3 Valuable Picture Books to Use in Therapy
Books are such an important part of my therapy tool kit. Almost all children I know love being read to and so I regularly incorporate books into therapy sessions. I find reading to and with children is a great way to settle them into a session as it helps them concentrate and focus. Using books in therapy is also a very effective way to provide psycho-education and introduce children to new concepts that you want to help them understand.
Reading picture books on specific topics with children can also be a very powerful way to help them explore their own experiences. There are many wonderful therapeutic books for children available but today I want to share with you three favourite picture books for children which I have found to be very useful because they cover topics that aren't often addressed.
Friends and Technology
For most children at some point in their lives there is likely to be difficulties with friendships, whether this is initiating conversations, making new friends or coping with the often changing dynamics of established friendship groups.
The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland is a fantastic book about technology and how it impacts on our understanding of friends. Children are using phones and technology at younger and younger ages. The introduction of this technology has added a very significant layer of complexity to how children understand relationships with people they do not know in person.
In this excellent book, Popcorn the chicken who lives on a farm, discovers a mobile phone which she thinks is a fabulous friend machine. Popcorn embraces this new technology and with great excitement, sets out to make some brand-new friends. However, in this delightful but cautionary tale Popcorn discovers that "friends" are not always who she thinks they are.
Depression and Seeking Help
Sarah and the Steep Slope by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley is a beautiful book about a girl who wakes up one day to find an enormous slope blocking out the sun and casting a shadow across her house. Sarah isn't able to get past the steep slope, every time she tries, it gets steeper and steeper. Eventually a steep doctor comes and helps Sarah.
This poignant book covers the topic of depression and overwhelming sadness but it has a wonderful message about the power of seeking help and the healing power of friendship in overcoming the most difficult of times.
Disability and Difference
Disability, feeling different and bullying are addressed in the engaging book Go Percy Go by primary school teacher and author Brett Preiss. In this vibrantly illustrated book Percy the pelican has only one wing. He struggles to be accepted and he is bullied, because he looks different to all the other birds. However, Percy soon realises that he has other talents and on the soccer field he doesn't need two wings. This book is a wonderful way to talk to children about difference, taking risks and believing in yourself.
A very useful bonus included in Go Percy Go are suggested learning activities for teachers and ideas on how to incorporate mindfulness into the classroom.