The wonderful distraction of books: Reading to support children

The wonderful distraction of books: Reading to support children

Books have been key for many throughout lockdown and with September upon us, and the long-awaited return to school following months of disruption caused by Covid-19, we’re looking at literature to support children.

We hope the return to school will mark a reset to structure and routine for many and be welcomed by children and carers alike, but for some the transition may be difficult.

Last year we launched a guide to support children.  While this is aimed at children affected by hostage taking, much of the advice can help children experiencing any difficult time. In this guide we highlight reading as a key activity to help children take time out. In lockdown our mental health team – with the help of some teenagers – have been compiling a basic reading list that may support young teenagers and older primary school children.

Lara Symons, Hostage International Chief Executive, said: “When looking at the list of books to support children affected by hostage taking, we realised that many of these may also be of interest to parents, children and school librarians.

“After such an expansive break from going to school, we hope that the return will mark some semblance of normality, but many children may find it difficult having spent so long at home. We know – and research shows –  that reading can provide a brilliant way to help.

“As such, we wanted to share our initial list of reading ideas that may help children and use it as a chance to ask for more ideas and feedback.”

The following books have been selected, entirely independently, with advice from our mental health panel but also with feedback from teenagers who we asked to recommend books which they felt were uplifting or helped them cope through difficult times.

Lara added: “A child’s own personal experience and taste will mean that some books resonate with them, while others do not, so we pulled this list together just to give an idea as reading can not only be a great form of escapism but can also offer tips.”

Our top picks:

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. (The earlier books in the series are best suited to younger readers in this age group. Our family mental health adviser recognises the parallels suffered by the characters in these books and the experiences of children who have had someone go missing or held hostage in their family or suffered other similar traumas).

The Tom Gates series by Liz Pichon

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossman

Toffee by Sarah Crossan

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Margot and Me by Juno Dawson

I’ll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson

Can you see me? by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott

Every day by David Levithan

The boy at the back of the class by Onjali Q. Rauf

The 1,000-year old boy by Ross Welford

Are we all lemmings and snowflakes? by Holly Bourne

The best worst thing by Kathleen Lane

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon

A monster calls by Patrick Ness

If you have any further ideas please share with us via twitter @Hostage_Intl or Facebook @HostageIntl

Further reading ideas for other ages can be found at The Reading Agency.


September 2020


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The wonderful distraction of books: Reading to support children
The wonderful distraction of books: Reading to support children