Often when we think of picture books, we think only of fiction. As I’ve delved into the treasure trove that is my local library’s picture book shelves, I’ve discovered the vast range of subjects in the non-fiction section. So many of them offer great soil for growing a garden of lessons for children in religious communities, in private schools, homeschools, or in therapeutic situations.
Using books (of stories, facts, or poetry) as therapeutic tools is called bibliotherapy. I learned this extraordinary word in my training as a school psychologist. I was already a lover of picture books. Using such a non-threatening, familiar, and imaginative object to promote self-reflection made so much sense to me.
As I’ve demonstrated many time here at PBT, picture books can encourage spiritual conversations and important social-emotional growth in children and adults. They can be particularly helpful when crises occur or difficult issues arise. Bibliotherapy is traditionally used in child therapy, but I suggest that a well-selected picture book and rich conversation with a skilled therapist can open a door to healing and/or better skills in adults as well. Here’s a couple of links if you want to know more about bibliotherapy:
Today’s featured author, Shelly Rotner, has such a wonderful array of books, each with her delightful photographs! You can supplement a lesson or even build a series of lessons around one or more of her books. You might want to consider taking similar photos of your children as a part of your lesson. The kids (and their parents) would love that!
Here’s a partial list of books in which Shelley Rotner is author, photographer, or both: