Books for Coping During COVID-19

April 21, 2020

During these unpredictable times of disruption to normal routines and everyday events for military children, one comforting routine remains unwavering: storytime! While storytime is comforting and soothing in and of itself, it can also be utilized as a more deliberate method to provide military children the opportunity to deal with the complex emotions they might be experiencing in this rapidly changing environment.

Research shows that children are able to relate to characters in books, and then transfer the positive relation to their own experiences. By guiding children to develop connections with storybook characters, parents can help them navigate ways of coping in difficult situations.

How do you do this?

Children find it easier to discuss a negative emotion if it isn’t directly about themselves, so identifying emotions in book characters can spark a good discussion. Emotional awareness and processing are still in development for children and books allow them an outlet to identify that they are not alone in their feelings. In addition to emotions, books provide examples of resiliency.

Parents can ask simple questions during and after the story to help children detect the challenge, and resolution, to the problems faced by the character. Accepting emotions of favorite book characters, and celebrating their resilience to challenges are two vital ways that military children can bolster their own skills in these same areas to cope with the days that lie ahead.

United Through Reading staff has picked some books from our library that feature main characters overcoming a challenge. These books will help parents equip military children with improved abilities to successfully navigate current circumstances and the big feelings that are coming with the change in routine.

Book Suggestions

Ages 3-6

Today I Will Fly by Mo Willems
Piggy wants to fly, but she is unable to. She works to come up with solutions to achieve her goals, including asking for help and keeping a positive attitude.

Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton
In this hilarious book, explore a wide range of moods with your child to learn all about feelings. Discover who is feeling happy as a hippo, angry as a duck, or sad as a chicken as you read along.

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
This beautifully illustrated book explores emotions using colors. Written by Dr. Seuss and illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, this is one of our favorite books to learn about moods.

Ages 6-8

Dear Juno by Soyung Pak
Juno lives in the United States with his parents, while his grandmother is in Korea. They write letters to each other, even though they do not speak each other’s language. Juno is able to figure out what his grandmother’s letters say to him, based on the pictures and items she sends his way.

Escape North, The Story of Harriet Tubman by Monica Kulling
An easy-to-read, page-turning account of Harriet Tubman’s extraordinary life – from her childhood in slavery to her years as a conductor on the Underground Railroad to her later work as a suffragette and as a spy in the Civil War. One of America’s greatest role models and heroes is a great inspiration to keep persevering through difficult times.

Jackie Robinson, He Led the Way by April Jones Prince
Jackie Robinson became the first black Major League baseball player of the modern era when he stepped onto the field as a Brooklyn Dodger in 1947. Follow Jackie on his life from childhood to MVP-award winning baseball player, to civil rights hero – a truly inspirational story of hard work. This book is a great book for kids just starting to read longer books.

Ages 8-12

Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
In each book of this series, Jack and Annie have to work together to solve the “riddle” that Morgan or Merlin have for them. They usually end up learning about the person or place they’re visiting (in history around the world) and realizing that the people they are meeting had to overcome things as well.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
This classic chapter book finds Meg Murry, Charles Wallace Murry, and Calvin O’Keefe on an adventure through different worlds and time to find and rescue Meg and Charles Wallace’s father. The trio has to work together with their new friends Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which to overcome many challenges to find him and bring him home.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
In the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Percy learns that he’s a demigod and has to save the world before Zeus loses his cool. He and his friends face many obstacles and work together to find the lightning bolt and return it.