I hate to use sentences like, “It’s time to get out the post-mass shooting books for the children again,” but it’s time to get out the post-mass shooting books for the children again. There’s been an awful lot of violence of all kinds in the news lately, and it may be hard for children and families to handle.
The American Psychological Association has a link on its front page right now for “Managing your distress in the aftermath of a shooting.” If you follow it, there is a related article on How to talk to children about difficult news and tragedies (with links to even more resources–including some helpful guidelines specific to children of different ages– at the end).
If you want some books to help with the discussion, these are ones that I recommend again and again (arranged by recommended age, from youngest to oldest).
The Moon Came Down on Milk Street by Jean Gralley
You’ve probably seen a quote attributed to Mr. Rogers about his mom telling him, when he saw something scary, to “look for the helpers.” That’s this book in a nutshell, as firefighters and rescue dogs and other helpers put things right after a disaster.
More general in their scope, but also helpful, are Aliki’s books Feelings and Communication. These are good titles for opening up discussion between children and parents, and I’ve recommended them in a variety of situations.
Sometimes Bad Things Happen by Ellen Jackson
Mentions some of the bad things that happen in the world and presents some positive ways to respond to them.
And God Cried, Too: A Kid’s Book of Healing and Hope by Marc Gellman
The angel Gabriel helps Mikey, an angel-in-training, to understand why bad things happen for what seems to be no reason and how to hold on to hope and faith during difficult times.
Bad Stuff in the News: A Guide to Handling the Headlines by Marc Gellman and Thomas Hartman; pictures by Meredith Pratt
Discusses how such problems as terrorism, child abuse, natural disasters, violence in sports, and hate crimes are reported in the media and some things that individuals can do to address these problems.
It’s a little dated now, but Media Madness: An Insider’s Guide to Media is a helpful tool for introducing the idea of thinking critically about what you see and hear.
What to Do When You’re Scared & Worried: A Guide for Kids by James J. Crist
This self-help guide has lots of practical and specific advice about how kids can handle their fears.