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A Book on Every Bed: Big Questions, Little People

Mommy, where do babies come from?
Mommy, is Grandma in Heaven? Can she hear us?
Mommy, why does Billy have a penis and I don’t?
Daddy, why is mommy crying?
Mommy, doesn’t daddy love us anymore? Will I ever get to see him?
When will I get to see my friend Lisa again? Why did she have to move away?
Why does Nathan push me around? Doesn’t he like me?
When can we go home? I’m tired of living here. I miss my friends.
How come no one will play with me?

Just because they are little kids doesn’t mean that they don’t have to deal with big issues!

Group of five children thinking

It seems to me that little kids have a lot of big problems we didn’t have to worry about. When I was a kid you could go to the store or walk to school with your friends and no one would attack you. You could roam the neighborhood until dark and your parents didn’t freak out because everyone in the neighborhood knew all the kids and they had your back.

There was no cyber bullying because cyberspace was still the stuff of science fiction.

Now kids are warned of stranger danger. They are cautioned against using public washrooms or walking home alone.

And kid anxieties are not limited to safety issues. With the divorce rate soaring over 50% kids are often worried and sad about parent separations and what they did to cause this split. Kids also worry about sickness and injury. They are a lot more in tune with things like Down Syndrome and Aspberger’s Syndrome and asthma and juvenile diabetes and leukemia. Their classrooms often deal with attention deficit disorder and behavioral issues we didn’t have to contend with as kids.

Big sister comforting her younger sister.

Kids ask a lot of questions as they try to sort out the challenges of their world. Sometimes these questions leave the adults in their lives overwhelmed about how to answer them.

As kids struggle to deal with issues like illness or the death of a loved one, separation from a non-custodial parent or a friend moving away, sometimes, reading a book together is an ideal way to deal with a big issue. The discussion that ensues from sharing a book may satisfy a child’s curiosity. The information may be as much as he needs at that point.
Using books to help children make sense of a terrifying or confusing issue is called bibliotherapy. Books can serve the following purposes:

* provide information

* provide insight

* stimulate discussion about problems

* communicate new values and attitudes

* create awareness that other people have similar problems

* provide realistic solutions to problems
Children often cannot verbalize their feelings. Sharing a book about the topic often serves as a conversation starter. Giving kids a story line can often open the floodgate—for both child and adult.

The two biggest issues in using bibliotherapy are: which book and how. Besides the books I have suggested here, children’s libraries, bookstores and other sources like teachers and counselors can often help in the selection of just the right book.

Bibliotherapy may be used in several ways: Through sharing the book and answering your child’s questions as you read you may alleviate anxiety, develop the child’s self-concept, increase his understanding of human behaviors, and reduce emotional or mental stress.
The sharing of just the right book allows the reader to understand that he is not the only one experiencing particular problem. He may then be more willing to discuss the problem more openly and seek answers to the questions that are troubling him.

big questions

This is not just about reading a book together. You are responsible to motivate your child, provide time to read and follow up time to discuss the book and his issues.

The follow-up time allows your child to ask questions but it also allows you to ask questions to seek information about how he is feeling. It is also a time for you to share your fears or regrets or sadness too. It’s okay for a child to know his parents are sad or lonely or worried as long as he knows that his environment is safe.

Richly Middle Class supports A Book on Every Bed by giving away a book to one lucky reader each month. The book this month’s selection is: Big Questions Little People.

It is an excellent book for school-age children who are beginning to ask those questions for whom their parents don’t have easy answers. We at Richly Middle Class hope that it will be a rewarding reading and discussion starter for the lucky winner of this month’s A Book on Every Bed giveaway.

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Be the change you'd like to see in the world. Gandhi - Always, Gail

About glennon

Gail is a former teacher, a published writer, and a professional editor. She makes her home in Canada for the summer and Florida for the winter. She loves to write, to travel, and to meet new writers through her editing business. She is thrilled to play a small part in Richly Middle Class. Visit her website at http://www.gleditingandcopywriting.com.


  1. i want my kids to have as much knowledge as possible
    kelly thompson recently posted…DIY Pretty Boxes -cheapMy Profile

  2. My youngest son seems to always ask the questions I don’t have an immediate answer to. I would love to add this book to our library to pull out and read with him. Right now his favorite book is Go Dog Go and we read it every night.
    Ronda recently posted…Coupons Expiring Soon ~ Welch’s, Heinz, etc. Print Now!My Profile

  3. My youngest is four now and he is so full of questions! I try to always answer as best as I can and we look up anything that I don’t know the answer to :) Great post!
    Foodie in WV recently posted…Centrum Flavor Burst ReviewMy Profile

  4. Hi Cynthia:

    This is a great book. I hope you and Madyson found answers to lots of questions in it. I look forward to hearing which lucky family wins this book. Thanks to Richly Middle Class for supporting the Book on Every Bed reading program!

    glennon recently posted…The Best Revenge on Your EnemiesMy Profile

  5. Hi Gail,

    I recently order this book for my child. She is the baby bee of questions. I am so happy that this is our book of the month. I really think that a lot of parents will appreciate this book.
    cynthiatw recently posted…The Best Revenge on Your EnemiesMy Profile

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