I mentioned in a recent post that I wrote Goodbye Bad Dreams because I couldn’t find a single good book when my daughter began having bad dreams. I don’t know about others, but I tend to look to books whenever my daughter is having trouble with something. I just learned that there’s actually a term for this, bibliotherapy. I don’t mean instructional textbooks for parents, I mean fun, kid friendly picture books to help kids deal with their problems on their level.
I have searched thoroughly, and this is all I can come up with for books that try to tackle the subject of bad dreams. There were some others I got from the library that now I can’t find but they were equally as bad.
Bebe’s bad dream / G. Brian Karas
The back cover blurb of this one says it all: Despite her mother’s reassurances, a young girl is convinced that aliens are coming to eat her, until she decides to trick them into taking her brother instead.
The Berenstain Bears and the bad dream
My daughter and I are huge Berenstain Bears fans, but some of their books are just too scary. This is one of those that I believe is more likely to scare young kids more than help them. Also, the parental advice given in this book is a common one, “scary dreams aren’t real.” The opinion these days is telling a child this makes them feel discredited. The dream is very real to them, and they end up feeling like you just don’t believe them or understand how they feel.
Blue’s bad dream
In this bad dream book, Blue has a bad dream while at a sleepover. I would avoid this one only because a first sleepover is scary enough, I don’t want my daughter having something else to worry about the first time she’s away from me at night.
Cowbella and the bad dream [board book]
Of all the books on the list, this may be the best, but I think a board book misses the mark since kids typically begin having bad dreams when they feel too old for board books. Also, this book with its low page count dwells too much on the fact that Cowbella is afraid to go to sleep, and not enough on how to fix the problem.
There’s a monster under my bed
I love James Howe, but this is another book more likely to worsen nightmares than stop them. A boy is sure a monster is under his bed, but he forgot to check before getting in. He spends the majority of the book wondering what to do…if he reaches under the bed to check, the monster will bite off his hand, etc.
When writing Goodbye Bad Dreams, I also struggled with needing to describe bad dreams but wanting to make sure I didn’t scare readers. I took my daughter’s own bad dreams and used a fun strategy that worked with her to help her get over them. The book doesn’t focus on one bad dream, but rather each bad dream page is followed by a page in which the main character overcomes the bad dream. In the end, readers are encouraged to try this strategy on their own. After writing the book, my next struggle was finding an artist who could portray the bad dream scenes in such a way that wouldn’t be too scary. The artist I am using first drew a sketch where a dinosaur looked just a bit too intimidating (in my opinion). It is beautiful work, but I don’t want to take any chances of scaring the child I am trying to help.
Some subtle changes and now we have a bad dream scene that I think is pretty user friendly.
If you agree, I would love your support on my kickstarter campaign, so I can actually hire this amazing artist and make my Bad Dream book dream come true.