This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Books and Methods Review - Books for Children and FAIR Club books

This is by no means a comprehensive list.  Just some good ones.

Books that Heal blog -

Children's Adoption and Foster Care Books

Children's Adoption Books by Age  - Great lists of children's books with mostly Adoption themes categorized by age and/or grade.

Books used in the FAIR Club:
Marythemom:  I pick up most of my books at the local used book stores.  I'm addicted to kids' books and keep them forever, but I see no point in spending a ton of money on books.  I have a huge selection, but I also downloaded articles and short stories from the internet -- whatever I needed to illustrate a point.

I like using moral tales and bible stories written for children (Veggie Tales are fun too!).  They are usually short and if the child can understand abstract concepts like analogies then we can use these as a basis for discussion.  We use "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" a LOT.  Some of the books I like are:
The Book of Virtues for Young People
The Children's Book of Virtues
The Aesop for Children
Arthur's Really Helpful Bedtime Stories

Berenstain Bears and Little Critter series -
Marythemom - These are simple books with good lessons and entertaining illustrations.  There are over 300 Berenstein Bears books on a wide variety of topics (manners, fighting, greed, messy room...) so I can usually find one that fits our circumstances.  
Berenstein Bears Get in a Fight This book shows how one little incident can snowball into a big fight, and sometimes even draw parents into an argument.
I Was So Mad (Little Critter) Mercer Mayer's very popular Little Critter stars in a picture book about feeling angry. With minimal text and funny illustrations to spell out every new situation, the book shows the Critter family saying no to everything Little Critter wants to do. He can't keep frogs in the tub. He can't help paint the house. Finally, mad at the world, Little Critter announces he will run away. When pals come by and ask him to come and play baseball, our young hero's mood quickly changes. He grabs his bat and heads off for the game, telling himself he can run away another day if he is still so mad.

The Dealing with Feelings/ Children's Problem-Solving Series by Elizabeth Crary:
I'm Proud, I'm Scared, I'm Frustrated, I'm Mad, I Want to Play, I Want it, I'm Furious, Mommy, Don't go!  Children learn by thinking through problems themselves. These books allow the child to make a choice and flip to another page to see the consequences of that choice.
Marythemom:  Remember the old "You Choose the Adventure: books?  I used these when I taught preschool and the kids really liked them.   
The Emotional Impact Series... Great series of books about learning emotional control.
Don't Pop Your Cork on Mondays!: The Children's Anti-Stress Book   I n this very informative and highly entertaining handbook for children, Dr. Adolph Moser offers practical approaches and effective techniques to help young people deal with stress.
Don't Tell a Whopper on Fridays!: The Children's Truth-Control Book The truth may be sacred, but many people--both children and adults--think lying is easier. Some people lie so often that it becomes a habit--a very bad habit--that reduces their own sense of self-esteem and makes others not trust them. In a clear and easy-to-understand narrative, Dr. Moser discusses the problems of lying and the importance of telling the truth. he offers thoughtful examples and suggests ways that can help children tell the truth. Dr. Moser's text is informative, entertaining, witty, and easy to read. David Melton's illustrations are outstanding. They are bright and clever, and often hilarious. Children are sure to love this book. parents are bound to appreciate its common-sense approach. And teachers and counselors will recognize this book as a valuable tool for affecting the lives of children in positive ways.
Marythemom:  Really like this series.  Good, practical advice presented in a fun with with cartoon illustrations.  Other books in this series we don't own, but should:  Don't Feed the Monster on Tuesdays!: The Children's Self-Esteem Book, Don't Rant and Rave on Wednesdays!: The Children's Anger-Control Book, Don't Despair on Thursdays!: The Children's Grief-Management Book,  Don't Fall Apart on Saturdays! The Children's Divorce-Survival Book, Don't Be a Menace on Sundays!: The Children's Anti-Violence Book 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens: The Ultimate Teenage Success Guide  Being a teenager is both wonderful and challenging. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey applies the timeless principles of the 7 Habits to teens and the tough issues and life-changing decisions they face. In an entertaining style, Covey provides a step-by-step guide to help teens improve self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals, get along with their parents, and much more. In addition, this book is stuffed with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens will engage teenagers unlike any other book.
Marythemom:  This is an excellent book for older teens, especially if you break it up into sections (it's a lot of information to process).  It was a lot easier read than I expected, especially after reading some of the other 7 Habits books for adults.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day  Think, Where the Wild Things Are, without the imagination.  Good illustrations and very descriptive of how we all feel sometimes.

A Big Fat Enormous Lie An empty cookie jar and a little lie that grows into an enormous monster. Marythemom:  Cute illustrations, and works with kids that can get abstract concepts (like a lie can be a monster that grows bigger with the lie).

Handling Your Disagreements (Joy Wilt)  Explains why people have disagreements and how to handle them before disagreements turn into arguments, fights, or scapegoatingThis is one of a series of books that came out in the late 70s, early 80s:  Tuff Stuff:  A Children's Book About Trauma, A Kid's Guide to Managing Money, A Kid's Guide to Understanding Parents, The Nitty-Gritty of Family Life, Making Up Your Own Mind.
Marythemom:  They are obviously a little dated, use a few big words and abstract concepts, and are a little preachy, but overall have some good practical advice.

How Rude!: The Teenagers' Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out Here's an etiquette book that teens will want to read—because it keeps them laughing, doesn't preach, and deals with issues that matter to them, as teens themselves reported in a nationwide survey.  He starts by explaining why etiquette is important—because people who know how to handle themselves in social situations come out on top, get what they want, feel good about themselves, and enjoy life to the fullest. Fourteen chapters describe the basics of polite behavior in all kinds of situations at home, in school, and in the world.

Teens learn how to be a host with the most (and a guest with the best), what to do (and not do) when going online or waiting in line, how to deal with rude relatives, how to act at the mall and the concert hall, how to make introductions, who invented manners, and much more. Hundreds of "Dear Alex" questions and answers cover everything from dating to breaking up, thank-you notes to table manners, ethnic jokes to social cliques, skateboarding to celebrating. Survey results reveal what teens, parents, and teachers think about manners and why they're important.

How to Behave and Why "No matter where you are or who you are, there are four main things that you have to do if you want to make good friends and keep them.  You have to be HONEST; you have to be FAIR; you have to be STRONG; and you have to be WISE, and there is no good in trying to fool yourself. All that isn't so easy."
In a time when all the rules for raising children have been redefined dozens of times, here is a book for bewildered parents from a simpler time when we all agreed on what was right and what was wrong. First published in 1946, Munro Leaf's How To Behave And Why gives touchingly sincere yet gently funny lessons in Honesty, Fairness, Strength, and Wisdom. Originally intended for the very young, but with meaning for us all, How To Behave and Why is a true classic, charmingly illustrated with childlike drawings, and with a timeless message. It is a sure guide for teaching children (and adults) how to behave.
Marythemom:  A little preachy and not my first choice, but good to use when they've read everything else!

How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger (Laugh & Learn) - Anger is a part of life. We can’t avoid it, we shouldn’t stuff it, and we can’t make it go away.  Kids need help learning how to manage their anger. This book speaks directly to them and offers strategies they can start using immediately.  Blending solid information and sound advice with jokes and funny cartoons, it guides kids to understand that anger is normal and can be expressed in many ways—some healthy, some not.  It teaches them how to recognize anger in themselves and others, how to handle situations and emotions (loneliness, guilt, frustration, fear) that lead to or mask anger, and how to deal with the anger they feel.  Young readers learn that violence is not acceptable and there are better, safer, more positive ways to resolve conflicts.  They also discover what to do when people around them are angry, how to get help, and how to locate other resources (books, hotlines, school groups) when they need more support.
Marythemom:  These are simple books with lots of pictures.  They give good advice in a "non-preachy" way.  I'd recommend the whole Laugh and Learn series:  Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves!See You Later, Procrastinator! (Get It Done)Don't Behave Like You Live in a CaveHow to Do Homework Without Throwing UpGet Organized Without Losing ItBullies Are a Pain in the Brain

The Kid's Guide to Becoming the Best You Can Be!  Developing 5 traits you need to achieve your personal best.  
Marythemom:  This was fun because it had activities.  It was part of the basis for the Integrity Study.

Taming Your Gremlin  There is a gremlin within you. He is the narrator in your head.
He tells you who you are, and he defines and interprets your every experience. He wants you to feel bad, and he pursues this loathsome task by means of sophisticated maneuvers: just when you feel you've out-argued or overcome him, he changes his disguise and his strategy. He's the sticky sort -- grapple with him and you become more enmeshed. What he hates is simply being noticed. That's the first step to his taming.
If you have a low tolerance for self-help books or they haven't worked for you, here is a more creative yet practical approach to solving life's problems. Through the powerful metaphor of the gremlin, presented so imaginatively by Richard Carson's writing and Novle Rogers's artwork, you will find ways to identify and banish the tenacious, self-defeating aspects of your personality.
Marythemom:  Great book, but definitely aimed at young adults.  I used it mostly with Bob because she could handle adapting it.  Another one for when she'd gone through every other book I had!

The True Princess  A Parable in the truest sense, this story teaches children the meaning of Jesus' words, "Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant".
Marythemom:  This book speaks to little girls who want to be princesses - and how to be a TRUE princess.  Beautifully illustrated.


Forever Child Series(  

The Forever Child is a series of fairy tales that are designed for use by parents and therapists as a tool to assist children in dealing with early abuse and neglect. Unlike other fairy tales, this series of books illustrates a number of the behaviors that are often seen in children with a history of early trauma, the parent guides provide an analysis of the root causes of these behaviors as well as step-by-step assistance for the parent.

All parents need stories they can share with their children to help generate interest in their backgrounds. Traditionally, foster and adoptive parents have had few choices in children’s tales that are specifically geared towards their child’s early life before adoption. The Forever Child series can meet this need for many families.

It is especially helpful to have the tales read aloud to the child and it is important for parents to read the tale first to determine if it is appropriate for a particular child and situation. Adults who have already shared the tales with their children have reported that they have served as a springboard for many meaningful discussions about birth families and birth history.

Nancy A. Clark, MFT is a retired therapist in the State of California and a seasoned fairy tale writer. She has worked with children suffering from traumatic backgrounds for over 20 years. She was employed as a therapist by one of the largest inner-city school districts in Southern California. Ms. Clark, a foster parent, has four grown daughters and has adopted a daughter with an early exposure to trauma.
B. Bryan Post is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of adopted children who have experienced trauma and neglect. An adopted child himself he knows firsthand the driving emotions behind the troubling behaviors demonstrated by some adopted children.

Marythemom:  I purchased the first three books.  They are beautifully illustrated paperbacks, but they were a little too specific in some uncomfortable areas and not applicable in others.  I felt these would confuse my kids who are very concrete in their thinking.  I did however have my biodaughter read them to gain some insight and empathy into what the adopted children have been through, and I really liked them for that.  We will not be purchasing the 4th book which is recommended for “MATURE adolescents, teens, and adults.”

Touching Spirit Bear Cole Matthews has been fighting, stealing, and raising hell for years. So his punishment for beating Peter Driscal senseless is harsh. Given a choice between prison and Native American Circle Justice, Cole chooses Circle Justice: He'll spend one year in complete isolation on a remote Alaskan island. In the first days of his banishment, Cole is mauled by a mysterious white bear and nearly dies. Now there's no one left to save Cole, but Cole himself.
Marythemom:  Bear liked this book, but it was a little over his reading level so it took him a loooong time.  If your child is a good reader with anger management issues, especially if, like my kids, they have a Native American background... then you might like this book!

Recommended Books:  
A Safe Place for Caleb: An Interactive Book for Kids, Teens and Adults with Issues of Attachment, Grief, Loss or Early Trauma  A Safe Place for Caleb is a comprehensive and richly illustrated resource for individuals of all ages who are dealing with attachment problems. Parents, professionals, and lay people will find this book helpful in understanding and addressing attachment disorders in children, adolescents, and adults. The first half of the book is an interactive story that follows the experiences of Caleb, a young boy who relates his difficulties and frustrations in forming and sustaining healthy relationships. He learns strategies for coping with attachment issues during his journey to the Safe Tree House, where he is introduced to the four "attachment healing keys". These act as therapeutic tools to unlock difficulties with attachment, and are presented using text and illustrations that are easily accessible for readers of all ages, even for young children. The second half of the book presents a summary of current scientific thought on attachment styles and disorders, and provides a wide array of assessment tools, photocopiable material and healing techniques to address attachment difficulties. Lists of helpful organizations and relevant reading materials are also presented. Based on established psychological principles, the book is a unique and imaginative guide for professionals, parents, caregivers, and people of all ages who are dealing with attachment issues. Marythemom:  I haven't read this one.  It was recommended

Even If I Did Something Awful?    "Would you love me even if I did something awful?"
"If I got orange crayon on the carpet? If I pulled down the dining room curtains? If I told a great big whopper?..."  But what about the "real" calamity? In a reassuring ending, Mommy proves she will always love her little girl, no matter what happens.  Marythemom:  This one was recommended, but I don't own it.


Autistic Against Antivaxxers said...

Hmm ... have you tried Sara Crewe? It's also known as A Little Princess.

It's by the same person as A Secret Garden.

Warning! TV tropes link:

marythemom said...

I love that book, but I'm not sure how it would be a good book about adoption? Unless the child has a similar story. It seems like it would encourage a child to idealize birth parents (not always a good thing), think foster parents are a bad thing, and expect to be rescued by some rich savior.

Autistic Against Antivaxxers said...

Heh...wrong tab. I was just commenting on it being an interesting story.