Books to Share with Children After a Tragedy

I have compiled a list of books that you can share with elementary school aged children after a tragedy.  My hope is that these suggestions will support you in your efforts to help children heal after a tragedy such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. The books on this list do not specify a specific situation and can be used in a variety of different situations. If you know of other books that are good/helpful, please share about them in the comment section.  For more resources visit my post about Tragedy and Disaster Response Resources.

A Terrible Thing Happened 
by Margaret M. Holmes, Illustrated by Cary Pillo

In A Terrible Thing Happened, Sherman saw a terrible thing happen. He begins feeling sick to his stomach and acting out in school. After talking to a counselor he feels much better.  There is a section at the end for parents and caregivers about talking to children after a tragedy.  The "terrible thing" is never named so it can be used for a variety of different situations.

Jenny is Scared: When Bad Things Happen in the World 
by Carl Shuman, Illustrated by Cary Pillo

Jenny is Scared tells the story of Jenny and her brother who are frightened by the news and the way that the grown-ups are behaving. Jenny is Scared outlines the importance of children talking to caring adults about the range of emotions experienced during a tragedy or disaster.  

What to Do When You're Scared and Worried covers a range of fears and worries typical for children and adolescents - everything from anxiety about grades to "scary things on TV or close to home, such as crime or violence." I own What to Do When You're Scared and Worried and it is a great resource to use in individual sessions and group sessions with students related to anxiety or worry. It would also be a valuable resource for talking to a classroom or other large group.

Check out the following excerpts you can download from What to Do When You're Scared and Worried from Free Spirit Publishing.

When I Feel Afraid 
by Cheri J. Meiners

When I Feel Afraid uses kid-friendly language to support children and help them cope with fears (real or imagined). When I Feel Afraid helps children recognize ways they can feel safe and who they can turn to for help and support.  When I Feel Afraid also provides suggestions for parents and educators of how to help children feel safe. 

Check out this free excerpt of When I Feel Afraid you can download from Free Spirit Publishing.

by Marge Heegard (to be illustrated by children) 

When Something Terrible Happens is a workbook style book that allows children to illustrate the pages with pictures. The "something terrible" is not named so it can be used in a variety of different situations. This would be great to use in a classroom or group setting by reproducing pages.

What books do you recommend to share with children after a tragedy or disaster?
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Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Connect with Danielle via emailTwitterPinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

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