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Evansville, Indiana
December 4, 1987     The Message
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December 4, 1987

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December 4, 1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 000000Healing with books Bibliotherapy fits fight book to fight child at fight time By MARY ANN HUGHES Bibliotherapy and Sister Message Staff Writer Miriam Schultheis is one of its biggest supporters. Children living through tragic or difficult situations The Benedictine sister from shouldn't have to go it alone. Ferdinand has spent most of her ;Sometimes, just reading a book adult life working with about a similar situation gives children with special problems the child strength to face his -- kids who have "fallen own life problems, through the cracks." That's the theory of In 1973, she founded the Benet Learning Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and she began to study bibliotherapy techni- ques as a way to deal with children with learning disabilities. "Many children who gaze in- to the mirror of life find the self- image blurred and distorted," she said. "The cause may be Books for children with special problems Sister Miriam suggests that when children read books with characters who are facing imilar problems, life may seem ss threatening. Here is a partial list of books she recommends for children of alcoholics: -- Sometimes My Morn Drinks Too Much is written on a third or fourth grade level. The reader learns that alcoholism is a disease and not the child's fault. -- Laughter in the Background tells of a 12-year- old in an alcoholic situation. -- Cages of Glass, Flowers of Time describes the traumatic experiences of a 14-year-old girl with two alcoholic parents who abuse her physically and psychologically. Other books for children include: -- Trouble at Home contains suggestions for survival dealing with such problems as parental fighting, sibling rivalry, teenage suicide and child abuse. -- Door in the Wall is about a child who has a physical disability and how he learns to accept it and finds ways to live with it and surmount it. -- The New Boy is a story in which the characters admit how they, too, have at times ex- perienced that empty feeling in the stomach, dry mouth, a lump in the throat that won't let them swallow. -- Break For the Basket depicts a shy boy who, when he must recite before the class, can't seem to make the answer come out. -- Hundred Dresses tells of Wanda who has no mother and comes to school poorly dressed. -- The Loner portrays a de- fiant child who feels he can get along without anyone. -- Just the Right Size helps children to understand that each grows and develops at a different rate. -- Millions of Cats is the story of a child who feels she is not pretty, who feels inferior. -- Drop Dead involves the reader with a lonely boy and his inner turmoil concerning the meaning of security and conformity. parental and home influence." Children's problems may also stem from "appearance, han- dicaps, lack of friends, economic status and broken or unhappy homes," she ex- plained. "Extremes can be very painful: the child suffers who feels he is too small of too tall, too fat or too thin, too weak, or too clumsy or awkward." Often, teachers who are "Even today, when aware of a student's negative something seems to go wrong, self-image have the opportunity when there are disappoint- to offer encouragement, to help ments, I find myself seeking the child develop a feeling of and searching for the worth. 'something to be glad about,' -- a lesson learned in reading "The therapeutic value of "Pollyanna." right book for right child at Good literature, Sister right time must be recognized," Schultheis noted, "presents Sister Schultheis said. values; it teaches sensitivity; it Teachers need to sharpen conveys mature concepts of their observation skills to iden- friendship, loneliness and tify children with problems, death." "Then, the teacher needs to fit From their reading, students the right book to the right child can gain the following at the right time." understandings: Some questions the teacher -- Everybody has problems. needs to ask to determine if a -- Problems are to be solved. child is having problems -- Appearance may be include: deceiving. -- Does the child have -- People are not all good or friends? all bad. -- Does he daydream much? -- People are much the same -- Is he always sad? all over the world. -- Is he agggressive or is he In bibliotherapy, Sister withdrawn? Schultheis stresses that the With bibliotherapy, students reading not be connected in any with special problems can be way to lessons or school introduced to books featuring assignments. "If a child wants characters with similar to share his book, that is his problems, pleasure; however never should "Probably everyone has at he be made to reveal his inner- least one book that helped him most feelings. They are his gain insight into himself at a private privilege." time when he needed it," Sister Schultheis said. "For some, it may be the Bi- ble, for another a story of fic- tion, or perhaps biography of some great person who had many conflicts in life." Sister Schultheis said a special book for her as a child was "Pollyanna. " With the Comfortmaker Forced Draft Gas Furnace and Central Air Conditioning The Comfortmaker Deluxe Energy Saver Forced Draft Gas Furnace and Super High Efficiency Air Conditioning is a combination home-buyers will go for! Together, they provide total comfort at the lowest possible energy cost. And the optional Comfortmaker limited warranty covers all parts for 5 years ... and the furnace's exclusive RPJ heat We'll be happy to sit down with you and show you how this dynamic comfort duo will fit into your construction plans.., and budget. And we'll handle installation for you, too. Neatly, professionally. On time, and on budget. Call us. 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