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Using Literature to Heal

The website “Words That Heal” is an incredible resource for addressing my guiding questions. Although it focuses on bullying, the website highlights the use of literature that addresses bullying and why it is important. Developing empathy is crucial in preventing bullying so it directly connects to my topic.

On the website I learned about bibliotherapy, or the use of literature to address problems. The writer provided a detailed list of criteria one should consider when choosing an appropriate book for children with underlying themes of empathy. Some of the recommendations included finding books with kid-friendly and recognizable language, a clear process of working through problems, and using situations that are relatable and realistic. It also discusses topics that are counterintuitive in addressing bullying and actually deter empathy. The topics are vengeance, suspension or expulsion of the bully, and peer mediation. It discusses why these are not representative of empathy while also providing a list of resources of books with topics of empathy and bullying.

ADL Curriculum Quarterly: Winter 2005. (2005). Retrieved July 06, 2016, from http://archive.adl.org/education/curriculum_connections/winter_2005/words_that_heal1.html#1
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Natural Disasters and Empathy

This website is an incredible resource because it discusses the importance of using picture books to introduce children to topics, people, and locations they may not be able to experience themselves. The focus of Reading Rockets is to provide children’s literature for parents and teachers to use in situations after natural disasters. September 11th sparked the creation of Reading Rockets and the more recent Haiti earthquake in 2010. Reading Rockets looks for quality children’s stories with great draws, poetic tones, or strong writing, to teach lessons and create stories that connect children to other people all over the world.
The resource provides a list of applicable books: non-fiction, historical fiction, and other picture books to discuss various major events that happened in our world. These events include the Haiti earthquake, 2004 tsunami in Thailand, and famous earthquakes. The collection of books about earthquakes is relatable to students here because we live in a state where earthquakes happen and will happen. The website also provides a list of recommended, children-friendly sites for more information on books for children as well as news links in case students want to do their own research.
This is relevant to my topic because it brings a new component that I had not thought of, connecting literature to social studies. It also provides me with insight in appropriate books, conversations, and events to discuss with children as a means to foster empathy and understanding. Some titles referenced on this page are Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou, Circles of Hope by Karen Lyn Williams, and Earthquake in the Early Morning by Mary Pope Osborne.
Understanding and empathy through children’s books. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2016, from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/understanding-and-empathy-through-childrens-books

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