photo by Flickr user Stargonautone
A young girl asked me for books about tornadoes last week. She wanted to know how they work so that she wouldn't be afraid of them anymore. Books can provide a safe space for children to learn about something affecting their lives and explore their fears. How many of you have used books to help children conquer their fears of monsters under the bed? Well, now might be a good time to break out the books about financial crisis, poor economy and recessions.
Over at Slate, there is a great short piece and accompanying slide show called, "Mom, What's a Credit Deafult Swap?" They suggest a few titles of books for your children to read or for you to read together. I've included the titles available at our library as well as a few more below.
Children are very perceptive and can get stressed out about the same things you do. Imagine how scary words like depression, recession and financial crisis mut sound to them. You can help them explore this topic and just like the little girl who is not longer afraid of tornadoes, your child will be able to bravely face the world knowing their family's cupboards will always be filled with love (Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary).
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney; published in 1881, this landmark book details the struggles of the Pepper kids who "are so dirt-poor they have to mend their broken stove using part of an old boot" yet remain positive and optomistic as they try to help their bankrupt single mother.
|Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder; this classic children's book was oroginally published during the Great Depression. People seemed to take solace in the extreme hardships the Ingalls family faced. Like Five Little Peppers, the kids strive to please and help the parents through the difficult times.||Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry by Mildred Taylor; delving beyond mere poverty, 10 year-old Cassie's family faces prejudice and hate in their Great Depression era story. This story won the Newbery Medal in 1977 and remains just as powerful today as it was then.||Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary: In all the Ramona books, there is an underlying theme of tough times. The Quimbys often scrimp and pinch, but in this story, Ramona's father loses his job. His depression results in tremendous anxiety and fear in the children, especially Ramona. Ramona gives voice to fears that many children today may have and shows us the inner workings of a child's desire to help when their parents and family are struggling. We worry about our kids...and they worry about us too.|
|Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse: In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1998.||How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor: Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother's calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.||Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor: Addie and her mother live in a small tralier with no steady income. Addie makes her own dinners with next-to-nothing in the cupboards and holds on to hope that things will get better.||Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart by Vera B. Williams: An absolutely heartbreaking story told through poems and pictures about two sisters who hold each other up even when their bellies are empty.|
|Spuds by Karen Hesse: Maybelle, Jack, and Eddie want to help Ma by putting something extra on the table, so they set out in the dark to take potatoes from a nearby field, but when they arrive home and empty their potato sacks, they are surprised by what they see||A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams: A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire|