Reading for the Future: Helping children understand current events

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Children hear about the news through TV, friends, and many times overhearing adult conversations. To children current events can seem frightening and overwhelming.

So how do you explain a very complicated situation to young children who may not fully understand? Children’s books are an excellent way for adults to help children learn and deal with big events in life or society. Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia is Reading for the Future with this list of books to help parents get started.

The Librarian of Basra

RECENT: Reading for the Future: First Teacher Library

“If you are reading the New York Times to them, it may be a little intense, and they probably won’t get it,” said Elizabeth Barnes, the executive director of the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia. She said one way to share what’s happening in the Middle East, for example, is through a child-appropriate lens like the true story, “The Librarian of Basra.” “This book is about a librarian in Kabul who got bombed out and has to move her library books and wait for the war to end,” said Barnes.  

As COVID-19 continues to create anxiety due to the uncertainty and scary statistics, Barnes said these books listed below could help bring down a child’s anxiety and make children feel the world is a bit smaller and safer.81omobz0rel

“COVID-19 Helpers”

By: Beth Bacon

Description: In “COVID-19 Helpers,” Seattle-based author and illustrator Beth Bacon and Kary Lee describe how people from all walks of life are helping to fight the virus. In age-appropriate language and beautiful illustrations, Bacon and Lee describe what COVID-19 is, how it is transmitted, and all the people working to keep everyone safe. The key message of the book is that we can all help fight COVID-19, including children.

YouTube read aloud:


Lucy’s Mask B088vxbwd201 Sclzzzzzzz Sx500

By: Lisa Sirkis Thompson

Description: Lucy loves masks! She dives into her toy box full of costumes and opens a world of imagination and make-believe adventure far beyond the walls of her room. When Lucy finds out her mom is making her a special mask, she’s excited. Of course, she doesn’t realize that the mask her mom is making is not part of a costume but one that will keep her safe and make her a real-life superhero. This book is not a science lesson about germs and protection. It’s a simple, fun story that helps make mask-wearing more relatable and less scary.

YouTube read aloud:


81sjre1uznlRuby Finds a Worry (Big Bright Feelings) 

By: Tom Percival 

Description: Worry. It’s not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger and a little bigger. Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about. But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there’s a great way to get rid of them too. She just has to share her feelings. This perceptive and poignant story is the perfect springboard for talking to children about emotions and anxieties.

YouTube read aloud:

For additional resources and tips on how to read with your children at least 20 minutes a day visit: