Friday, March 1, 2019

ReFoReMo Day 1: Founders Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call Talk Bibliotherapy


Welcome to ReFoReMo 2019!  As ReFoReMo begins today, we're excited to build a consistent habit of exploring mentor texts together.  Reading takes us on an emotional journey that both enhances our writing skills and brings joy to our lives.  So why not start with some bibliotherapeutic books?

Bibliotherapy is the use of books as therapy. As a therapist, Kirsti uses books with her clients to evoke discussion and help clients heal. A bibliotherapeutic picture book disguises a lesson as an emotional journey. What starts as character interaction transfers to the readers' background experiences. Relating to the characters enables healing and problem solving.  Although we may not directly relate to every problem portrayed in stories, they also build empathy and act as windows to the world around us.

Character to Character

Carrie: 
Emotion starts with character interaction.  In Be Kind, by Pat Zietlow Miller, compassion is number one as a new classmate struggles to find her place and another contemplates what she can do to help. We have all struggled to fit in at one time or another, and therefore, the emotion and problem transfers to us as readers.  






Kirsti: 
The Day you Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez, is another powerful example of feeling different, yet finding friendship. Filled with lyrical language, and powerful imagery, the story helps everyone know that they are not alone.








I love Jory John and Lane Smith's Giraffe Problems.  Giraffe is unsatisfied with his long neck and when he meets Turtle who is unsatisfied with his short neck, they form a friendship that helps Giraffe realize the positives of his own neck situation. Funny text interweaves with expressive illustrations that resonate with  anyone who has been disillusioned with their own traits.







In Stegothesaurus, by Bridget Heos and T. L. McBeth, Stegothesaurus experiences a relationship journey that involves feeling different from his brothers, finding someone he thinks he has a lot in common with, and then realizing his brothers are the ones who love him best after-all. This journey helps us realize that what  really matters in relationships is connection and love.






Reader to Character

Carrie: 
Although Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola is not a recent picture book, it is one of the first picture books I read long ago that allowed me to have a holistic experience with the characters. Tomie’s traditions with his grandparents made me think of my own family relationships, and therefore I inherited little Tomie's emotions. Even though I had not lost a grandparent when I first read it, it helped me prepare for what would happen in the future.





Likewise, empathy and compassion can transfer to us even when we have not experienced something directly. As I read Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant, I did not have a pet a the time, but I internalized the meaningful relationship. Now that I have a cat of my own, I look at it from a deeper emotional perspective.








Kirsti: 
In Sterling, The Best Dog Ever, by Aidan Cassie, the reader empathizes with Sterling, who is determined to be what others want him to be. Everyone has had an experience with people pleasing in a way that is inauthentic. When Sterling realizes that he is loved for being himself, we have the opportunity to apply this lesson to ourselves.







Similarly, in Rot The Cutest in the WORLD!, by Ben Clanton, the reader sympathizes with a potato named Rot who feels like he needs to be like all the other contestants in a cuteness contest.This results in hilarious attempts to be someone that he isn't. In the end, we learn that cuteness really is in the (potato!) eye of the beholder.







Reader as the Observer

Carrie: 
Sometimes a problem is misunderstood by others, which creates additional obstacles for the main character. In Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka, Niko draws his feelings as abstract art, but others cannot understand what he is doing. Niko struggles to connect fully with others and our eyes are opened to individual differences through observation.







Other times, characters are blind-sided by overwhelming traumas which change the course of their lives. Healing is part of their journey but does not come easily. In Rescue & Jessica: A Life-ChangingFriendship by Jessica Kensky, the reader observes parallel perspectives from a therapy dog and a girl who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. Both perspectives are not likely to be something the reader has experienced directly, yet the reader is still part of the emotional journey.



As you study bibliotherapeutic picture books, we hope you reveal a deeper understanding of successful emotional journeys. Happy reading and writing as ReFoReMo 2019 begins!
What mentor texts have helped you create emotional journeys in your writing?


Carrie is offering a quick-look critique and Kirsti is offering a signed copy of her book, The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall to one lucky winner. To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 4, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.

Carrie Charley Brown is the founder and co-coordinator of ReFoReMo. She eats, sleeps, and breathes picture books as a library media specialist, writer, and critique mentor. Carrie contributed as a 2014/2015 CYBILS fiction picture book panelist and regional advisor for SCBWI North Texas. She enjoys supporting the kidlit community by spreading mentor text love.





Kirsti Call is the co-coordinator of ReFoReMo and a marriage and family therapist who uses bibliotherapy with every client. She reads, critiques and revises every day as a member of various critique groups, and blogs for Writers Rumpus. As the author of The Raindrop Who Couldn't Fall, Kirsti coaches revision at school visits through interactive writing, singing, and of course, reading for research! Kirsti contributed as a 2015 CYBILS YA Fiction panelist and 2016-2018 CYBILS fiction picture book panelist. She is repped by Emma Sector at Prospect Agency.

282 comments:

  1. I love that picture books can be used for bibliotherapy! Looking forward to reading these titles!

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  2. I love these examples. The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld and The Rough Patch by Brian Lies are two recent books that have served as mentor texts for me when it comes to emotional journeys.

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  3. What a wonderful way to start! Picture books as emotional journeys to heal and transform our experiences and relationships! Your choices were wonderful!

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  4. Great examples! Thanks for sharing these important mentor texts, ladies!

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  5. So excited to begin ReFoReMo 2019. Thank you for these mentor texts. Ida Always helps me feel close to my mom when I am missing her. There’s also nothing like a humorous picture book to pick me up when I’m feeling down. My current favorite is Misunderstood Shark.

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  6. Yay for Day 1! I love the pb "ROT"--hilarious. Trying to find Giraffe Problems but am in Europe so, as usual, won't be able to acquire everything. Glad to follow along as best I can!

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    1. Glad you get some of them! I love ROT and how humor can teach us about ourselves.

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  7. I didn’t even know there was a category of bibliotheraphy! Thanks so much for the knowledgeable post.

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  8. You’ve listed some of my favorites ❤️ I just got The Good Egg by John Jory for my daughter because she gets so stressed out when other kids misbehave. It was a perfect book to use to dive into that discussion.

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    1. Thank you sharing. Sounds like it would be a good one to share with some of my students.

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  9. I can’t wait to dive into these books.

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  10. I've read, and loved, many of these! I haven't read Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs yet & can't wait to do so to compare it with other loss of grandparent books I've read.

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    1. If you'd be open to sharing the other titles of Grandparent loss books in the FB group, we have a document for Bibliotherapy that you can add them to.

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  11. Love all these book choices!Great way to kick off the month.

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  12. Katherine SholtysMarch 1, 2019 at 6:53 AM

    Messages are powerful for kids and adults alike! Thanks for a great start.

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  13. My first-graders and I love Wild Robot and Wild Robot Escapes. They get so attached to the characters. We talk, write and draw about them often.

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    1. That's great that you are reading middle grade fiction to your first graders!

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  14. Picture books are an excellent tool for focusing thoughts on sensitive topics, and Cat Heaven is a beautiful example. Thank you for the book list; Rot is my new favorite!

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  15. Great examples! I’ve always given books to help with healing and dealing.

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  16. Great to be here for another year, Carrie & Kirsti! I have a few of these left to read. I love THE RABBIT LISTENED, IDA ALWAYS and THE REMEMBER BALLOONS for their ability to illicit emotion and help readers discuss difficult subjects. Great way to start the month.

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    1. Thanks for the extra suggestions, Kathy! One of the things agents and editors ask for more of= emotion. Reading bibliotherapy gives us great emotion models to learn from.

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  17. So glad to see this topic as day one! I've only read about half of these, so I'm looking forward to getting the rest :)

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  18. These are wonderful, great start to ReFoReMo! I'm enjoying this so much already and find myself reading ahead for a first round.

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  19. I feel a hush when I read books that help. Thanks for this list!

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  20. These are great examples and include a few of my favorites, as well. A couple more to add: The Rough Patch by Brian Lies and The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerfield. (Also love the two mentioned above!)

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    1. I love the Rabbit Listened. What an awesome book! Don't we wish we all had a rabbit to listen?

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  21. Wonderful star to the month. Looking forward to diving into these books.

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  22. What a great way to kick off the month. I’ve picked up several of these books but haven’t read them yet. Just yesterday I was had the inklings of a new story idea and these are just the type of books that will help develop it into more. I hope. Yeah!

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  23. I just started reading a few of these this week! I heard about these type of picture book at a conference I was attending last spring. Beautiful illustrations to go along with the message! Thanks! Looking forward to the month!

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  24. Love, love, LOVE this list of books. I can't remember if this book was a past mentor text, but Bear and Bird, by James Skofield, is a WONDERFUL book about unlikely friendship, enjoying the good times, and learning to cope with loss.

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    1. Thanks Rita, I'll check that one out!

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    2. Thanks, Rita. I read that one a while back. I really love The Lion and the Bird, too. Have you read that one?

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  25. Thanks for this thoughtful post, ladies! I love how in all those examples the author gets the message through in a light, subtle way. Just like it's supposed to be!

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  26. I was able to get my hands on 7 of these so far. Niko draws a feeling really spoke to ME as an artist. It was also interesting seeing my two kiddos respond to different books each when we read these together. I just love how powerful picture books can be. Such a good therapy tool.

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  27. I cry reading Rescue & Jessica, I relate to Niko Drawing a Feeling whereas my writing style is more like Rot The Cutest in the World. This is going to be an eye-opening month!

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  28. The two first ones are my favorites in this bunch. Happy to explore mentor texts again this year with you! Thank you

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  29. Bibliotheraphy is a new term for me and love the examples. I've just read Niko Draws a Feeling and look forward to reading the others.

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  30. Lovely post on a wonderful list of bibliotherapy books. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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  31. What a great way to start ReFoReMo!

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  32. Powerful words and feelings from little books!

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  33. What a great collection of books. I have chosen several for a lesson I am doing on kindness. Thanks!

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  34. Let the research begin! Thank you Carrie and Kristi for all that you do in the kidlit community. IDA, ALWAYS, BOATS FOR PAPA and THE RABBIT LISTENED are also wonderful books with emotional journeys worthy of studying.

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    1. Oh how I love BOATS FOR PAPA, too! Such a good one!

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    2. Boats for Papa is one of my absolute favorites!

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  35. Day 1 - learned something(s) right out of the shoot! Bibliotherapy...a new term to me, but I've understood and used the concept all along. Loved all these books and the succinct remarks by Carrey and Kristi. Thanks for all the effort you lovingly put into this resource.

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    1. Yay! Glad you got something out of this post!

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  36. Thank you, what an insightful way to start! I very much enjoyed these mentor texts. I also love, "IDA, ALWAYS," and "FINS FEATHER,"as emotional journey texts.

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  37. Today's reads were very interesting to me as I've never studied bibliotherapy books. My favorite was "Be Kind," not only the texts & artwork, but the fact that the idea of kindness was extended beyond the classroom, beyond the mc's town. I also really enjoyed "The Day You Begin." I haven't gotten my hands on "Rot" nor "Giraffe" but both of those look charming while imparting wisdom. Thx for a great start to the month!

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  38. Love this first post, Ladies. When we read to children, we have no idea the many healing benefits it can provide. Thank you!

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  39. Wonderful suggestions! And thanks for giving me the nudge to revisit some oldies but goodies, like Cat Heaven and Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs. Looking forward to a month of learning. Thank you!!

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  40. These are all wonderful examples. One book that has stuck with me is THE INVISIBLE BOY. Thanks for this excellent post!

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    1. Thanks for sharing another recommendation, Linda! I love the illustrations in The Invisible Boy. I need to revisit the text. Thanks for reminding me about this one!

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  41. Wonderful way to start March - bibliotherapy is my favourite therapy. So appreciate your collections, and insights, Carrie and Kristi =)

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    1. Love how you use humor in Sterling to help us think about ourselves in a different way!

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  42. I like THE REMEMBER BALLOONS because it's shows us how to leave the reader with some hope without glossing over the sadness of Alzheimer's.

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    1. Yes - I agree. I thought THE REMEMBER BALLOONS was good, too.

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    2. Thanks for sharing another recommendation and your insight, Mary!

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  43. This is a great intro to Bibliotherapy books, and a great selection of mentor texts. Thanks!

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  44. I love love love Cat Heaven. With or without the “message,” it is sweet and beautiful and whimsical and lyrical.

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  46. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge because it showed how each person is an individual as they age even if they can't remember. Thanks for the post and the selection of mentor texts.

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  47. Such great text choices and a wonderful way to kick off ReFoReMo! Some of my other favorite bibliotherapy books include The Remember Balloons by Jessie Oliveros, The Christmas Gift by Francisco Jimenez, Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld, Bunnybear by Andrea Loney, and The Rough Patch by Brian Lies.

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  48. These are great! The Rough Patch gets me every time. And, I'm always astonished that it's told in so few words.

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  49. I love these books and can't wait to read them all. I already knew a few of them like BE KIND and THE DAY YOU BEGIN. I'd like to recommend "ADRIAN SIMCOX DOES NOT HAVE A HORSE", by Marcy Campbell , illustrated by Corinna Luyken. The story in this book made me cry. The illustrations are also breathtaking...

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    1. oooh I can't wait to read it. I'll reserve now.

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    2. I have a question regrading the DAY 2 list of books. One of the books: The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol (Roaring Brook, 2019) will be released in April 2019!

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  50. Great list! Started reading. Waiting for my library to tell me others arrived. I'll pay attention to how the writer created the MC's emotional journey.

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    1. Sounds like you are ready, Barbara. Have fun reading and learning!

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  51. This year I will figure out how to improve my writing by focusing on these wonderfully created books. Thank you for choosing beautiful picture books for us to explore.

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  52. Terrific mentor texts. I particularly loved Giraffe Problems.

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  53. Yes! picture books have so much power to help readers feel empathy and develop a bigger heart about their friendships. And I love the idea of books as bibliotherapy. I will henceforth put a note on my door saying "Bibliotherapy session under way" whilst reading and taking notes!

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  54. Carrie and Kirsti, thank you for these wonderful mentor text examples. Bibliotheraphy is a label I had not heard before, but it's the perfect word for these type of books. Thanks for enlightening me.

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  55. I've already gleaned from these texts. Thank you!

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  56. Thank you Carrie and Kristi for doing this every year. I love researching all these books and ideas behind them, and I fall in love with some of them and buy them for my library :)

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  57. I love the idea of "bibliotherapy," and these are fantastic examples. IDA, ALWAYS is another poignant story that might fall into this category.

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  58. Thank you, Carrie and Kirsti, for introducing me to several new books to share with children and adults. I, like Karin Larson (above), loved GIRAFFE PROBLEMS! You’re right, Kirsti, about how the humor teaches us.

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  59. This is a great topic! Thank you! Can't wait to get reading.

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  60. Nice choices. Be Kind is my favorite, followed by Rescue and Jessica and The Day You Begin. Thank you.

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  61. Bibliotherapy is such a wonderful way to start this month of research! And I'm delighted by how many of these PBs I haven't read yet. Excited to dig into my library pile.

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  62. Great start. Great choices. Especially love Giraffe Problems!

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  63. This is a wonderful and very important post. What a great kick off!

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  64. Great examples of emotional journeys! I especially enjoyed Giraffe Problems. Thank you!

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  65. I jave only read ROT and BE KIND so far, but I can't wait to read the others . Thank you.

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  66. Thanks, great examples! I loved Rot and Stegothesaurus, showing how humor helps build connection. Another book I enjoy for emotional learning is The Rabbit Listened- such a gentle way to teach this lesson.

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  67. a great start, Ladies. I remember the book The Scar from a previous refoReMo.I appreciated reading Nana Upstairs and Nana Downsatirs as I'm working on a book about a grandmother and her influence on the family.

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    1. Sounds like Nana will serve you well, Susan. It's so great and showing influence and tradition.

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  68. I've never heard of bibliotherapy before. Now I want to know more! My favorite of these books is Giraffe Problems. Funny and yet touching at the same time.

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  69. I had already read Rescue and Jessica. I loved how the way they were able to share their story. AND, who doesn't love dogs!

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  70. Thanks for this wonderful first post. Mentor texts that come to mind for me are The Giving Tree and Love You Forever.

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  71. We're off to a great start! Thank you, Carrie and Kristi.

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  72. A great start! These are wonderful books to study!

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  73. I've always loved that books could be used in therapy! This is a great list. Thanks! Here we go!

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  74. What a great way to start ReFoReMo 2019! Thank you for your insight and book recommendations.

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  75. Books can heal! I love the concept of stories being windows to the world around us. I hope to one day write a story that can touch someone's heart.

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  76. Great post! Thank you for this great list of mentor texts.

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  77. I love these bibliotherapy books. I think they are extremely necessary for children and even adults. These books are great examples of why I love picture books so much. I can't get through The Day You Begin without getting choked up. . . These books connect and resonate with readers on a deep level.

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  78. Great list! I used books regularly as a school social worker. Especially helpful when running support groups for kids.

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  79. Love these bibliotherapeutic books! Great choices.

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  80. So excited that Reforemo has begun! Great topic and books to kick it off with.

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  81. I have to tell you that when my teenage son read ROT, he said "That just goes to show you that you've got to play to the judges." An interesting perspective, and not much different than the way artists often feel. I've been enjoying reading this list of books. Rylant's book made me cry. I loved NIKO DRAWS A FEELING and RESCUE AND JESSICA for the deep emotional journey. And the wonderfully-imagined STERLING seems like one of those books that only author-illustrators can produce. Thanks for sharing this wonderful list!

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    1. Love what your teenage son said and he's absolutely right.

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  82. Books can be great therapy. Stegothesaurus was a fun read with a funny ending!

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  83. Great books! Niko Draws a Feeling is a special book. Loved it!

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  84. Thank you for this great post! I love ROT and, because it is so hilarious, never really would think to put it in this category. Thank you for bringing that perspective -- that even humorous stories can delve pretty deep into the emotional. Some of my favorites in this category are ME AND MY FEAR, STUCK WITH THE BLOOZ, THE SNURTCH and THE WORRY BOX

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    1. Thank you for sharing the extra recommendations, Rebecca!

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  85. Great books to start us off . . . Thank you!

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  86. I am excited to start the journay. One of my favorites in this catagory is BOATS FOR PAPA. I cry everytime. Happy reading everyone!

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  87. These examples remind you of the power and importance a picture book can have...and how, as an author, we can make a difference. So excited to be doing ReFoReMo again! Thanks for this opportunity!

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  88. I think all of us can substitute our name for Niko's in Niko Draws a Feeling. His story is all about living creatively and how NO ONE - even his family who loves him so much - can understand his art. Don't we all feel that way when we share our ms's with loved ones? Finding my way to SCBWI and ReFoReMo put sme in my comfort zone - and I have the freedom to express myself with like-minded folks!

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    1. As creatives we have to work extra hard to bring our own understanding of our art to readers. A tall order to fill in a very small number of words!

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  89. So excited for this years ReFoReMo!! Thanks ladies for kicking it off with great tips!

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  90. Wonderful post, Kirstie! I enjoyed the above books immensely - well, the ones I could find in our library system, anyway.

    Your post also made me realize that one of my manuscripts just might be able to fit into this niche market with a little more work. Thank you! 😊

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    1. Yay! So glad you discovered something about your own story!

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    2. Thanks, Rene! This category is a special one for us and so important for writers to grasp. Emotion = connection!

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  91. Bibliotherapy, what a great topic. It's interesting to see how each book deals with the problem presented.

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  92. I couldn't find a few of the books, and had read a few already--then really enjoyed being "introduced" to a few new ones! (I can't read Dog Heaven or Cat Heaven without crying!)

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    1. Studying the emotion in these books can bring a whole new perspective upon rereading them, too. Here's to discoveries, Wendy!

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  93. This has been a lovely journey of discovery. So many beautiful books - I enjoyed them all. I have used books often to draw out discussions and hopefully help children make connections and see a wider world of connections to be found. Thank you.

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  94. I got some of the books at my library. Others I couldn't find. Ready to read them during the weekend.

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  95. I've never heard of bibliotherapy. Thank you for sharing information and examples of this treatment.

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  96. This was such an interesting topic to study. I hadn’t heard of the term bibliotherapy but I have read many of these PBs and enjoyed the emotional journey. Looking forward to doing more reading and research on this topic!

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  97. I really love books that have a deeper meaning, especially if they are also humorous and entertaining. It's what I strive to achieve with my own writing. I like The Day You Begin for it's interesting way of sharing stories-- a good bridge for a child to discuss their own story. *I hope this post works. I have tried to post here three times today, unsuccessfuly, with my Google account.

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    1. I can see your post, Andrea. I think when the blog is busy with commenters, it's harder to post. Thanks for sharing your perspective of The Day You Begin.

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  98. What mentor texts have helped you create emotional journeys in your writing? Corduroy, Leo a Ghost Story, Nugget and Fang, Cordelia, Don't Eat Your Classmates

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  99. I think of most picture books I read as bibliotherapy in some way or another. Even if the message isn't specific, if it makes me smile or laugh or cry, then it was a kind of therapy for me. Of these texts today, I most loved Giraffe Problems (which made me laugh out loud - how cute and clever is this book?) and Niko Draws a Feeling. It was just wonderful that he finally found someone to understand him -that's so important. Other favorites bibliotherapy type books for me include BOATS FOR PAPA, THE KISSING HAND and THE DOT. Thanks for the post!

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    1. And if it's making you smile and cry, you know there is something to learn from that kind of writing. :)

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  100. I've never heard of bibliotherapy before. Thank you for an informative post.

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  101. I thought this was an exceptional way to start the month. The books were complex, interesting and useful to children on so many levels. Thanks.

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  102. Opps! I posted as "unknown" for some unknown reason! I'll try again. I loved reading the selections today.

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    1. I can see this post, so just feel free to add your name in your comment next time.

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  103. I'll try again. I'd hate to miss posting the very first day!

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  104. Such a great range of books for Day 1! I love how the selection shows that bibliotherapy books don't have to be serious, or even sweet. Humor is effective, too! And I love Niko's dialog in Niko Draws a Feeling.

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  105. There is such a need for an explosion of texts that fit into this category of Bibliotherapy. Thanks for this list. Am reading away.

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  106. What a wonderful way to kick off this year's ReFoReMo! As the director of a mentoring program for elementary aged children, I can see how several of these books would meet some needs some of our kids have. Off to the bookstore I go! Thanks for the suggestions!

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  107. What an emotional first day. First time I've read all these books. Thanks for the suggestions. Looking forward to the rest of the month.

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  108. This is a topic I’m not very familiar with so I appreciate reading this post today.

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  109. I've read several of these books, and would not have thought to group them together like this. But now I see the commonality of emotional journey in them--thanks for sharing that view and for all the great book suggestions!

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    1. The subtle nature of the lesson and the emotional journey make all the difference. The books that hit us over the head with a lesson don't produce the deepest connections.

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  110. As a therapist working on a daily basis, bibliotherapy is in my heart. What a great way to begin ReFoReMo. Looking forward to a great month -- even if I did annoy my local librarian with my mighty list.

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  111. The Day you Begin is a special mentor text for me. I need to read Giraffe Problems. Thanks for your post!

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  112. What a powerful list of books! Way to kick-off Day 1! Thank you!

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  113. I SO enjoyed these mentor texts! But I enjoyed them even more after reading this post and considering the bibliotheraputic aspect of them. So enlightening! And I loved how varied the mentor texts are. Thanks so much, Carrie an Kirsti!!

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    1. That's exactly what makes ReFoReMo such a great way to learn! So glad you can take the perspective with you as you read.

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  114. As always I am excited to take part in REFOREMO! Thank you for all of your hard work ladies, you do an incredible job!

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  115. What a great start to this month. I like the way "Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs" and "Cat Heaven" gently touch on death for young readers or listeners. Also, how "Sterling, Best Dog Ever" and "Rot" show how you shouldn't try to be someone else than who you are.

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  116. Bibliotherapy is a wonderful method for young and old. Connecting with characters in books who have similar problems and challenges helps one to know you are not alone. It supports understanding and healing. Our 93 year old Mom enjoys read alouds. When books are shared with her, the experience seems to change her mood in a positive manner.

    Suzy Leopold

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  117. I really enjoyed today's selection, thank you. I've always found that picture books are one of the most powerful ways to explore tough topics. I recently read a wonderful book called "Teacup" by Rebecca Young that has stayed with me.

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  118. Last Stop on Market Street is a wonderful mentor text for showing not telling, expressing emotion through setting, and for less is more in terms of word count. It's also useful as a model for a non-didactic text that does open a conversation on appreciating what we have and learning the importance of giving to others.

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    1. Last Stop IS wonderful for so many reasons. I also see it as a window to the world!

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  119. Love these books! As someone who enjoys wordplay, Stegothesaurus really speaks to me.

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  120. Love these books. I never would have thought of Stegothesaurus as Bibliotherapy but I would love any excuse to read and use that book! :)

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  121. Great post and books suggestions, both in the post and the comments.
    I've found "The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles" by Michelle Cuevas and "The Heart and the Bottle" by Oliver Jeffers to be helpful in dealing with major changes in my life.
    This week, I discovered two amazing books by an Australian illustrator and an Australian author. "Invisible Jerry" by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Giuseppe Poli - is similar to a favorite book "Be A Friend" by Salina Yoon - about making friends and finding those on the outskirts. And "At The End of Holyrood Lane" by Dimitry Powell - a book about overcoming domestic abuse. Both very powerful books.

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    1. Woah, thanks for the recs, Maria! I would really love to see At the End of Holyrood Lane. I don't recall ever reading a picture book about domestic abuse!

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  122. Happy to start ReFoReMo with these book recommendations. I just read 'The Day You Begin' and it is beautiful with a message for everyone, children and adults.

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  123. I am an absolute sucker for any book that is able to set its hooks into my emotions. Interestingly enough, this has resulted in love affairs with books that specifically make me sad. Why sad? I'm not entirely sure. Perhaps to check that I'm not broken, a brake test for the sympathetic engine inside my brain. So I guess that is a form of therapy in a sense. Sometimes the best way to overcome overwhelming odds is to cry them out.

    I felt similar stirrings while reading the mentor texts for this post, but no full-bore weeping this time out. It's always the quiet moments that stick out for me, so while some readers may be moved by the image of Tomie imagining the shooting star as a kiss from his dead grandmother in NANA DOWNSTAIRS AND NANA UPSTAIRS, the sequence that resonated the most was seeing this little boy happily and playfully request to be tied to his chair just like his great-grandmother. Just a passing explanation given--to make sure that Nana doesn't fall out of her chair--but that explanation is like the crest of an iceberg we see above the water; there is a great mass lurking just beneath. An expert use of dramatic irony (the reader privy to a truth that the characters are not), but of course this is real-life dramatic irony as the book is based on Tomie's biographical experiences. As a boy he doesn't know the *real* reason his great-grandmother needs to be supported in such a way, doesn't know what oncoming event that fact intimates. He thinks it's all a game. The fact that his family encourages the notion makes it all the more heartbreaking. They want him to have this memory, just this little morsel, before the full weight of that iceberg comes crashing in.

    I was also particularly taken with Jessica's journey in RESCUE AND JESSICA. Talk about overwhelming odds. Though it wasn't explicitly laid out in the text, I could sense the pressures and the painful questions running through her mind: Why did this happen to me? Can I ever be the person I was before again? Scott Magoon's illustrations were beautiful and dignified; they emanated a feeling of warmth and strength, even in the moments of deepest uncertainty. This is one of my favorite features of the picture book, how the illustrations can tell a "separate" story of their own that compliments, reinforces, or subverts the story being conveyed in the text. Looking back on Scott's work, I sense that all through the ups and downs of the text his illustrations seem to say, "Yes. We got this. Keep going. Keep living." Not a bad feeling to have after closing any book.


    Thanks for the great start for this ReFoReMo newbie! Looking forward to the rest of the month!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your insightful comments, Jose! Incredibles! This sounds like a great discussion for our Facebook group as well, if you would like to actively discuss it with others. Feel free at any time to start a discussion about a text or share your perspective. What you say here captures so much emotion that it's proof that bibliotherapy is the real deal. I hope you are able to weave your feelings into a bibliotherapy book of your own, too!

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  124. “The Day You Beginl is one of my new favorites. So pleased to see it mentioned here. A heartfelt beginning for ReFoReMo!

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  125. I really loved all of these! I am still waiting for Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs from the library, but I was very excited to learn about bibliotherapy. Rot the cutest in the World was just so funny, and I almost cried reading Rescue and Jessica. The Day you Begin is absolutely lovely! All are great. Thank you so much for the wonderful suggestions.

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  126. I liked how Aiden Cassie took an experience she had as a child and turned it into a relatable and poignant picture book in Sterling, the best dog ever. Thank you to all the group members who gave other recommendations. I look forward to reading some of them, too.

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  127. Wonderful examples of books that take us on an emotional journey. One of my favorites is Rosie and Crayon.

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  128. Ju’nelle Skelton thanks for the introduction into bibliotherapy books. Although I had heard of some of these titles, I hadn’t heard of term bibliotherapy. Thanks for your insight.

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  129. Thank you for a great start to ReFoReMo and reminding us why we write PB's.

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  130. Great texts to kick off the month. I'll certainly be keeping my eye out now for more. I particularly love how some very confronting concepts can be portrayed in a more gentle, yet still powerful, way by the use of animals.

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  131. Thanks for the great start- with so much information that was new to me! Niko Draws a Feeling is a great book that I did not realize is a bibliotherapeutic picture book! I'm looking forward to the rest of the months's learning!

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  132. What an impressive lineup for Day 1. It's a great mix of humorous (ROT, STEGOTHESAURUS), serious (DAY YOU BEGIN, NIKO, RESCUE) and whimsical (GIRAFFE). Learning SO MUCH already! Thanks for everything!

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  133. Excellent post, ladies! I love how books can not only help us deal with our own emotional trials but help us empathize with others'- thanks for these great mentor texts!

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  134. Reading these books was a good reminder to add more emotion to my own stories. It can be easy to forget this aspect of storytelling.

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  135. I have to admit that I'd never heard of the term bibliotherapy, but I love how we have so many different examples of different types of emotional journeys in the mentor texts.

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  136. Thanks for these examples. Your take on Rot was helpful too because I got a completely different message from that book. I have already used some of these in one of my classrooms. Love the whole list!

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  138. Wow - this was the first time I was introduced to THE DAY YOU BEGIN and I was blown away by the power of the words and the depth of the message. Thank you for this! It also serves as great mentor text for me for one of my most prized MS'. These stories are certainly all therapeutic and great to study them in that way. In the same way, I was also blown away by NIKO DRAWS A FEELING. what a great concept for a PB, and how true it all is!

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