Adults comforting a worried child.

We want all children to grow up without fear, but know that even while they are still very young, children will experience stressful and traumatic situations. Events in the news can cause children who are aware of them anxiety or fear. It is comforting and empowering to know that there are skills children can learn to help them cope. And there are experts who can help us teach them. These experts can support us helping children cope with tragic events.

The books and resources listed below are designed by early childhood experts to help you talk through fear and anxiety with your child. It is clear from the resources we have gathered that one of the best things we can all do is simply reassure children that many people – their family, their teachers, their neighbors, the people at daycare or church, or the library, love and care about them and are looking out for their safety.

Favorite stories can also be steadfast old friends to count on in times of trouble. Open a book. Start to read. Hold them close and revisit old friends together; Curious GeorgeArthurThe Little Engine That Could. Find the books in the bookcase with the dog-eared pages and the tell-tale bite marks on the spine; the ones you can probably recite without looking at the pages. Choose the one with the coffee ring on the cover for having been on the bedside table every night. Take advantage of the comfort and security that time spent with you and a good book can provide.

Helping Children Cope with Tragic Events: Professional Advice

Helping Children Cope with Tragic Events: Sesame Street Traumatic Experiences Guide

The experts at Sesame Street have put together an online coping guide called Traumatic Experiences to help adults explain community violence to young children. The guide includes a variety of helpful videos that show familiar Muppet characters modeling various coping strategies. The guide also provides practical ideas for helping children cope with tragic events. Related tools include storybooks, activities, and printables.

Violence in Communities

Violence in Communities (también disponible en español: Violencia En La Comunidad) In this video, Rosita comes to Allan upset after hearing that somebody hurt a lot of people. Allan’s skilled responses are shared in the printable guide Troubling Times that provides helpful advice for answering some of the most challenging questions children ask. What happened? Why did these people do bad things? Will the bad people come to hurt us? Will this happen again?

Stand Tall Together

Stand Tall Together (también disponible en español: Con la cabeza erguida) In this video Big Bird learns how movement can help focus a person’s mind when it is overwhelmed with big feelings. Big Bird learns the tree pose to help himself feel steady and confident. You can follow along with the video and use this tree pose printable to model this self-calming technique.

Super Grover’s Super Pose

Super Grover’s Super Pose (también disponible en español: La pose de poder de Súper Grover) In this video Super Grover shows how holding his body in a confident manner and saying encouraging things to himself can help ease his worry and anxiety. Even Super Grover doesn’t always feel super, but doing these self-care techniques helps him remind himself, “I am super!”

Big Bird’s Comfy Cozy Nest

Big Bird’s Comfy Cozy Nest In this video Big Bird is feeling lots of things all mixed together and he doesn’t know what to do with them. He feels sad, angry, confused, and anxious. Big Bird learns a self-calming technique imagining a safe place in which he can feel calm and peaceful. Big Bird’s Nest includes helpful conversation prompts and Let’s Play Activity Book offers several ideas to help children explore their emotions as well as a storybook version of “Imagine a Safe Place with Big Bird” in both English and Spanish.

Count, Breath, Relax

Count, Breath, Relax Learn a simple self-calming technique with the Count and Cookie Monster by slowly blowing out pretend birthday cake candles.

Care, Copy & Connect

Care, Cope & Connect is a printable online guide to help adults comfort and support kids going through community stress. It includes ideas to help kids feel safe and secure, activity pages, and self-care tips for parents and caregivers. It is available in Korean and Arabic.


When children are afraid, it is common for them to fear being separated from their trusted adults. Three stories that are particularly good for talking about coping with separation anxiety are Owl BabiesLlama Llama Misses Mama, and The Kissing Hand. Just click on one of the book covers to watch the story in a video read aloud. I Am Peace a Book of Mindfulness and Bee Calm the Buzz on Yoga also might be helpful for practicing self-calming techniques.

title - Bee Calmtitle - I Am Peacetitle - The Kissing Handtitle - Llama Llama Misses Mamatitle - Owl Babies

More Books You Can Check Out to Help Children Cope

When young children are feeling scared, it can be helpful to read a book together that helps talk with them about their anxious feelings; or helps answer questions about difficult topics like violence or tragic events children hear about on the news. Below are several sensitive and insightful children’s stories that address separation fear, anxiety, and grief. These stories can help children learn to recognize and name these emotions, they can offer reassurance, and they can provide ideas for helping children (and you) cope.

Title - Come With MeTitle - On the NewsTitle - One Thursday AfternoonTitle - Beat, Beat, ThumpTitle - When Sadness Is at your DoorTitle - What to Do When the News Scares YouTitle - Something Happened in Our TownTitle - A Friend for Yoga BunnyTitle - Lubna and PebbleTitle - Little Anxious CatTitle - Pig and Horse and the Something ScaryTitle - The Rabbit Listened

Need more help? Ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or call, text or email Ask-a-Librarian. Additionally, the Tinker Station helpline at (317) 275-4500 is also available. It is staffed by device experts who can answer questions about how to read, watch and listen on a PC, tablet or phone.

Caring for a loved one is a tough job, one that many of us take on willingly with love and honor. There are so many things to worry about—physical and mental difficulties, financial and legal issues, and day-to-day care. When you are caring for a loved one with dementia you’re looking at unique challenges. Being a caregiver for someone with dementia can be frustrating, exhausting, and just plain lonely. When someone you care for has dementia, you’re also living with it, but you’re not alone.

How the Library Can Help

The Library can offer connection:

  • to information
  • to resources
  • to entertainment
  • to respite and self-care

There is so much information out there about Alzheimer’s disease and dementias. There are news sources, social media, even your neighbor down the street. What source do you trust? Which information do you pick? Using The Library can connect you to trusted sources in a way that’s convenient for you.

Dementia Resources in the Library Catalog and on Book Lists

The Library’s catalog includes book lists created by staff members to help you navigate the sometimes overwhelming amount of material available. If you see a book you like, you can find out where it’s located. If it isn’t at your neighborhood branch you can place a hold and have it sent to the branch that’s most convenient for you.

Articles about Dementia in Online Databases

Another way to find information is by searching online databases that the Library subscribes to. Many times the latest research or resource is available in a magazine or journal article. Through the databases, you can find an articles that could help with a specific challenge or interest. For instance, we did a search for articles about music therapy and Alzheimer’s published in the last five years and found a wealth of articles.

What makes this even more convenient is that the book lists, The Library’s catalog, and the articles can all be reached through your home computer, your tablet, or your smartphone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Reading Aloud

Reading aloud with your adult loved one improves family bonds and fosters cooperation, just like when you read to children. Many programs in memory care involve reading aloud or looking at picture books to improve cognition, memory, and quality of life.

Picture books, especially with larger type and fewer words, are often easier to see and understand. Did you read classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar when you were a child? You can read this again and share your memories with your loved one.

In addition to children’s books, people with dementia also enjoy coffee-table books and travel books filled with photographs and illustrations. Books like Penguins by Frans Lanting or Indianapolis: Then and Now by Nelson Price provide large photographs that can stimulate conversation and memories for both the loved one with dementia and their caregivers.

e-Books & Streaming

If you feel you can’t get to a Library location, you can choose e-book picture books to download to your computer or mobile device through OverDriveHoopla, or TumbleBooks Library.


Books aren’t the only place you can look for colorful pictures and photographs; magazines are a great resource. Most back issues of magazines can be checked out at branch locations. There is a large number of magazines available for viewing and downloading online through Flipster and OverDrive Magazines.

Reading aloud together, looking at books and pictures together can provide not only connection with your loved one, but a respite for both of you while caring for a loved one with dementia.


Whether it’s music from the past or a catchy tune, it’s heartening to see a friend or loved one living with dementia respond to a piece of music, sometimes by moving or swaying to a Motown beat, other times by singing all the verses to Silent Night, remembering all the words when many of us couldn’t get past the first few lines.

While you may think of the public library as a connection to the wider world through books, it’s also a connection through music.

With a library card, you can:

  • Borrow a wide variety of music on CDs, from early classical to the latest hip hop, and everything in between.
  • Borrow and stream a wide variety of music directly to your computer or mobile device through Hoopla without being on a waiting list or waiting for your branch to open.
  • The library’s connection with music extends to free live concerts & performances throughout the year. See our schedule of music performances.

It’s an opportunity for an outing that doesn’t involve tickets, dressing up, or an entire evening’s commitment; time watching beautiful music made in a comfortable setting, which could make the afternoon caring for a loved one with dementia enjoyable for both of you.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter, Indiana is home to 110,000 Hoosiers living with Alzheimer’s disease and 338,000 unpaid Indiana caregivers. Thankfully, there is a growing number of resources available to navigate the often-complicated and frustrating journey of caring for someone with dementia.

Title - The 36-hour DayTitle - The Dementia CaregiverTitle - Love in the Land of DementiaTitle - An Unintended Journey

  • Brain Health – IndyPL_LeahK

    Last year, my Dad was diagnosed with Vascular Parkinsonism and recently suffered two strokes. In helping me understand my dad’s diagnosis and possibly find steps he could take to slow the disease, I started checking out books, lots of them, all about the brain. This list is perhaps more personal than other lists I share. I hope it helps you think about healthy decisions you can make in your life to promote brain health.

  • Caregiving for Older Adults – IndyPL_CarriG

    While taking care of a loved one can be an overwhelming and often thankless task, Indianapolis has a lot of resources to try to help caregivers and their loved ones. Check out the following combination of books, online resources, videos, and local organzations. And always remember to contact your favorite branch if you have questions or need more resources. Library staff are there to help you find the information you need!

Ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or call, text, or email Ask-a-Librarian.

Although chronologically, we are aware that the last two years have consisted of 24 months, physically and emotionally, we’re pretty sure that they have actually lasted 24 years. The fatigue seems longer-lasting, the winter weather feels darker and colder, and the stress of the pandemic has permeated every aspect of many of our lives. In hard times and in stressful times, reading does not solve all of our concerns and worries, but it can help. Here are some of the ways we are using books to get through this tough period.

I just can’t focus…how am I supposed to read?

Listen, we hear you. When our attention spans are exactly the length of one tik-tok video, we use these tips to get back into reading.

Picture books aren’t just for kids.

Reading something that is beautifully illustrated and has fewer words per page helps us to get our minds re-engaged. Check out some of our suggestions:

Try a new genre.

We tend to have go-to genres but when we are stressed or tired, we might try a new subject or type of book to engage our brains differently. Here are some picks by genre:

Switch how you are reading.

Perhaps you only read print books? Try to read an e-book or explore an audiobook. Or have you only read on a Kindle for the last couple of years? Try listening to an audiobook through your phone or pick up a print book through our curbside pickup.

Reread a favorite.

Our librarian Carri says, “I like to reread books I’ve loved in the past. Mostly giant fantasy epics or other series where I feel like I know the characters well.”

“Reading has been an escape for me — but I am choosing books that allow me to escape because that’s what I need right now.” – Crystal, Library patron

Stop the Scroll

Numerous studies have proven that the more time that we spend on social media, the more we tend to be anxious. We are too distracted by every notification on our cell phones, every text message vibration, or email alert. How many hours have you spent this week aimlessly surfing social media? We don’t want to incriminate ourselves but we’re pretty sure our weekly screen time report could be included as evidence in a trial on why our brains can’t stay focused on one task. Use these tips to help curtail your scrolling time (except the Library’s social media- you should definitely be following us).

  • Before bed, instead of logging onto social media to doomscroll, open up the Libby App and dive into an e-book instead of going down an anxiety rabbit hole.
  • Waiting in a line or before an appointment? Carry a book on you and instead of grabbing your cell phone, grab the book instead. We especially like to carry an e-reader on us since they give us endless possibilities for reading.
  • Swap out your internet browsing time for an educational app instead. Rebuild those lost foreign language skills with Mango Languages, build new skills with LinkedIn Learning, or watch a craft tutorial on Creativebug and then make it. All free with your library card.

“Reading is a learning adventure and escape. When I discover a new author and I really like them I read more of their books and then I also want to find out more about that author” – Theresa, Librarian

Books Can Help Us Feel and Help Us Start Conversations

Books can help us feel different. We turn to books when we want a good laugh or when we want a good cry. Books can help us to express the feelings that we want to feel but more importantly, they can help us to express the feelings that we need to feel.

Books can help us escape. When the days feel long and the wind chill is Arctic, escape to a sunny paradise or get lost on an island. Travel the world or explore a new galaxy without ever leaving your couch or treadmill.

Reading can help us start conversations with friends, family members, and medical professionals. If how you or a loved one is feeling right now is more than the pandemic-blahs, reading can be a way to start a discussion or go into a doctor’s appointment with more information. Reading helps us gain knowledge but also empathy. Here are just a few of the lists that the IndyPL staff has put together on health and wellness: