Can books be useful therapeutic tools? They can. There’s even a name for therapy using books: bibliotherapy.

Books present problems to be solved in a safe setting. Books can help children think about and understand problems they’re facing in the real world. Working through a story about a difficult situation can help kids feel like the heroes of their own stories as they work through those difficult situations in their own lives.

Here are some topics children may need to cope with, and some books designed to help:


  • Bootsie Barker Bites by Barbara Bottner, for young children
  • The Ugly Duckling, by Hans Christian Andersen, for young children
  • The Goose Girl, by the Brothers Grimm, for elementary school children
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, for elementary school children
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding, for secondary school

Substance abuse by parents

  • My Dad Loves Me, My Dad has a Disease by Claudia Black, for young children
  • Up and Down the Mountain: Helping Children Cope with Parental Alcoholism by Pamela Leib Higgins, for elementary children
  • A Step from Heaven by An Na, for elementary children


  • Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown, for young children
  • Two Homes by Claire Masurel,for young children
  • It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear: A Read-Together Book for Parents and Young Children During Divorce by Vicki Lansky
  • Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman, for elementary children


  • Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley, for young children
  • When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death by Laurie Krasney Brow, for elementary children
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, for elementary children

Got another issue in mind? Just ask us! Contact us if you’d like to learn more about bibliotherapy.