Denise Evans, Clinical Counsellor

Bruno Bettleheim in the “Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales,” recommended that children read fairy tales, believing that the metaphors in the tales deepen a child’s understanding of their own problems and teach the child that even problems that seem to be overwhelming can be solved. The stories can help the children to realise their own resiliency. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which are powerful folk tales gathered and compiled by the Brothers Grimm offer many complex stories and layered metaphors, but the stories can be overwhelmingly dark. Please read them and decide for yourself if you would like to offer them to your children. The following are other possibilities, mostly picture books.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move, Judith Viorst, 1994, 1992, Scholastic.
Children identify with Alexander’s dilemmas.

Animalia, Graeme Base, 1987, Stoddart.
Children love to seek the things and animals that begin with the letter of the alphabet in this wondrously illustrated book.

Bamboozled, David Legge, 1994, Scholastic Inc.
A loving relationship between granddaughter and grandfather juxtaposed with complicated, silly illustrations.

Bruno in the Snow, Sylvie Daigneault, 1994, HarperCollinsPublishersLtd.
The adventures of Bruno a small bear cub, found and rescued by his parents. 

Chrysanthemum, Kevin Henkes, 1991, Scholastic.
Chrysanthemum is bullied in school because her name is so long. Accurate portrayal of how little girls bully.

Dear As Salt, Rafe Martin, Vladyana Krydorka (ills), 1993, Scholastic Canada.
A princess’ father orders her killed. Her mother hides her and she eventually meets and marries the prince. She reconciles with her father.

Dogger, Shirley Hughes, 1977, Red Fox.
A little boy loses his special toy. He finds it and his sister comes to the rescue.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Kathleen and Michael Hague, Michael Hague (ills), 1980, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers.
An intrepid princess who is sold to a bear by her family, who breaks her word and then perseveres through many adventures to find her prince and marry him.

Fat Charlie’s Circus, Marie-Louise Gay, 1989, Stoddart.
Fat Charlie’s love of performing gets him into difficulty. His grandmother helps him to save face.

Hide and Sneak, Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak, 1992, Annick Press.
A little girl plays a dangerous game with an Ijiraq but manages to get herself out of trouble.

Jess was the Brave One, Jean Little, Janet Wilson (ills), 1991, Puffin Books.
The different strengths of two sisters.

Little Wonder, Robin Muller, 1994, Scholastic Canada Ltd.
A small dog finds its voice and its way.

Mirette on the High Wire, Emily Arnold McCully, 1992, Scholastic Inc.
A  young girl finds her calling and her teacher his courage.
Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt, Barbara Smucker, Janet Wilson (ills.), 1996, Stoddart.
Celebrating a child’s loving connection to her grandmother and her new beginning through the gift of a quilt.

Something From Nothing, Phoebe Gilman, 1992, Scholastic.
A celebration of the connection between a child and his grandfather. The mice are delightful.

The Forbidden Door, Marilee Heyer, 1988, Puffin Books.
A young woman leaves the safety of her ancestral home, faces and overcomes the dangers of the outside world.

The Princess Who Danced with Cranes, Annette LeBox, Kasia Charko (ills.), 1997, Second Story Press.
Balancing traditional celebrations with new games so that all are cared for.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Robin Muller, 1985, Kids Can Press.
A young man outsmarts his evil teacher to free himself and the princess.

The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks, Katherine Paterson, Leo and Diane Dillon (ills.),1990, Scholastic.
A Japanese folktale celebrating the kindness of those caring for others.

The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real, Margery Williams, Michael Green (ills.), 1981, Running Press.
A small velvet rabbit’s journey to becoming real.

Tops and Bottoms, Janet Stevens, 1995, Scholastic Inc.
A trickster rabbit teaches bear a valuable lesson.

Town Mouse, Country Mouse, Jan Brett, 1994, Scholastic Inc.
A classic story of being happy where you are.
When Grandma Came, Jill Walsh,  Sophy Williams (ills.), 1992, Puffin Books.
The grandmother expresses her love for her granddaughter in unique ways.

When I’m Big, Debi Gliori, 1992, Candlewick Press.
A child’s view of the freedoms when an adult.

© 2010 Sea to Sky Counselling, Denise Evans. Website Development Goodwin Studios