Bibliotherapy: Books About Bullying

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.  Each day, more than 160,000 students in the U.S. stay home from school from fear of being bullied (PACER’s Bullying Awareness and Prevention Facts).

Bullying affects not only the bully and the bullied, but also witnesses, who often feel helpless and fearful that they might become the next target.  Bullying can take many forms.  It isn’t just the stereotypical larger child picking on a smaller one, it can be more covert; spreading rumors about or excluding someone in person, on the phone or over the internet.

The PACER National Bullying Prevention Center defines an act as bullying when:

  • The behavior hurts or harms another person physically or emotionally.
  • It is intentional, meaning the act is done willfully, knowingly and with deliberation.
  • The targets have difficulty stopping the behavior directed at them and struggle to defend themselves.

More than 55 percent of bullying stops when a peer intervenes, so it is very critical that we as parents, caregivers and educators give children the tools they need to effectively handle bullying situations.

The library is a great place to get started.  Let us help you find the books, videos, and websites that will speak to your child and help them further strengthen their knowledge and resiliency.

Books offer a safe gateway into the world of difficult topics and bullying is no exception.  Children can identify with and learn from characters dealing with bullying situations, whether or not they have been in a bullying situation themselves.  Reading a story about a bully provides a springboard for discussion–“what would you do if this happened to your friend?” ” What do you think this character should do, who can they talk to?”  Talking about these issues and allowing children to work through a solution is a valuable tool in the fight against bullying.  A story about a bully allows a child to see the problem as an observer rather than a participant, which can make it easier for them to think about the problem and understand a solution.

This Bully Book List provides several titles that may be a good fit for your child. Another option is to give us a call or come in to your local branch to speak to a Youth Services Librarian about your family’s specific needs.  We are always happy to help!

Videos: Our collection has many children’s videos available on this topic: Children’s Videos About Bullying.

Another option would be to type “bully” into our Access Video On-Demand search bar to see several options for streaming videos that can be watched instantly through your computer/device.

Websites are a great place to find the latest information and resources available to combat bullying.  Learn about bullying facts, nationwide initiatives, and available resources for children, caregivers and educators from the sites below:

  • PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center: “Founded in 2006, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center unites, engages and educates communities nationwide to address bullying through creative, relevant and interactive resources. PACER’s bullying prevention resources are designed to benefit all students, including students with disabilities.”
  • Provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.
  • PACER Center’s Kids Against Bullying: Interactive site designed for kids where they can share stories, play games and learn more about bullying.
  • U.S. Dept. of Education: Offers resources as well as a rcently written article in their “Homeroom” blog entitled, “5 Ways to Help Your Child Prevent Bullying this School Year.”
  • The Trevor Project: “The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.”
  • Cyberbullying Research Center: “The Cyberbullying Research Center is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents.”
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: “The National Child Traumatic Stress Network was established to improve access to care, treatment, and services for traumatized children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events.”  This site includes an excellent list of resources for children, parents and educators on bullying.

For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit


October 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15-October 15 and the library has prepared a number of resources, contests and programs for this cultural celebration.  So whether you want to dance away the afternoon at a Flamenco concert or learn how to make a piñata, the library is the place to be for Hispanic Heritage month!

The Florida Department of Education has put together an Hispanic Heritage Month 2012 Recommended Reading List which includes suggestions for young children, teens and even adults.  The links below contain children’s books from these lists available from our library:

And be sure to check out the library’s Hispanic Heritage page for detailed information about contests for children, teens and adults. Students in grades K-5 are invited to design a bookmark celebrating “Our Hispanic Heritage.”  Information about last year’s winners, including a link to our Facebook album of last year’s winning entries can be viewed here.

Find a wealth of information about National Hispanic Heritage Month, including audio/visual exhibitions, images and presentations by visiting this dedicated site hosted by the Library of Congress.

For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit

September 1, 2012 at 12:00 am

Accurate Portrayals of Native Americans in Children’s Literature

Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers has chosen Saltypie; a Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light, by Tim Tingle, as its 2012 Children’s Literature Honor Book.  For twenty years, this organization has promoted the work of Native American and Indigenous writers and strives to ensure that their voices are heard throughout the world.

Saltypie chronicles a fifty-year span of history of author, Tim Tingle’s family, part of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. This story delves into several significant topics for children: American Indian history, American history, resilience, and family bonding.  The story is told from the author’s point of view as a child and relates both the challenges and successes that have been faced by his family members, particularly his grandmother. 

This story, and others like it are very important when it comes to disspelling stereotypes for children. President John F. Kennedy wrote in his introduction for The American Heritage Book of Indians,

“For a subject worked and reworked so often in novels, motion pictures, and television, American Indians remain probably the least understood and most misunderstood Americans of us all.” 

Books can function as both windows and mirrors–sometimes they allow the reader to peer into and gain better understanding of the different life of someone else, and other times, they reflect back familiar elements with which the reader can identify. Multicultural literature helps increase self esteem for children of minority backgrounds by allowing them to explore and understand their own culture and by showing them that they are not alone. At the same time, it promotes intercultural understanding and appreciation from those who are not of that culture.

Ask yourself, how would your child describe an Indian?  If words like teepee, war paint, feathered headdress, and moccasins come to mind, you’re going to want to explore this list of Native American Literature for Children.  These books, all available from our library catalog are either written by Native American and Indigenous writers, or are written in a way that accurately portrays the lifestyles and cultures of the people they are about.

Several other resources for locating and evaluating Native American literature for children and young adults can be found below:

  • Oyate
    Publisher and reviewer of books about Native Americans, particularly those aimed at schoolchildren.  “Oyate is a Native organization working to see that our lives and histories are portrayed honestly, and so that all people will know our stories belong to us.”
  • American Indians in Children’s Literature
    “Established in 2006, American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society.”
  • American Indian Library Association
    “The American Indian Library Association, an affiliate of the American Library Association, is a membership action group that addresses the library-related needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives.”
  • Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers
    Wordcraft’s works to ensure that “the voices of Native American and Indigenous writers and storytellers – past, present, and future – are heard throughout the world.”

For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit

August 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Bibliotherapy: Resources For Children Dealing With Tragedy

Our nation is still reeling after the recent tragic events of Aurora, Colorado and Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  While we as parents and caregivers struggle to come to terms and make sense of the senseless, the children in our lives are also being impacted by these and other events in the news. 

While they might not fully understand the situation, young children are observant and take their cues from adults’ behavior.  They might become frightened after seeing certain images on TV, or overhearing parts of adults’ conversation.  One of the things scariest to a child is when they realize that the adults in their life are scared or worried, too.  It can be difficult to approach the subject with them when you are still processing the event yourself.  The following are some excellent resources for reading to and talking to your children about scary events and helping them to cope in age-appropriate ways.

Fred Rogers Talks About Tragic Events in the News:  This article is an excerpt from a book available in our library catalog: The Mister Rogers Parenting Book; Helping to Understand Your Young Child, by Fred Rogers.

Resilience Guide for Parents & Teachers. The American Psychological Association offers this guide for parents and teachers on preparing and strengthening children’s resilience.

Tragic Times, Healing Words. This guide, offered by Sesame Workshop, was created for parents dealing with the effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks.  It includes excellent, research-based advice for helping children of all ages cope in the face of tragedy.  

The National Education Association (NEA) Health Information Network has created a Crisis Guide for school staff that includes helpful information for families as well.  This particular document created for parents and caregivers is especially helpful for developing responses to specific crisis-related symptoms your child may be experiencing.  It also includes a list of suggested activities for children to help guide them through whatever they are feeling.

If you are looking for books to help you and your children deal with a tragic event, please review this list of Books for Families Coping With Tragedy available from our library.  For additional advice, please give us a call or come into the library to speak with a librarian about finding the perfect resources for your family.

For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit

August 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Rainy Day Resources

Florida may be the ‘sunshine state,’ but we still get our fair share of rain–most of it this time of year. 

Don’t let your family get the rainy-day blues.  Head to the library to check out some rainy day resources that are sure to brighten your day. 

Stories Involving Rain:


Rainy day activities:


Snuggle up with a rainy day movie:


Need to get out of the house?  Take a trip to the library and explore one of our many upcoming programs for children.

For more information about these and other FREE programs and resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit

July 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Bibliotherapy: Books About A New Baby In The Family

Bringing a new baby home is a lifechanging event. 

This is not just true for parents, but for older children in the house as well.  An older sibling may be happy and excited for the new addition, or they may feel worried,  jealous or scared.  More than likely, they will feel a combination of these feelings along with many others.  

One of the best ways to prepare a child for a new sibling is by talking with them and giving them the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns.  When you should do this depends on the child.  Older children might benefit from hearing the news sooner rather than later so that they hear it from you and not from someone else; whereas very young children might have a hard time waiting and might benefit from hearing the news closer to the due date.  Every child is different and as the parent, you know your child best.  Taking their temperament and level of understanding in mind, tell them when you feel the moment is right.

When talking to your child about the impending changes for your family, it is important to explain not only what parts of their life will be different, but also those things that will stay the same.  Children want to be reassured that they will still be important, well-loved and cared for after the baby arrives. 

Books are a great way to start this conversation.   Photos or illustrations can show visually-oriented children what  a family with  a new baby might look like or how they care for one another.  Book characters can embody and describe those strong feelings, (both positive and negative) that children might feel with a new, or soon-to-be new baby in the house.  Another advantage books have is that they can be read or reread at just the right pace for an individual child, allowing them the time to absorb information and ask questions along the way.

Below are some books that can help you and your family as you prepare for or adjust to life with a new baby.  These are but a few of the MANY books on this subject available from the library.  Search our catalog, or speak to one of our Youth Services librarians to locate the perfect book for your situation.

For Toddlers:
We Have a Baby, by Cathryn Falwell (also available in Spanish)
Parents explain to an older child how a new baby can be both exciting as well as a big responsibility.

The New Baby, by Fred Rogers
Tactfully discusses a first-born child’s  feelings and frustrations as they work toward adjusting to a new baby in the house.  Helps children understand that parents can love more than one child equally.

101 Things to Do with a Baby, by Jan Ormerod
A comic book-style book written from a 6-year-old girl’s point of view listing activities that she and her family can do with her baby brother.

Spot’s Baby Sister, by Eric Hill
Beloved canine character, Spot plays with his new sister, Susie.

Baby Born, by Anastasia Suen
A lift-the-flap book celebrating baby’s first year.  Overview of milestones in newborn’s development.

For Preschoolers-School Aged Children

Lola Reads to Leo, by Anna McQuinn
Lola reads story books to her new baby brother Leo, and even though Mommy and Daddy are busy, they still have time to read to Lola at bedtime.

You’re Getting a Baby Brother, and You’re Getting a Baby Sister, both by Sheila Sweeny Higginson
These rhyming board books tell about the good and challenging things about having a baby brother or sister.

There’s Going to Be a Baby, by John Burningham
A young boy imagines what life will be like when his new sibling arrives.

Pecan Pie Baby, by Jacqueline Woodson
When Mama’s pregnancy draws attention away from Gia, she worries that the special bond they share will disappear forever once the baby is born.

Baby Science, How Babies Really Work; and Before You Were Born, The Inside Story, both by Ann Douglas
These books explain pregnancy and a baby’s needs and abilities in a scientific way, encouraging older siblings to make observations.

Welcoming Babies, by Margy Burns Knight
Describes how different cultures welcome babies into the world.

Big Brothers are the Best, by Fran Manushkin
This book follows a young boy as he helps to care for the new baby in his family.

Dogs Don’t Eat Jam and Other Things Big Kids Know, by Sarah Tsiang
A big sister tells her new baby brother all of the things he’ll learn to do by his first birthday, including walking, playing, and waving.

A Baby Sister for Frances, by Russell Hoban
Big sister Frances adjusts to sharing her parents with a new baby sister.  Her parents help her to understand that she is still loved and that all together, they make up a family.

Browse our collection:

For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit

July 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm 1 comment

Bibliotherapy for Children


Got a problem? There’s a book for that.

Bibliotherapy is the use of reading material to provide guidance toward the solution of personal problems or to provide a therapeutic way to broaden and deepen a person’s understanding of a particular personal issue. 

Friends, counselors, teachers, social workers, librarians, parents, and religious officials may all be bibliotherapists. Many people use bibliotherapy without even realizing it–for example have you ever read a book that helped you cope with a problem and then reccommended it to a friend going through a similar life experience? Children can benefit from this tool as well!

Books can provide an excellent way to communicate important information to children about subjects that might otherwise be difficult for them to understand or process. For example, reading a story about a character that is going through a certain experience and learning how they dealt with that experience can help a child to process and cope with a similar issue in their own life. 

In future posts we will be highlighting some different books and resources that can be used for this purpose for a variety of issues.  If you have a child that is struggling with something, i.e. new baby in the house, parent deployed, bully or bullied, loss of a pet, etc., your local librarian is here to help!  Come on in or give us a call so that we can help you in your search for books and other resources that will speak to your child.

For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit

June 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm

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