Healing with books: Suggestions from Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital librarian

Sometimes you need a story that makes you laugh

Preschool

“Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach,” by James Dean, (2013) a my-first-reader book. Beginning reader (2013). Visiting the beach with his family, groovy Pete the Cat enjoys collecting shells and building a sand castle but resists going into the water or accepting a surfing lesson from Bob, despite the hot weather.

Youth

“Flora & Ulysses,” (2013) by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell. Winner of the 2014 Newbery Medal. It begins, as most superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but cynic Flora Belle does, and she is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry.

Young adult

“Better Nate Than Ever,” (2014) by Tim Federle. Nate has a plan that – with a little luck – will take him from his bland Pennsylvania town to New York City and land him a role in “E.T.: The Musical.”

All ages

“Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book,” (2013) by Diane Muldrow. The author’s humorous yet practice tips for getting the most out of life are drawn from more than 60 stories from the sturdy little books with the shiny cardboard covers and gold foil spines.

Sometimes you need a story that lets you cry.

Preschool

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty, illustrated by Bryan Collier. 3 to 6 (2013). Every morning a boy and his father play a game. “Knock knock,” says Papa, and the boy pretends to be asleep before jumping into his father’s arms. Then one morning Papa doesn’t come anymore, and the boy realizes his father is gone for good. In a rare topic for younger children, Beaty explores the theme of permanent separation from a parent.

Youth

“Fly Away Home,” (1993) by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ronald Himler. 4 – 8 (1993). This is a story about a homeless boy who lives in an airport with his father, moving from terminal – to – terminal trying not to be noticed.

Young adult

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. YA (2014). For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father Andy have been on the road, never staying long in one place. He struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where Andy grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, a boy who likes her but is hiding secrets of his own. Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his memories drag him to the edge of hell where drugs push him over.

All ages

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. All Ages (1964). Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy. Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave.

Mary Laverty is a librarian in the Family Resource Center of the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Reach the center at 315-464-4410.

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