism and violence are the perfect audience for this book. The story starts a discussion between a caregiver and a child regarding ways of maintaining your sense of well-being in a world full of challenges, focusing on providing kids with short and long-term coping mechanisms such as speaking with loved ones.
Title: The Invisible String
Author: Patrice Karst
The Invisible String sold over 200,00 copies around the globe. This classic children’s book talks about an invisible string connecting people who love each other, even when they’re at separate places. This moving tale is a great help to children experiencing loss or anxiety separation.
Title: The Purple Balloon
Author: Chris Raschka
When a child already senses their impending death, they usually draw a purple or blue balloon sailing away to the sky when asked to draw their feelings. This book was created in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital International and builds around the symbolic picture to ease tough discussions about death. The story is meant to help children and their loved ones go through grief and confusion and reflect courage, love, and compassion.
Title: A Terrible Thing Happened
Author: Margaret M. Holmes
Holmes wrote this book for the children who witnessed or endured a traumatic event. When the protagonist of the book, Sherman, witnessed a horrible situation, his body responded by making him feel stomach aches and have nightmares. He doesn’t tell anyone about his story, which affects his feelings and interactions with other people. But with the help of Ms. Maple, his teacher, Sherman learns how to share his emotions and discovers that talking about it with a trusted person makes him feel much better.
Title: The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story
Author: Cheryl Somers Aubin
The Survivor Tree is a true-to-life story of the tree that survived the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Despite everything it’s been through, the tree managed to thrive and sustain life as birds make their nest in it. Aubin addressed in this book the consequences of an event that changed history, simultaneously giving lessons about resilience in the face of adversity.
Title: Moody Cow Meditates
Author: Kerry Lee MacLean
Every child must learn how to handle challenges and stress. The protagonist of the story, Moody Cow, experiences a terrible day, leading him to destroy a window at his house due to frustration. His grandfather taught him the hows of meditation, which helped him realize that he can control his response towards struggle. This story can prod both children and their parents to cope with challenges calmly and thoughtfully.
Title: The Keeping Quilt
Author: Patricia Polacco
Polacco’s classic guides children on leaving their homes while maintaining family and traditional connections. The quilt created from the cloth of the old garments of Anna’s ancestors becomes the thread holding her family together as they leave their native land.
Title: The Whispering Cloth: A Refugee’s Story
Author: Pegi Shea
The heartbreaking stories regarding the international refugee crisis can be difficult to discuss with children, given that even adults find it hard to understand. The author narrates the story through Mai, a Hmong child dwelling in a Thailand refugee camp. She reflects on her painful past while creating a traditional story cloth together with her grandmother. With her wonderful tale and illustrations, children can feel empathy for refugees similar to Mai.