Growing Bookworms: Books to help children cope with change

Welcome to the first post of 2022 in the Growing Bookworms series.

A lot of people and children face change at the beginning of a new calendar year. In the Southern Hemisphere, children change grades and sometimes schools. Parents often change jobs and this can trigger changes to homes, schools, cities, and even countries.

Adults are better equipped to cope with change because they have more experience of life than children. Adults have already transitioned from junior school to high school and then often on to a tertiary education institution. Most adults have looked for, and gained, employment and have moved from their parents home to their own dwelling. Some adults have moved jobs and homes numerous times. As a result of the many life changes most adults have faced, they have learned strategies to help them cope with the anxieties and concerns that arise from major life changes.

Children often have not faced big changes in their lives before and can be frightened and intimidated by anticipated changes to their routines and friendships. Most children thrive on predictability and repetition.

Reading books to children about child characters who have faced and successfully managed big life changes can be reassuring and give some context to change. Books can also be conversation starters for children and enable them to verbalise their worries and anxieties.

The following three books are popular chapter books for children that centre around successful adaption to change.

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden :illustrated Edition by [Frances Hodgson Burnett]

What Amazon says

When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. With the help of two unexpected companions, Mary discovers a way in—and becomes determined to bring the garden back to life.

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Garden-Frances-Hodgson-Burnett-ebook/dp/B09Q3QQ4NQ

A short extract relevant to change:

“When she opened her eyes in the morning it was because a young housemaid had come into her room to light the fire and was kneeling on the hearth-rug raking out the cinders noisily. Mary lay and watched her for a few moments and then began to look about the room. She had never seen a room at all like it and thought it curious and gloomy. The walls were covered with tapestry with a forest scene embroidered on it. There were fantastically dressed people under the trees and in the distance there was a glimpse of the turrets of a castle. There were hunters and horses and dogs and ladies. Mary felt as if she were in the forest with them. Out of a deep window she could see a great climbing stretch of land which seemed to have no trees on it, and to look rather like an endless, dull, purplish sea.

“What is that?” she said, pointing out of the window.

Martha, the young housemaid, who had just risen to her feet, looked and pointed also. “That there?” she said.

“Yes.”

“That’s th’ moor,” with a good-natured grin. “Does tha’ like it?”

“No,” answered Mary. “I hate it.”

“That’s because tha’rt not used to it,” Martha said, going back to her hearth. “Tha’ thinks it’s too big an’ bare now. But tha’ will like it.”

“Do you?” inquired Mary.

“Aye, that I do,” answered Martha, cheerfully polishing away at the grate. “I just love it. It’s none bare. It’s covered wi’ growin’ things as smells sweet. It’s fair lovely in spring an’ summer when th’ gorse an’ broom an’ heather’s in flower. It smells o’ honey an’ there’s such a lot o’ fresh air—an’ th’ sky looks so high an’ th’ bees an’ skylarks makes such a nice noise hummin’ an’ singin’. Eh! I wouldn’t live away from th’ moor for anythin’.”

Mary listened to her with a grave, puzzled expression. The native servants she had been used to in India were not in the least like this. They were obsequious and servile and did not presume to talk to their masters as if they were their equals. They made salaams and called them “protector of the poor” and names of that sort. Indian servants were commanded to do things, not asked. It was not the custom to say “please” and “thank you” and Mary had always slapped her Ayah in the face when she was angry. She wondered a little what this girl would do if one slapped her in the face. She was a round, rosy, good-natured-looking creature, but she had a sturdy way which made Mistress Mary wonder if she might not even slap back—if the person who slapped her was only a little girl.”

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

The Railway Children Illustrated by [E. Nesbit]

What Goodreads says

In this much-loved children’s classic first published in 1906, the comfortable lives of three well-mannered siblings are greatly altered when, one evening, two men arrive at the house and take their father away. With the family’s fortunes considerably reduced in his absence, the children and their mother are forced to live in a simple country cottage near a railway station. There the young trio—Roberta, Peter, and young Phyllis—befriend the porter and station master.

The youngsters’ days are filled with adventure and excitement, including their successful attempt to avert a horrible train disaster; but the mysterious disappearance of their father continues to haunt them.

The solution to that painful puzzle and many other details and events of the children’s lives come to vivid life in this perennial favorite, a story that has captivated generations of readers and, more recently, delighted television and movie audiences. In this inexpensive, unabridged edition, it will charm a whole new audience of young readers with its warmth and appeal.

Amazon Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Q3GZSRF

A short extract relevant to change:

This is a short reading of a paragraph pertinent to change in this delightful children’s book:

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #3)

What Amazon says

The adventures continue for Laura Ingalls and her family as they leave their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and set out for the big skies of the Kansas Territory. They travel for many days in their covered wagon until they find the best spot to build their house. Soon they are planting and plowing, hunting wild ducks and turkeys, and gathering grass for their cows. Just when they begin to feel settled, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict.

The nine Little House books are inspired by Laura’s own childhood and have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier history and as heartwarming, unforgettable stories.

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Little-House-Prairie-Ingalls-Wilder-ebook/dp/B01C2LYEOC

Reading of Chapter 1 of Little House on the Prairie by Jennie

Jennie has been teaching pre-school for over thirty years. You can find her blog here: https://jenniefitzkee.com/2022/01/08/the-morning-after-the-snow-memories-of-a-classic-childrens-book/

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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69 Comments on “Growing Bookworms: Books to help children cope with change”

  1. Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:

    I am over at Writing to be Read with my first Growing Bookworms post for 2022. It discusses books that can assist children in coping with change in their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darlene says:

    These are three excellent books about change; books all children should read, preferably with an adult. Sometimes children can be more resilient and adaptable than adults. Great examples.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I was also thinking that children can sometimes be more resilient and adaptable than adults. (Sometimes.)

      Liked by 4 people

      • Hi Liz, I changed schools 14 times before the age of 13 and I adapted easily. It has resulted in my never forming deep friendships at school or in my place of work as I see the world as being a place that changes continuously so I don’t invest to much. My blog is more stable than my working world with regards to friendships. There is so much bullying that happens at schools now though, I think changing schools can be very frightening for kids.

        Liked by 4 people

        • With my last job, I also found that my blog was more stable in regards to friendships. I can’t imagine dealing with the bullying that goes on in school these days. I was very shy, sensitive, and timid.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Darlene, depending on the age of the child, parents could either read them to the child or they could read them on their own. The nice thing about parents reading to children is that is acts as a conduit for greater discussion and children respond by confiding their worries and anxiety. I think change is hard for kids beforehand although they adapt quicker afterwards.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. olganm says:

    Great suggestions, Robbie. Having grown up in Spain, I don’t think I’ve ever read any of them, but I’ve heard about them before. Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for the great recommendations, and also insert your wonderful read aloud videos. xx Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Loved the books you chose to illustrate your point. Change is the only thing we can count on!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Staci Troilo says:

    When my kids were growing up, we moved a lot because of their father’s career. I always felt bad about that. But now that they’re adults, they cope with change much better than their friends and they know how to socialize and make friends better than most people their age. Better than even many adults I know. I never read these three particular selections to them, and I don’t think they read them on their own or in school, but I can see how they would be helpful to children facing changes in their lives. Thanks, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. marianbeaman says:

    It’s good to relate the idea of change to children “truth. . . at a slant” as Emily Dickinson says. Reading aloud books like Nesbit’s is a wonderful way for all ages to address the difficulty of change.

    I enjoyed hearing your voice again, Robbie, and the reading suggestions including Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden,” a book I relished reading. Thank you!

    P. S. Again, the literary cake is adorable. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Marian, I am so pleased you enjoyed my Bakery. I had so much fun creating this cake. I love all of the books I featured here and I could have gone on and on with so many others. Change is so inevitable for children now, the world moves on so fast.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Reading these excerpts makes me want to put aside what I had planned to do today and just read the books.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Jennie says:

    Reblogged this on A Teacher's Reflections and commented:
    Children need to be able to cope with change, especially in the world today. Robbie knows that books can often be ‘just the thing’ to help children navigate sometimes-scary waters. Hearing stories of other children who are faced with change gives children resilience and also comfort. Thank you, Robbie for sharing three terrific books for children (and adults.) They are classics. And thank you for including a video of me reading the first chapter of “Little House on the Prairie.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jennie says:

    Thank you, Robbie. This post was so perfect for what children need today. I was honored to be included. We both love “Little House on the Prairie.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Jennie, when I think of the Little House books I always think of you. They are packed with change, aren’t they? The family moved so many times and experienced so much. If you’ve never read The Secret Garden, it is so lovely, full of mystery and delight. I know you will love it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jennie says:

        Awww… I always think of you, too, when I read aloud the Little House books. I will be reading them again, starting in late February. I’m always excited! And the best part is stopping along the way to talk about the book with children. That’s when we talk about change.

        Yes, I have read The Secret Garden many wonderful times. What an excellent book!

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Yes, I remember that if my sons were going into hospital or to the dentist I would find a children’s book where the character goes through a similar situation. It definitely helps prepare children for new and maybe unpleasant experiences.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. memadtwo says:

    All books that my children loved and still talk about from time to time. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Oh my goodness! The Secret Garden was my escape book, which I read over and over as a young girl. There was a copy in my grandparents library and I always looked forward to reading it whenever I would visit. That, and The Little Colonel. You’ve just stirred so many memories with this post.

    It seems to me change gets harder to adjust to as I get older. i think children are more resilient.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kaye, The Secret Garden is one of my favourite children’s books and it is Greg’s favourite children’s book. He also just loved it. I still have my old copy, carefully covered in plastic and with the library book pocket I made when I started my own library with my books. I am so pleased it brought back good memories for you. I think children adapt to change more easily but the initial steps are harder.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. beetleypete says:

    Great classic choices, Robbie.
    I have shared both posts on Twitter.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Jan Sikes says:

    You picked some great children’s books, Robbie. I love books that do help children cope with change. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. A wonderful post. Kudos to Jennie and Robbie on the video readings! Sharing. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Wonderful post, Robbie! Sharing…

    Liked by 2 people

  18. petespringerauthor says:

    I haven’t read the Railway Children, but I’m quite familiar with the other two. I like listening to Jennie read.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Norah says:

    A great collection of good children’s books, Robbie. Well selected.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Wonderful books. I’ve read all of them, probably as a child! Jennie’s reading was excellent.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Carla says:

    I really need to read The Railway Children. Of course I have read the other two, several times. Great suggestions, Robbie.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. dgkaye says:

    Fantastic children’s feature of some great books Robbie. I especially enjoyed listening to Jennie read. She’s so emotive. Hugs xx

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Much loved books, reread many times.. excellent recommendations Robbie hugsx

    Liked by 2 people

  24. What a wonderful way to help kids cope with change! I believe it helps in two different ways, not only to help them see how others have dealt with change, but also, by reading to them, to show them that their challenges are recognized. Great idea!

    As I was reading about the three books, another one came to mind that might join the club: Anne of Green Gables.

    Liked by 2 people


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