Looking for the best children’s books to read after tragedies? Here are some great picture books for classroom read alouds or for students to read. Children’s books to help heal after a tragedy in the community, the classroom or the family. Ideas for elementary school teachers looking for children’s books about tragedies including lesson plans and activities! Great for Kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade.
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Children’s Books to Read After Tragedies
Sadly, tragedies are becoming more and more common these days, and books can help both kids and adults have conversations about them. One of the most important things to do is to tell students that they are safe. Knowing that, even though there are many who are not okay because of the tragedy, they are in that moment safe is essential. From there it’s providing relatable books to help students see how others have reacted in similar situations. Take a look at some of the books:
My Peaceful Place by Natalie Nordlund
By reading My Peaceful Place, any child who has ever felt sad, angry, disappointed, lonely, frustrated, or any other uncomfortable emotion can learn the mindfulness strategy of identifying and imagining their own unique peaceful place. With memorizable rhymes and vivid examples, young readers are able to learn a new calming strategy that can be done on their own without any materials or resources required-only requiring the power of their own mind and imagination.
I Am Peace
Mindfulness means being fully in the present moment. Children can learn how to manage their emotions, make good choices, and balance their busy lives by learning to be mindful, express emotions through speech, find empathy through imagination, and wonder at the beauty of the natural world. Includes a guided meditation.
Something Happened In Our Town
Emma and Josh heard that something happened in their town. A Black man was shot by the police.
“Why did the police shoot that man?” “Can police go to jail?”
Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.
Something Happened In Our Park
When Miles’s cousin Keisha is injured in a shooting, he realizes people can work together to reduce the likelihood of violence in their community. With help from friends and family, Miles learns to use his imagination and creativity to help him cope with his fears.
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .
Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”―people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with a crow named Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this wishtree watches over the neighborhood. You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experience as a wishtree is more important than ever. Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, this is Katherine Applegate at her very best―writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.
From the creator of the New York Times bestseller The Word Collector comes an empowering story about finding your voice, and using it to make the world a better place.A New York Times BestsellerThe world needs your voice. If you have a brilliant idea… say something! If you see an injustice… say something!In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference.
Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are… what you are thinking… and what you believe. And how you’ll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!”A motivational must-have for every collection.” — School Library Journal
The world can be a scary place. Anxious adults want children to be aware of dangers, but shouldn’t kids be aware of kindness too?
Michael Leannah wrote Most People as an antidote to the scary words and images kids hear and see every day. Jennifer Morris’s emotive, diverting characters provide the perfect complement to Leannah’s words, leading us through the crowded streets of an urban day in the company of two pairs of siblings (one of color). We see what they see: the hulking dude with tattoos and chains assisting an elderly lady onto the bus; the Goth teenager with piercings and purple Mohawk returning a lost wallet to its owner; and the myriad interactions of daily existence, most of them well intended. Most People is a courageous, constructive response to the dystopian world of the news media.
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
During the Los Angeles riots, Daniel and his mother witness the night’s events unfold from the safety of shelter after they are forced to leave their apartment. “Diaz has not been afraid to take risks in illustrating the story with thickly textured paintings against a background of torn-paper and found-object collage. Without becoming cluttered or gimmicky, these pictures manage to capture a calamitous atmosphere that finally calms. . . . Both author and artist have managed to portray a politically charged event without pretense or preaching.”–The Bulletin
Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting
Inspired by real events, master storyteller Eve Bunting recounts the harrowing yet hopeful story of a family, a war–and a dazzling discovery.
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play.
But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play.
The Three Questions by Jon Muth
Young Nikolai is searching for the answers to his three questions: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?But it is his own response to a stranger’s cry for help that leads him directly to the answers he is looking for. This profound and inspiring book is about compassion and mindfulness.
Best Children’s Books to Read After Tragedies
What are some of your favorite children’s books to read after tragedies? Are there any must read children’s books to read after tragedies that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!