|Using Children’s Literature to Strengthen Children’s Coping Strategies|
Strengthening Self Esteem
The Black Snowman by Phil Mendez, ills. Carole Byard. Scholastic 1989. A powerful story of a young boy who finds courage and pride in his African-American heritage. A Christmas story to read all year long.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. Trumpet, 1991. A story about learning to accept yourself and your own unique name.
Dancing In The Wings by Debbie Allen, illus. Kadir Nelson. 2000. Believe in yourself and have faith in your dreams. Perseverance pays off.
Fanny’s Dream by Caralyn Buehner, illus. Mark Buehner. Dial Books, 1996. Sometimes you find your prince in rather unexpected ways.
Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia C. McKissack, illus. Jerry Pinkney. Atheneum Books, 2001. During the 1950’s in segregated Nashville, the public library is one of the few integrated places in town. Is ‘Tricia Ann’ ready to make the trip on her own?
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, illus. Anita Jeram. Candlewick Press, 1994. A father and son tell of their love for one another.
I’m Gonna like Me – Letting off A Little Self Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell, 2002. A wonderful story of self-acceptance and self-esteem.
I Love My Hair by Natasha Tarpley, illus. E.B. Lewis. 2000. Great book for self-esteem and celebrating your cultural heritage. Beautiful illustrations.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, illus. Ruth E. Harper & Nancy M Leek. Scholastic, 1998. Reassurance for a child facing separation from those he loves – even if he is only going to school.
No Mirrors in My Nana’s House by Ysaye M Barnwell, illus. Synthia Saint James. Harcourt, Brace, 1999. A child discovers her real beauty by looking into her Nana’s eyes.
On The Day I Was Born by Debi Chocolate, illus. Melodye Rosales. Scholastic 1995. His proud family welcomes a newborn African-American baby into the world.
Sky Sisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose, illus. Brian Deines. Kids Can Press, 2000. Two Ojibwa sisters see a parallel to their relationship in the Northern Lights.
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, illus. David Catrow. G.P. Putnam, 2001. Even when the class bully makes fun of her, Molly remembers her grandmother’s wise words about self-acceptance.
Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. Laura Cornell. One child’s adoption as told by her family.
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain. 2000. Describes feelings, including some rather complex ones such as jealousy and boredom, and gives reasons why they occur. Helps children understand that everyone has feelings and they help make us who we are.
Building Empathy and Understanding
Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley. Mulberry, 1984. Badger’s friends are sad when he dies but they remember him through the things he taught them.
The Gardner by Sarah Stewart, illus. David Small. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1997. Lydia Grace faces her uncle’s lack of acceptance with persistence, love and gardening skills.
Getting Used to Harry by Carl Bect, illus. Diane Palmisciano, 1996. Cynthia is learning to adjust to a new stepfather and the changes in her life.
Granddad Bill’s Song by Jane Yolan, illus. Melissa Bay Mathis. Philomel, 1994. A child asks others how they felt when his grandfather died and then shares his own feelings.
Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester, illus. Lynn Musinger. Scholastic 1999. Not being able to pronounce your “R’s” can be difficult, especially when you are a “wodent’ named “Wodney” until a new rodent comes to school.
Knots On a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illus. Ted Rand. Trumpet, 1987. Powerful story of a Native American boy finding the strength and courage to overcome his blindness and deal with the aging of his beloved grandfather.
Lighthouse, A Story of Remembrance by Robert Munsch, illus. Janet Wilcon. Sarah and her father are making a special journey to honor her grandfather.
The Memory String by Eve Bunting, illus. Ted Rand. Clarion Books 2000. Laura’s memory string helps her hold on to memories of her mother. But sometimes, new memories and a new stepmother can be added to the things we already know and love.
One of Each by Mary Ann Hobrman, illus. Marjorie Price. Scholastic 1998. A delightful story of the joys of friendship and sharing with others.
Our Granny by Margaret Wild, illus. Julie Vivas. Ticknor & Fields, 1994. While grannies come in all shapes and sizes, what do you love best about your granny?
Remember Me by Margaret Wild, illus Dee Huxley. Albert Whitman 1990. Although she may forget things, Ellie’s Grandma can still remember some of the special times the two of them have shared.
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Palacco. Scholastic 1999. Autobiographical story of the heartbreak of undiagnosed learning disabilities for a child.
Tough Boris by Mem Fox, illus Kathryn Brown. Harcourt Brace, 1994. Pirates are tough, fearless and scary but sometimes they cry – and so do I!
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, 2000. A book for those who worry – and for those who live with them.
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. Scholastic, 1998. Camilla wants to fit in and be like everyone else but it is seldom as easy as it sounds. And maybe being ‘like everyone else’ isn’t what Camilla wants after all.
Abuelito Eats With His Fingers by Janice Levy, illus. Layne Johnson, 1999. A wonderful story to help children understand their grandparents and value Hispanic culture.
All The Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka. Scholastic 1994. A celebration of all the beautiful differences we see in children and all the reasons we love them.
Arthur’s Eyes by Marc Brown. Little, Brown & Co., 1979. Understanding and accepting the need to wear glasses.
Elizabeti’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve Bodeen, illus. Christy Hale. Scholastic, 1998. Anything you dearly love, even a rock, can help you practice to be a mother some day.
Grandfather’s Journey by Alan Say. Scholastic, 1994. Bridging the love of two cultures through three generations.
Harry and Willy and Carrothead by Judith Casely. Scholastic 1991. Harry has no left hand but he is a good baseball player and a wonderful friend.
Hats Off to Hair by Virginia Kroll, illus. Kay Lift. Charlesbridge, 1995. Wonderful, marvelous, fabulous, DIFFERENT hair!
I Am America by Charles R. Smith, Jr. Scholastic 2003. A wonderful celebration of the diversity and differences we see in American children.
I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis, illus. Jane Dyer. Little, Brown & Co., 2000. The author’s story of her daughter’s adoption from China.
Jin Woo by Eve Bunting, illus. Chris Soentpiet. Clarion Books, 2001. Accepting a new brother can be a challenge – especially when you were adopted too.
Miss Spider’s Tea Party by David Kirk. Scholastic 1994. Learning not to judge others by their reputation or differences.
Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron. Illus. Joe Cepeda. Dragonfly Books, 1997. A joyous celebration of nappy hair.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi. Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. When Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, she finds not only friendship, but also a new name.
Our Granny by Margaret Wild, illus. Julie Vivas. Ticknor & Fields, 1994. While grannies come in all shapes and sizes, what do you love best about your granny?
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, illus. E.B. Lewis. G.P. Putnam, 2001. Two girls, one black and the other white, gradually get to know one another as they sit on the fence that divides their town
Sister Anne’s Hands by Marybeth Burns Knight, illus. Anne Sibley O’Brien. Tibley House Publishers, 1994. Celebrating babies and noting the wonderful ways they are welcomed into their families’ cultural heritage and religion.
Wilford Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, illus. Julie Vivas. Kane, Miller Books Pub. 1985. Helping loved friends find their memories.
Cooperative Problem Solving
The Bat Boy and His Violin by Gavin Curtis, illus. E.B. Lewis. Scholastic, 1998. It is 1948, the Dukes are in last place in the Negro National League but they have a very special batboy who has a remarkable ability to play music.
I Did It, I’m Sorry by Caralyn Buehner, illus. Mark Buehner. Scholastic, 1998. Do your words and actions help, or hurt? A great book of rules and manners to help children think about making good choices.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, 1996. Lilly does something she’s very sorry for yet she learns how to make things right again.
Mean Soup by Betsy Everitt. Harcourt Brace & Co., 1992. How to manage bad days when NOTHING seems to be going right.
Mirette On The High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully. Scholastic 1992. Overcoming fear and finding your own courage.
Old Turtle by Douglas Wood, illus. Cheng-Khee Chee. Pfeifer-Hamilton, 1992. A fable deepening our understanding of the earth and the relationship between all living things inhabiting our planet.
Owen by Kevin Henkes. Scholastic 1993. Finding a solution for needing your blanket when it is time to go to school.
Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman, illus. Marla Frazee. Scholastic, 1997. What can we do for Mama’s birthday when seven children like seven different things?
One of Each by Mary Ann Hoberman, illus. Marjorie Price. Scholastic, 1998. A delightful story of the joys of friendship and sharing with others.
That Toad is Mine by Barbara/Shook Hazen, illus. Jane Manning. Learning to share can be difficult – but it has its own rewards.
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo by Rachel Vail, illus. Yami Heo. Scholastic, 2002. Sometimes we’re all a little “bombaloo” and need help in understanding the feeling and learning to cope with it.
Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens. Scholastic, 1995. A trickster tale told in a “top to bottom” book that provides a gentle reminder of how important it is to think through the decisions you make.
Will You Be My Friend by Nancy Taufuri. Scholastic, 2000. Making a new friend and helping them find a safe place to be.
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, illus. Caroline Birch. Scholastic 1991. Grace can do – and be – anything. Regardless of what people say!
And To Think That We Thought That We’d Never Be Friends by Mary Ann Hoberman, illus. Kevin Hawkes. Crown Publishers, 1999. Learning about cooperation, friendship and acceptance.
Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra, illus Will Hillenbrand. Scholastic, 1997. If you’re clever, sometimes even creatures that don’t wish you well can be talked into cooperation.
Don’t Need Friends b Carolyn Crimi, illus. Lynn Musinger. Scholastic, 2000. Rat doesn’t need friends – especially Dog. But when Dog really needs help, will Rat come to his rescue?
Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big by Berkeley Breathed, 2000. A gentle reminder of the consequences of lying and the complexities of sibling rivalry and loyalty.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson, illus. Tara Calahan King. Chronicle Books, 2000. Sometimes plotting to get rid of your enemy can turn him into a friend.
Edward and the Pirates by David McPhail. Trumpet, 1998. Discovering the power of reading – and how to handle pirates.
The Honest – To – Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKiccack, illus. Giselle Potter. Atheneum Books, 2000. Telling the truth is important but telling the whole truth can sometimes be complicated and unkind.
How To Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson. 1994. Outrageous book that gives examples of how to be so obnoxious you’ll never have any new friends and the ones you do have will go away. Helps children cherish and respect friendship.
I Am Sorry by Sam McBratney, illus. Jennifer Eachus, 2000. A book to help children understand it’s all right to disagree – and they can still be friends.
I Love You The Purplest by Barbara Joosee, illus. Mary Whyte. Scholastic, 1996. A mother tells her children of her unconditional love and reassures them that she loves each of her sons in their own way.
It’s Mine by Leo Lionni. Scholastic, 1995. A wonderful fable of learning to share – especially when survival is at stake!
Julius, The Baby Of The World by Kevin Henkes. Mulberry, 1990. The story of a big sister’s struggle to accept a new baby brother.
Little Miss Spider At Sunny Patch School by David Kirk. Scholastic Press, 2000. On her first day at school, Miss Spider learns that kindness may be the most important thing in the classroom.
Mean Jean, The Recess Queen by Alexia O’Neill, illus. Laura Huliska-Beith. Scholastic, 2002. Mean Jean was the recess queen and controlled the playground – until a new kid came to school.
Monster Mama by Liz Rosenberg, illus. Stephen Gammell. Philomel, 1993. Even a ‘monster mama’ can come to your rescue and help you make friends when things get difficult!
My Man Blue by Nikki Grimes, illus. Jerome Lagarrigue. Scholastic, 1999. A poetic portrait of learning to be black, proud and strong from a loving friend.
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, illus. David Diaz. Harcourt Brace, 1994. A story about overcoming prejudice and cultural differences set during the Los Angeles riots.
Miscellaneous Books (But great ones to have)
Miss Tizzy by Libba Moore Gray, illus. Jada Rowland. Simon & Schuster, 1993. The neighbors may think Miss Tizzy quite peculiar, but the children love her.
Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. Laura Cornell. A child's emotions range from silliness to anger to excitement, coloring and changing each day. Silly, cranky, excited, or sad—everyone has moods that can change each day
Sally’s Room by Mark K Brown. Sally gets out of bed late one morning--only to stumble over various and sundry toys on the floor--and leaves for school in a bad mood. Objects in the room, begin to express their dismay and disgust with their treatment. They decide to take action.
I Love Mud and Mud Loves Me by Vicki Stephens, illus. Rowan Barnes-Murphy. Scholastic. Story about a boy who loves mud, worms, paint and other messy substances in his hair and on his clothes.
If Your Angry and You Know It by Cecily Kaiser, illus. Cary Pillo. Scholastic. If you're angry and you know it, and you really want to show it, if you're angry and you know it, STOMP YOUR FEET! This Level 2 Scholastic Reader is perfect for young ones learning to sort out their emotions for the first time. Cecily Kaiser changes the lyrics to a favorite tune, telling children to do things like bang a drum, take deep breaths, and walk away when they're angry.
If… by Sarah Perry. Getty Trust Publications. A diving board to creative wordplay, the fascinating picture book If... offers a surrealistic view of the natural world.
Not A Box by Antoinette Portis. In bold, unornamented line drawings of a rabbit and a box, the author-illustrator offers a paean to the time-honored imaginative play of young children who can turn a cardboard box into whatever their creativity can conjure. Through a series of paired questions and answers, the rabbit is queried about why he is sitting in, standing on, spraying, or wearing a box.
Not A Stick by Antoinette Portis. Follow up to “Not A Box”
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk go the blueberries into the pail of a little girl named Sal who--try as she might--just can't seem to pick as fast as she eats.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, illus. Megan Lloyd. HarperCollins Publishers, 1986. A little old lady who was not afraid of anything must deal with a pumpkin head, a tall black hat, and other spooky objects that follow her through the dark woods trying to scare her.
When the Wind Blew by Margaret Wise Brown, illus Geoffrey R. Hayes. An old lady living alone by the sea finds joy and comfort from her seventeen cats and especially one small blue-grey kitten.
Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola. Puffin Books, 1998. Four year old Tommy enjoys his relationship with both his grandmother and his great-grandmother, but eventually learns to face their inevitable death.
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw. HarperCollins Publishers, 1947. Sometimes it looked like spilt milk, but it wasn’t. Sometimes it looked like a bird or an ice cream cone, but it wasn’t. What was it?
Koala Lou by Mem Fox, illus. Pamela Lofts. Harcourt, 1988. A young Koala, longing to hear her mother speak lovingly to her as she did before other children came along, plans to win her distracted parent’s attention.
Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! By Mem Fox, illus Marla Frazee. Harcourt, 2000. When a young girl has a series of mishaps at home on Saturday, her mother tries not to lose her temper – and does not quite succeed.
The Napping House by Audrey Wood, illus. Don Wood. Harcourt Brace & Co., 1984. In this cumulative tale, a wakeful flea atop a number of sleeping creatures causes a commotion, with just one bite.
A Kiss Goodbye by Audrey Penn, illus. Barbara L. Gibson. Tanglewood Press, 2007. Chester Raccoon is very unhappy about leaving his home, a tree that has been marked by tree cutters, but his mother tries to convince him that their new home might be even better.
A Pocket Full Of Kisses by Audrey Penn, illus. Barbara L. Gibson. Tanglewood Press, 2006. Chester Raccoon is worried that his mother does not have enough love for both him and his new baby brother.
My Mama Had A Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray, illus Raul Colon. Orchard Books, 1995. A ballet dancer recalls how she and her mother would welcome each season with a dance outdoors.
The Magic Hat by Mem Fox, illus. Tricia Tusa. Harcourt Inc., 2002. A wizard’s hat blows into town, changing people into different animals when it lands on their heads.
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox, illus. Leslie Staub. Harcourt, Inc., 1997. Despite the differences between people around the world, there are similarities that join us together, such as pain, joy, and love.
Possum Magic by Mem Fox, illus. Julie Vivas. Harcourt, Inc., 1983. When Grandma Poss’s magic turn Hush invisible, the two possums make a culinary tour of Australia to find the food that will make her visible once more.