This weekend, I went to B & N to find some useful books for my office and ended up walking out of the door with four! I thought maybe I would share with you some short reviews of these books which I think are valuable resources for any school counselor!
1) Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing after Loss by Pat Schwiebert
This book is absolutely heartwarming. Granny, the main character is grieving a loss and decides to make tear soup. Through the process, Granny shows different ways to grieve, or how to make the soup. One of the parts that I especially appreciate is when Granny talks about how sometimes tear soup has to be made alone or that others forget that you are even making it at all. The book hits on expectations of other, of yourself, and the process of grief in a way that is easily related too. Also, as is important to remember about grief: it looks different for everyone. The Tear Soup recipe is flexible and allows children (and adults!) to grieve in their own way. Ultimately, not only is this book a good read but leads to creative a productive sessions and lessons plans for individuals and small group.
2) When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief by Marge Heegaard
This book is NOT a normal book and is only one in a series of all sorts of different topics. Basically, the premise goes through how to cope with grief and what it may look like. However, what is really cool is that students have the opportunity to completely personalize it with drawings and fill in the blanks. I especially love the section in which feelings are discussed. There are diagrams of a blank body and to the side, colors are matched with feelings. (red equals anger and so on..) The book asks the students to represent their feelings and relate them to the body, I think that this is so important for kids to understand how emotions and physical reactions are all related, especially in traumatic or emotionally exhausting situations.
3) Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families by Marc Brown and Laurie Krasny Brown
One of the things that I have noticed while implementing several Changing Family groups is that there is not a lot of information on how to talk to kids about what is actually happening in their family. I love this book because it very clearly and specifically recognizes and speaks to the different aspects of divorce and what might happen when parents get a divorce (step-families, etc.)
4) Stick Up for Yourself!: Every Kid's Guide to Personal Power and Positive Self-Esteem
by Gershen Kaufman, Lev Raphael, and Pamela Espeland
I kind of bought this book on a whim and have been very pleased with it so far and have decided to use it as part of classroom guidance with the third graders. This book goes through strategies on how to build up personal power which includes taking responsibility for choices and for your feelings and solving your own problems. In fact, this book very clearly defines and identifies various feeling words. Apparently, there is a teacher's guide that goes along with this book that has a step-by-step curriculum for up to ten sessions. This book is appropriate for grades 3-7. I will be using this book in a classroom this next week, so I will let you all know what I end up doing and how effective it is with the kids.
I have found that it is so important to have various and numerous (but effective!) books in your office to refer to for yourself, to give out to students, and to use in small group or classroom sessions. It takes a while, but it is well worth it.
What books and resources have you bought or invested in to lately?