Nothing about this short post is meant to make light of the very dangerous, potentially deadly impact of HURRICANE IAN heading toward Florida. Those likely to be most affected have prepared “go bags”, shutters, escape plans, etc. Take good care, everyone, to ready those essentials first. But if there are children within your planning circle, or if your plans include sheltering in a designated public space, consider tucking a picture book or two into your bag. If you don’t have these titles on hand, choose any favorite(s). The comforting experience of a caring voice sharing familiar words, images, and characters is beyond measure.
My own recent picture book, IS IT OVER? recognizes fear of storms as transcending age, gender, and addresses our inability to personally control outcomes. But it celebrates the power of story and imagination as paths to comfort and hope during the deepest of worries. And, of course, love and trust are reassuring ingredients.
From prior posts on my picture book blog, UNPACKING THE POWER OF PICTURE BOOKS, there are more suggestions for titles that allow young (and old) audiences to encounter threatening storms, and worse, vicariously, learning that humans and nature itself will survive extreme weather. Click each title for a short review/summary and find a title-click book link to purchase.
By the way, libraries are priceless sources for countless more related books, both fiction and nonfiction, and are sometimes designated safe shelters during emergency conditions. What a grace to find yourself among such comfort when times are at their worst.
OVER IN THE WETLANDS by Caroline Starr Rose is set in bayou country during a hurricane and has the lilting language and sprawling scenes that will both inform and soothe. Re-readings will be welcome, too, as a bedtime story.
As I mentioned, books that provide a sense of HOPE throughout struggles will be especially welcome, and I suspect there will be many an eager adult ear turning toward those who read aloud to the young ones.
More examples include TOGETHER WE GROW: Building a Peaceable Kingdom in which Nature’s threats form the common thread that pulls even instinctive enemies into common company and comfort. NOAH BUILDS AN ARK has a similar story trajectory while safely tucked into a familiar scene in a child’s yard.
And HERE’S a post that links/reviews several recent picture books involving storms.
My hopes for safety for all go with this post. For those not immediately affected by Hurricane Ian’s threats, sharing these books will lay a foundation of emotional security in children before circumstances might make them feel intensely vulnerable.
And aren’t we all, really, intensely vulnerable?