Guest Blogger: Dr. Joanna Grymes
I have a new favorite children’s book – but it’s a favorite for reminding adults about our work WITH children.
Written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld, The Rabbit Listened is a lovely, quiet reminder that what children who are impacted by loss, stress, and trauma need is someone who will let the child guide the narrative, not a narrator. Taylor experiences a sudden loss as, “out of nowhere,” things come crashing down. Chicken clucks Taylor should talk about it; Bear tells Taylor to be angry and shout.
Elephant, like many of us, wants to fix things so they were just they way they were before. Several more animals come to tell Taylor what to do –but Taylor does not want to do any of the things the animals want,
and each animal leaves Taylor alone. Rabbit comes and sits quietly, slowly moving close and closer to Taylor, and the child asks Rabbit to stay. After a while, Taylor talks, and screams, and remembers. Rabbit listens through each stage. With Rabbit a reassuring, non-judging presence, Taylor is ready to play and plan again
Young children often need adults to provide the words for what they are feeling. We need to be cautious about forcing those words on children, who may still be processing their experiences. I appreciate the reminder Doerrfeld gives us that children, more than anything else, may just need someone to be there.
“Through it all, the rabbit never left.”
Cori Deorrfeld. 2018. The Rabbit Listened. Dial Books. ISBN-13: 978-0735229358