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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Comfort food for the mind

January 10, 2013

As we begin a new year, let's hope it's memorable for all the right reasons unlike its predecessor. There are positive signs pointing to it.

We all remember superstorm Sandy. Images of destroyed homes, schools, businesses, and libraries will be long remembered — and most of us are on the outside looking in. It's hard to imagine what it must be like to try to find normality when you're living it.

But books help. I know from personal experience how comforting books can be. Readers of all ages return to books to find comfort when stressed — and authors ranging from Jane Austen to Maurice Sendak. I also have also seen the generosity of the children's book community.

The children's literature community has started getting new books to those who lost everything — individuals, classrooms, and libraries.

One publisher has outdone itself by donating one million books to areas hit hardest by Sandy.

Books can bring a welcome and necessary respite. They temporarily distance readers from the here and now, explore other places and times, and maybe let readers empathize with others.

After all, books are the comfort food of the mind.

Books for Sandy Relief

In this photo, students from The OLC School look over books donated by children's book publisher Scholastic Inc. in Jersey City, New Jersey, January 8, 2013. Schools in the New York and New Jersey area that suffered damage due to Hurricane Sandy will receive one million books from Scholastic with the help of K.I.D.S. to replace those destroyed in the storm. (Photo courtesy of Scholastic)

Comments

I am presently training to be a literacy teacher and I am also a parent of a two years old boy. I know reading does not come naturally, if it did persons of my profession would not be needed. It is extremely important that children be taught the importance of reading so they will know that reading is definitely the comfort food of the mind.Reading can definitely take you to places, especially kids who have such great imagination. It is a great idea donating books to children, especially to those children who suffered greatly and may have lost a majority or all of their scholastic materials. There is a blessing for every great deed and it is truly beneficial to be able to use literacy to change one family at a time.

Hats off to Scholastic! As a clinical social worker, I helped children who had been abused and later, children with a family member in hospice. Bibliotherapy definitely helps children work through difficult times and brings comfort when it is most needed.

Books are so valuable, one can stay at a fixed location and experience wonders and adventure; just by reading. I have experienced hurricane Sandy in my country but we did not suffer much damage. I am so glad i got to this article because I never thought about the books being destroyed.I am truly happy that much priority is placed on books; so much so, that a publishing company has donated one million of these valuables to compensate for the loss.Often times I see where lovers of books would tell children how to care and handle them. It's like they were precious gems that must be caressed gently. During one of our training lectures, us student teachers were cautioned and told, that we must ensure that the students are taught how to handle books. indeed, these items are of high value.There is an instance where the Ministry of Education in my country, sent a large number of books to a particular school.. There was no vacancy to house these books so the principal alerted the ministry to come back for the books and give them to another school. They refused and the principal decided to throw the books on the pavement, exposing them to whatever elements of nature that may be present.I now read this article and see how other people prize books. What could the principal have done; well for starters, the school is surrounded by inner cities. The principal could alert the ministry personnel and let them know of the situation; request permission to distribute to some members of the community. But then, that's another sore point. because of the low levels of literacy, books are not really appreciated by these people, so they would probably end up being destroyed. the notion that books are the comfort food of the mind,is a strong point and should be taken seriously.It is my duty to ensure that my students appreciate the importance of books, for them to see that books allows for one to travel the world without even being on a plane. i am so grateful for publishing companies such as the one mentioned. Those students who have suffered due to the storm now can continue to enjoy the mystery, the excitement and the wealth of knowledge that the books have to offer.Books are definately therapeutic. Lori puts it nicely...helps children to work through difficult circumstances and brings comfort. Books deserve that universal appreciation and persons, especially us educators need to instill in our young ones the value of books.

I am presently training to be a literacy teacher and I am also a parent of a two years old boy. I know reading does not come naturally, if it did persons of my profession would not be needed. It is extremely important that children be taught the importance of reading so they will know that reading is definitely the comfort food of the mind.Children should also learn that the end product of reading is comprehension. Reading is an enjoyable activity that children should willingly partake in; however there are children who think of reading to be boring. Parents and teachers should strive to motivate their children to read, instead of using reading as a mean of punishment. Parents and teachers should allow children to read from different genres and to make their own book selections. Children should grow to know that reading is fun and that reading is for everyone. Reading is needed in all content areas, it is for enjoyment as well as for acquiring valuable information. Reading can definitely take you to places, especially kids who have such great imagination. It is a great idea donating books to children, especially to those children who suffered greatly during hurricane Sandy and may have lost a majority or all of their scholastic materials. Though this is a great gesture, it is important that books selected for donation are suitable to the children's age groups and reading levels. It is also a good think to get the parents and teachers of these children involved so that they will be assisted in reading activities, especially the struggling readers.There is a blessing for every great deed and it is truly beneficial to be able to use literacy to change one family at a time.

I agree that books aid in relieving stress and calms the mind. As a literacy teacher in training it is essential that I in-cooperate a variety of methods that can be used to arouse the interest of all my students. It is also important that as teachers we teach our students that reading provides bibliotherapeutic values. That is reading easily enhances our emotions and help us to recover from things that often times weigh us down.Children should also learn that the end product of reading is comprehension.Therefore,it is important that parents model good reading habits for their children from a tender age so that they will develop a great attitude towards reading. Parents and teachers should also let their students know that reading is an enjoyable activity that children should willingly partake in. Parents and teachers should strive to motivate their children to read, instead of using reading as a means of punishment. Children should be given the opportunity to read from different genres of books and at the same time be allowed to make their own book selections. Children should grow to know that reading is fun and that reading is for everyone. Reading is needed in all content areas, it is for enjoyment as well as for acquiring valuable information. Reading can take you to places, especially children who have wide imaginations. It is a great idea donating books to children, especially to those who suffered greatly during hurricane Sandy and may have lost a majority or all of their scholastic materials. Though this is a great gesture, it is important that books selected for donation are suitable for the children's age groups and reading levels. Parents and teachers of these children should also be involved so that they can assist in reading activities. Donation of reading materials can change the lives of children, thus, building a positive future for our society. Remember children are the future, teach them well and let them lead way.

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"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." — Walt Disney