It’s becoming increasingly clear that the world we’re raising our children in is not the same one we grew up in, especially after the recent tragic events unfolding in Christchurch. So how do we talk about this with our kids? Well, as always, books are a great place to start.
Young ones may not fully understand what has been going on or why, but it’s likely that they’ve picked up on adult emotions that have been circulating such as fear and sadness. Books can lead to helpful discussion, and this presents an opportunity to help them pick up life-long skills of processing emotions and giving them the tools to successfully handle any trials life may have in store for them in the future.
UNDER 5’S PICTURE BOOK
Sad feelings can be hard to understand and deal with, but this picture book navigates such territory with sensitivity and offers simple but effective advice for children with the support of an adult reader.
BEGINNER SOLO READERS
Ruby takes readers on a tour of all her feelings and their sources, but also includes ways she can positively engage with and process her emotions. This book has lovely illustrations and can also be a great read-together story.
For a MORE ADVANCED SOLO READER try
This book goes more in depth into the body’s physical responses to emotions including exploring how emotions feel physically, and how our body responds with different hormones. My Mixed Emotions also explores how to identify different emotions and difficult situations, and also provides a lot of different options for working with feelings like basic yoga, mindful breathing, as well as help identifying feelings in others.
For a CONFIDENT READER introduce them to a classic
This novel is currently a staff pick here at Go Go Kids Remuera “because it’s never too soon to learn good from evil. Great for starting thinking and discussion about how to be a good and kind person, even when the world seems dark and scary”. This novel is a great one for adults to read too, and to open discussion about fairness, justice and racism – plus it’s just an excellent read at any age! To Kill a Mockingbird is also available as a graphic novel for those readers who respond better to visual images.
And for CONFIDENT WRITERS
Encourage journaling. Journaling is a great way to process and identify how you’re feeling about the day’s events and stay in touch with personal goals or responses, as well as develop a personal voice. We have a great range including these lockable ones, so that children will feel safe recording their true thoughts and feelings in private, and this Nebulous Stars one which includes fun activity pages and a secret magic pen. For an extra incentive, try these rainbow gel pens that make writing fun.
One thing we can take from these tragic events is the opportunity to encourage our children to embrace diversity and to learn from those who seem different to them.
Adults and children alike will love reading Mixed by Arree Chung together. Visually stunning, this picture book explores how embracing diversity makes us stronger and more interesting in a very approachable and engaging way for young readers.
The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams will help SOLO READERS learn to celebrate what makes them special, and to appreciate difference in others. This novel is also illustrated throughout by Quentin Blake, adding a visual element to its story and enchanting readers, especially as the ever-popular Walliams weaves a hilarious but also touching story about diversity and truly being yourself in the face of adversity.
This can also prove to be a learning opportunity for ADVANCED SOLO READERS who would like to learn more about the world outside their life and the different people in it. The Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions (available in store) provides a comprehensive and engaging look into religions and customs from around the world and across history. It never hurts to consider how others think and lead their lives.
For YOUNG ADULT READERS
The Giver by Lois Lowry explores the downside of perfection and total uniformity. In a world of total sameness and harmony Jonas begins his training to become his community’s Receiver of Memory, where he begins to learn the true cost of this perfection and striking lack of diversity. This novel presents a great opportunity to open a conversation with your teen about the value of difference and diversity, even with any challenges it may present.