It’s no wonder that library patrons often ask for help in choosing a picture book, especially when entertaining grandchildren or visiting students as a “guest reader” in school. Woe to the harried parent who chooses a book based on its cover and is later surprised to find that she is reading a book to an expectant crowd of preschoolers and her topic is the Chinese Cultural Revolution, head lice, or the death of the family pet!
War, death, natural disasters – they happen, and a well-crafted picture book may comfort a young child trying to make sense of it all. These books may not be what the average person wants on the average day, but when they’re asked for, they’re not just wanted, they’re needed.
Yup, it seems as if there’s a picture book for everything – cancer, catastrophic flooding, Grandpa’s Alzheimer’s disease, Mom and Dad’s divorce, racism, sister’s Down Syndrome, but…
recently I was asked for a book that I did not have – a book for a young child with a chronic illness, an illness that requires constant and sometimes painful medical intervention. And then I began to think, what about a book for child facing a lengthy hospital stay? Sure, Madeline had her appendix out, but we never saw her in the hospital. Franklin went there too, but it was a quick operation.
Coincidentally, after I decided to write this post, a similar request appeared on the Kidlitosphere listserv – a librarian looking for a picture book for a child with cancer.
If you know of an appropriate book, I’d love to hear of it, but more than that, I’d love to hear your suggestions for other “books you wish someone would write.”(photo courtesy of morgueFile and free of copyright restrictions)