Saturday, December 15, 2012

Library Books to Help Kids Talk about the Newtown Tragedy

By Jason Boog on Galley cat, December 14, 2012 

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)

The Bookman wonders how many appalling tragedies of this kind must occur in the US before they do something about their pathetic gun laws? 

and another piece on the subject also by Jason Boog:

Guidance for Writing About Tragedy

People around the world are writing about the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut today. The DART Center for Journalism and Trauma has a concise and helpful guide (PDF link) for anyone writing about a tragedy, advice that can be applied to everything from Twitter posts to news stories to blog posts.
We’ve collected a few important points, but all writers should read this resource before writing about this tragedy. Here are three excerpts:
“When writing about victims, focus on the person’s life. Find out what made the person special: personality, beliefs, environment (surroundings, hobbies, family and friends), and likes and dislikes. Treat the person’s life as carefully as a photographer does in framing a portrait.”

“avoid words and terms such as ‘closure,’ ‘will rest in peace’ or ‘a shocked community mourns the death.’ Use simple and clear words as good writers do for any story.”

“Use quotes and anecdotes from the victim’s relatives and friends to describe the person’s life. Especially those that tell how the person had overcome obstacles. Seek current photos of the victim (but always return them as soon as possible). This way, you know what the person looked like in life.”
In addition, the site offered these links:
Quick tips for interviewing children.
The Dart Center’s comprehensive guide, ”Covering Children and Trauma.”
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network‘s resources on responding to a school crisis, suggestions for educators, and age-related reactions to a traumatic event.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration‘s Tips for Talking to Children and Youth. After Traumatic Events
(Link via Maryn McKenna & Laura Hazard Owen)

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