cover image ""Why Did It Happen?"": Helping Young Children Cope in a Violent World

""Why Did It Happen?"": Helping Young Children Cope in a Violent World

Janice Cohn, D.S.W., Gail Cwens. Morrow Junior Books, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12312-3

``This book is meant to be read and discussed with children after a violent event has occurred or when children are simply grappling with the implications of living in a violent world,'' explains Cohn in her thoughtful introductory note to parents. She emphasizes the importance of encouraging youngsters to communicate their anxieties and fears about violence, and suggests ways to help them to develop empathy. An ideal springboard for parent/child dialogue, Cohn's lengthy read-aloud story introduces six-year-old Daniel, whose special friend, Mr. James, owns a small grocery store. Daniel is very upset after a robber enters the store, steals Mr. James's money and, during a struggle, breaks his arm. Cohn uses Daniel's conversations with his parents--and later with his teacher and classmates--to discuss why people commit such violent acts, as well as ways of dealing with the feelings that violence engenders. A psychotherapist, the author imparts specific, practical information for both young and adult readers. Affecting pastel pictures contributed by Owens (who also illustrated Cohn's I Had a Friend Named Peter: Talking to Children About the Death of a Friend ) greatly enhance the impact. Ages 3-up. (Mar.)