By Jessica B.

It’s that time of year again – Back to School! The 2020-2021 school year will be very different from its predecessors. There is fun and excitement with school supply shopping, picking out your first-day outfit, finding out classroom assignments, and more! However, there is an added emotion that is at the forefront of every back to school conversation–worry. This year will be like no other before it, and it is very worrisome not knowing what the future holds, or even how to anticipate the differences. Children are not immune to worrying. No matter how much we try to shelter them from what is happening in the world, they know that something is very different and this year will not be like previous school years. It is important to show them that it is healthy and normal to have a mixture of emotions.

Talk with your child about their feelings, and be honest about yours. Allow time and space for them to share their feelings and concerns. Engage in playing or creating art when discussing feelings as this can help with expressing emotions when words aren’t working. Creating a safe environment that is comfortable may encourage your child to be more willing to share. Meeting those conversations with compassion and understanding will help them to be more open about sharing their concerns.

A great way to begin a conversation is to use an example. The library has a tremendous amount of resources that can be used to start a difficult conversation. By reading a story about emotions, you can begin to connect situations. Discuss similarities and differences to those in the story and how your child may handle a similar situation. Ask if they can relate to the feelings in the story and discuss solutions to feelings of worry, anxiety, and anger. Staff members at all of our locations are happy to find books that will work for you and your child to engage in conversations about emotions. While reading before bedtime is a wonderful routine to have with your child, you may want to read books about emotions during the day. Allow the conversation to happen in the sunshine or daylight with plenty of time to process before facing a new day.

Favorite books about emotions

Ages 2-6

The Feelings Book and The Don’t Worry Book by Todd Parr
The Color Monster by Anna Llenas
Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell
When Sadness Is at Your Door by Eva Eland
Wild Feelings by David Milgrim
The Happiest Book Ever! by Bob Shea
I’m Sad by Michael Ian Black
Dealing with Feelings Series: This Makes Me Happy; This Makes Me Angry; This Makes Me Scared; This Makes Me Jealous; This Makes Me Sad; This Makes Me Silly by Courtney Carbone
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Elementary Students

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Hunt
Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat by Gary Paulsen
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Additional Resources

PBS Parents: How to Support Your Child for a Very Different School Year

PBS Parents: Help Children Cope With Back-to-School Anxiety

Jessica B.

Jessica B.

With 8 locations throughout Vanderburgh County, EVPL is ready to discover, explore, and connect WITH you! We encourage you to uncover new things, revisit old favorites, and to engage with us along the way.

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