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Real Life Calls for Real Books: Literature to Help Children Cope With Family Stressors.

REAL LIFE CALLS FOR REAL BOOKS: Literature To Help Children Cope With Family Stressors. Roberts, S. K., & Crawford, P. A., Young Children, 2008, 63(5), 12-17. Today's children face many family stressors, ranging from parental unemployment to the birth of a sibling. Such events may add a heightened level of tension in the family. In this article, Roberts and Crawford propose quality children's literature as a vehicle for helping children cope with these life challenges.

The authors begin by providing a thorough review of literature in the areas of prosocial behaviors, resilience, and the use of children's literature to help children understand and cope with challenging situations. They follow up with specific suggestions for using children's literature. Literature can be used to inform, comfort, and model coping strategies. Roberts and Crawford suggest four criteria for choosing and using literature: 1) choosing books that are well written and tell a good story in their own right, 2) being sensitive to children's circumstances and personalities when selecting books for the classroom, 3) providing opportunities for different responses to literature, and 4) honoring children's unique responses to stories.

Perhaps most helpful for readers is the bibliography of picture books to help children cope with family stressors. A short reference list in the article is supported by a more extensive online list in "Beyond the Journal"--Young Children on the web.

Roberts and Crawford conclude with practical advice and clear and easy-to-follow directions of ways to present sensitive issues with respect and compassion. This article is an invaluable tool for educators in search of resources and strategies to support the young children they teach and the families they serve. Reviewed by Kay Emfinger, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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Article Details
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Author:Emfinger, Kay
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Mar 22, 2009
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