Bibliotherapy for Young Children


Examining the article, Bibliotherapy for Young Children by Gary Berg-Cross and Linda Berg-Cross, I was immediately excited because they focus on the age group which I feel is most overlooked: the ages of two to seven. Kids this age are most excited about books and learning but probably the least examined in the case of bibliotherapy.

At first, they make the distinction between readers’ advisory-type bibliotherapy and interactive bibliotherapy, which I appreciate because most people assume choosing the correct story will make all the difference, but it in fact goes a bit farther for me, when speaking specifically about bibliotherapy as a therapeutic craft. Then the authors explore why the age group of two to seven is a good segment of the youth population to examine – basically their amenability to therapists and parents discussing the material with them. Also, bibliotherapy can be used in the following ways with these young children:

  1. As a diagnostic tool.
  2. To help build a relationship.
  3. To treat communication deficits between parents and children
  4. To provide direct information on a topic.

In dealing with the age group of two to seven, the therapist must try and find books which are, “related to or are centered on the actual problem, are short enough to be read at one sitting, are easy to comprehend, and are capable of generating discussion.” The authors go on to list fifty-one books which fit these criteria in the following topics: Coping with stress in the family, feeling neglected and ignored in the family, feeling shy or lonely, fears, forming and identity, very personal feelings, handicaps and disabilities, old age, death, sex education, preparing for school, preparing for doctors, dentists, and hospitals, and city life and tensions.

Other than providing a list of fifty-one books and four uses for youth bibliotherapy, there wasn’t much else to this article. I wanted a study! I wanted results! I was so thrilled to have a topic which spoke to me about the age group I was interested in. Too bad it was informational rather than research-based. I truly did like the article, felt it was informative and applied all the titles to the database which I am creating, but I was sad to see the article end when it did.

Berg-Cross, G. & Berg-Cross, L. (1976). Bibliotherapy for young children. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 5(2), 35-38.




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