Library Books to Help Kids Talk about the Newtown Tragedy

By Jason Boog 

As news emerges about the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, we are building a list of books to help parents discuss the story with children, grade schoolers, young adults and teenagers.

We’ve linked to WorldCat records for each book, so you can find a copy at a library near you. Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments section. The Child Witness to Violence Project has a more complete bibliography, exploring all the emotions kids face while coping with such unimaginable violence.

A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M Holmes: “After Sherman sees something terrible happen, he becomes anxious and then angry, but when a counselor helps him talk about these emotions he feels better.” (recommended for pre-school through early grade school)

Why did it happen? Helping young children cope with the experience of violence by Janice Cohn: “With the help of his parents and teacher, a young boy deals with his feelings about the robbery of the neighborhood grocery store. Includes a note to parents.” (recommended for preschool-early elementary)

Lets talk about living in a world with violence: An activity book for school age children by James Garbarino (recommended for elementary school)

I hate Superman by Louise Simonson (recommended for older preschool-elementary school): “Being a kid is awfully tough sometimes, but having someone to look up to can help. James is extra lucky because he has two heroes, his brother and Superman! But what happens when your heroes do the unthinkable? James must find the strength to confront his disappointment when the people he counts on let him down.”

Tuff stuff : a children’s book about trauma by Joy Wilt Berry & Ernie Hergenroeder: “Examines in simple text and illustrations a variety of situations that cause varying degrees of emotional or physical trauma and how to deal with each.”

Students in danger : survivors of school violence by Rae Simons (recommended for 7th grade and up)

Shooter by Walter Dean Myers: “Written in the form of interviews, reports, and journal entries, the story of three troubled teenagers ends in a tragic school shooting.” (recommended for high school)