Have you ever read a book and really connected with it? It touched your heart (and your head) ? It may have been cathartic and allowed you to release some pent-up emotions or perhaps it made you feel less alone, knowing you shared similar feelings and circumstances to the characters. It may have empowered or inspired you, encouraging some resourceful problem-solving. For all of these reasons, a book can really speak to you and may even help you to solve a problem. Perhaps you have done this for your children too. You have intentionally chosen a meaningful story to help them cope with a difficult situation or to encourage them to speak about a circumstance in their lives. In essence, you have been doing a little bit of Bibliotherapy.
Bibliotherapy is using books to help someone address emotional, social or behavioural difficulties. In therapy, a counsellor would take a client through a certain process. As parents, we often just follow our instincts. Although simply reading a story will in all likelihood not solve a problem, it can be good starting point and may open up a valuable discussion with your child. I will often ask my older son what he thinks the moral or message of a story is and I am always surprised by his insights and perspective.
Recently we read "The Tiny Seed" by Eric Carle. It is a beautiful story of a tiny seed that travels through the four seasons and over diverse terrain to eventually land in the soil, ready to germinate into a flower. Although it was the tiniest of all the little seeds, during their travels, many of the bigger seeds were lost along the way due to the elements or for other reasons. This tiny seed however, beats the odds and becomes the most beautiful, extraordinary flower. People come from far and wide to see it, as it grows to tower above the houses!
I think the message in this book is so inspirational. To me it says that no matter the circumstances in our lives, sometimes the extraordinary can happen. If we have faith, God may in fact surprise us and not only answer our prayers, but exceed all our expectations. For me this is a beautiful , uplifting story of hope! "Heart Stories" is a name I coined for these kinds of stories...stories that touch, teach, inspire and heal.
The art work in this book is also lovely and we were inspired to do some "Eric Carle art". Eric Carle uses painted tissue paper to create his beautiful and distinctive art work, so I thought to paint ordinary typing paper with a small roller and try to achieve a similar tissue paper effect. I think the paper came out really nicely. Big One then copied a picture (our favourite) from the book. (I helped with the butterflies.)
I think the end result is just lovely (see the top photo). Now I have a wonderful reminder of this book's beautiful message. I definitely need to frame this one.
For more ideas (including class room activities ) linked to this book and other Eric Carle titles, you can visit his website.
I would love to hear about any "Heart Stories" you may have read to your children.
PS. I have linked this to Kids Get Crafty @ Red Ted Art's Blog.