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Litchfield MN 55355


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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Books Can be Much More than Entertainment

It was my privilege to be invited to an interesting evening earlier this month. This invitation came from Heartland Community Action Agency.  Staff there invited me to attend an event called the Childhood Crisis Response World CafĂ©.

The invitation said, “Come and enjoy an evening of conversations about supporting children in crisis, discussions about resources available to providers, and perspectives from a child’s mental health therapist.”  To my surprise, I knew many of the women in the room.  They were local day care providers, who came to the event after a long day of child care.  Some of them had attended classes the same day to refresh their CPR certification.  I am always impressed by how professional these extraordinary women are.  They shared stories, carefully not divulging names, about the children in their care.  My impression is that any of them could do something else at a very high level, but they really love those children and they really love their work.

My contribution was to work on a bibliography of books that are available as resources to help families through the difficult times, whether happy, like an adoption, or sad, such as separation or death.  Julie Jansen, Healthy Foundations Project Coordinator for Heartland CAA, provided me with a list of recommended books, and I started searching.

For example, Sad Days, Glad Days, by DeWitt Hamilton, is about a child whose mom is dealing with depression.   Saying Goodbye to Lulu, Tear Soup, My Father’s Arms are a Boat, and Missing Mommy are all books that help children understand and cope with death.  

Mama Loves Me from Away explains incarceration to a child whose mother is in prison. 

My Red Balloon and Sometimes We Were Brave are about having a parent on military deployment.  The complete list is available at the children’s desk.

I found many books on Julie’s list currently in the Litchfield collection, and added a few of my own favorites.  Many more books from her list are available in Pioneerland Library System.  I also developed lists of books that are still in print, and I hope to work closely with Heartland CAA to add more books on these topics into the library collection.