Reference Guide for Selecting Children’s Literature for Social and Emotional Learning and Bibliotherapy

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.  SEL can be facilitated by a teacher, children’s librarian, or parent.  (“What is SEL?,” n.d.)

Bibliotherapy involves the use of books, in this case children’s literature, selected on the basis of content in a planned reading program designed to aid in a child’s recovery from a mental illness or emotional disturbance. Ideally, the process occurs in three phases: personal identification of the reader with a particular character in the recommended work, resulting in psychological catharsis, which leads to rational insight concerning the relevance of the solution suggested in the text to the reader’s own experience. Assistance of a trained psychotherapist is advised. (“Bibliotherapy > ODLIS > odlis_B,” n.d.)

This reference guide lists resources for individual with an interest in learning more about the difference between SEL and Bibliotherapy and, the selection of children’s literature for use in their implementation

Search Subjects

Bibliotherapy, Children’s Literature, Therapy, Child Development, Teaching, Perceptions, Early Childhood Education, Multicultural Education, Attitude, Prejudice, School Culture and Climate, Diversity Bullying, School Violence, Trauma, Education, Children & Youth; Children’s picture books; Elementary schools, Juveniles.

Library of Congress Subject Classifications

Children. Child development
Including child rearing, child life, play, socialization, children’s rights

Therapeutics. Psychotherapy

Early childhood education


Mental disorders. Child psychiatry

Bibliotherapy for Children

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Emery, R. E. (Ed.). (2013). Cultural sociology of divorce: an encyclopedia. Los Angeles: SAGE Reference.
ISBN: 978-1-4129-9958-8
Call No. HQ814 .C85 2013

This multi-disciplinary encyclopedia covers curricular subjects related to divorce as examined by disciplines ranging from marriage and the family to anthropology, social and legal history, developmental and clinical psychology, and religion, all through a lens of cultural sociology. Features: 550 signed entries, A-to-Z, fill 3 volumes (1,500 pages) in print and electronic formats, offering the most detailed reference work available on issues related to divorce, both in the U.S. and globally. Cross-References and Further Readings guide readers to additional resources

Levesque, R. J. R. (2012). Encyclopedia of Adolescence. New York, NY: Springer US. Retrieved from
ISBN: 978-1-4419-1695-2

The Encyclopedia of Adolescence draws from four major areas of research relating to adolescence. The first broad area includes research relating to “Self, Identity and Development in Adolescence”. This area covers research relating to identity, from early adolescence through emerging adulthood; basic aspects of development (e.g., biological, cognitive, social); and foundational developmental theories. In addition, this area focuses on various types of identity: gender, sexual, civic, moral, political, racial, spiritual, religious, and so forth. The second broad area centers on “Adolescents’ Social and Personal Relationships”. This area of research examines the nature and influence of a variety of important relationships, including family, peer, friends, sexual and romantic as well as significant nonparental adults. The third area examines “Adolescents in Social Institutions”. This area of research centers on the influence and nature of important institutions that serve as the socializing contexts for adolescents. These major institutions include schools, religious groups, justice systems, medical fields, cultural contexts, media, legal systems, economic structures, and youth organizations. “Adolescent Mental Health” constitutes the last major area of research. This broad area of research focuses on the wide variety of human thoughts, actions, and behaviors relating to mental health, from psychopathology to thriving. Major topic examples include deviance, violence, crime, pathology (DSM), normalcy, risk, victimization, disabilities, flow, and positive youth development.

Naglieri, J. A., & Goldstein, S. (2011). Encyclopedia of child behavior and development. New York: Springer. Retrieved from   ISBN:  978-0-387-79062-6 978-0-387-79061-9

This reference provides a comprehensive grounding in broadly based topics that cover the wide expanse of child behavior and development issues covering the major conceptual areas of child development: learning, behavior, and emotions.

Reevy, G., Ozer, Y. M., & Ito, Y. (2010). Encyclopedia of emotion. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.
978-0-313-34574-6  978-0-313-34575-3  978-0-313-34576-0  978-0-313-34577-7 978-0-313-34578-4 978-0-313-34579-1
Call No.:  BF531 .R445 2010

This reference is a resource for study of human emotion. It comprises 400 A–Z entries on emotion, including general emotions, emotion theories, emotion research, emotional disorders, treatments of emotional disorders, assessment of emotional traits, organizations devoted to studying emotion, and significant people who have contributed to the understanding of emotion.  It provides a chronology of the ways emotion has been conceived, research on emotion, treatment of emotional disorders, and assessment of emotional traits• It also offers a bibliography of suggested print and online resources on emotion for further research• Includes a comprehensive index

Seel, N. M. (Ed.). (2012). Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning. New York: Springer.
ISBN:  978-1-4419-1427-9 978-1-4419-1428-6 978-1-4419-5503-6
Call No. LB1060 .E535 2012

The Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning provides an up-to-date, broad and authoritative coverage of the specific terms mostly used in the sciences of learning and its related fields, including relevant areas of instruction, pedagogy, cognitive sciences, and especially machine learning and knowledge engineering. The Encyclopedia also contains biographical entries of individuals who have substantially contributed to the sciences of learning; the entries are written by a distinguished panel of researchers in the various fields of the learning sciences.


Baraitser, M. (2014). Reading and expressive writing with traumatised children, young refugees and asylum seekers: unpack my heart with words unpack my heart with words. Retrieved from

Collins, M. (2005). It’s OK to be sad: activities to help children aged 4 to 9 to manage loss, grief or bereavement. Retrieved from

Doll, B., & Doll, C. A. (1997). Bibliotherapy with young people: librarians and mental health professionals working together. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved from

Golding, J. M. (2006). Healing stories: picture books for the big & small changes in a child’s life. Lanham, MD: M. Evans. Retrieved from

Grace, C., & Shores, E. F. (2010). After the crisis: using storybooks to help children cope. Retrieved from


ProQuest Education Collection
The ProQuest Education Collection provides access to ERIC, the most widely used index to educational-related literature. Established in 1966, ERIC is supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and is the largest education database in the world — containing over 1 million records of journal articles, research reports, curriculum and teaching guides, conference papers, and books. (Education Collection 2018). It also incorporates full text from ProQuest’s Education Database including over 1,000 full-text journals and 18,000 dissertations, supporting research on the theory and practice of education.

ProQuest search supports the UTF-8 character set, managed by the Unicode Consortium, you can enter your terms in English, or any other language, such as French, Spanish, Greek, Cyrillic, etc. Whether your search retrieves any documents will depend on matching content or indexing being available in ProQuest.  ProQuest uses standard Boolean search terms such as “AND” “OR” & “NOT”

ProQuest ignores punctuation characters (such as periods, commas,
and colons) but, unlike many other search engines does not ignore stop words like articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (from, with, of).  So, if your enter the phrase “Cat in the
 Hat” in the Basic Search field, ProQuest will search for ‘cat AND in AND the AND hat.’ The default relevance sorting of your results will bring documents that contain all of your search terms — mostly as ‘cat in the hat’ — to the top of your results list.
ProQuest also allows you to perform advanced searches such as illustrated in Figures 1-4.   Figure 2 shows
the results of the search.  Figure 3 shows the subjects (Child development; Cooperative learning; Students; Books; Children’s literature; Preschool education; Children & youth; Multiculturalism & pluralism; Friendship; Developmental disabilities; Disabled children; Disability; Personal appearance) and metadata associated with one of the records.  And, Figure 4 shows the option to search using the Thesaurus.

Some special characters are always going to be interpreted in the context of specific kinds of searching: Greater than (>) and less than (<) symbols are reserved for date searching.


Brackets and parentheses are used to build ‘nested’ queries. For example: cow AND (dog OR cat).

You can find get more help with your search by clicking on the “Search tip” link on the search navigation tool bar.  (“ProQuest Help – Search Tips,” n.d.)
Wiley Online Library
Wiley Online Library is a multidisciplinary collection of online resources covering life, health and physical sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. It provides access to over 4 million articles from 1,500 journals, over 15,000 online books, and hundreds of reference works, laboratory protocols and databases. UK Libraries subscribes to selected resources from this diverse collection.
Wiley Online Library uses the same Boolean search method.  You can use the Boolean operators AND (also + or &), OR and NOT (also -) within search fields. These operators must be entered in UPPERCASE to work.   If more than one term is entered, and no operators are specified, terms are searched using AND.  To search for a phrase, put the terms in quotes.  For example, spinal cord searches spinal AND cord while “spinal cord” finds this exact phrase.
Use a question mark (?) in a search term to represent a single character (wom?n finds women or woman).  Use an asterisk (*) to represent zero or more characters.   For example, plant* finds all words with that root (plant, plants, & planting) while an*mia finds variants with one or more letters (anemia & anaemia).  Wildcards CANNOT be used at the start of a search term (*tension) or when searching for phrases in quotes (“tobacco smok*”).
Author names may appear with full first names or just initials.  Place author names in quotes to find a specific name and its variants.  For example, “John Smith” finds articles by John Smith, John K Smith and John Colby-Smith while “J Smith” finds articles by J Smith, JR Smith, John Smith and Julie Smith. (“Advanced Search – Wiley Online Library,” n.d.)


“Bibliotherapy”, American Library Association, December 17, 2012. (Accessed March 3, 2019)
Document ID: 5c057e6a-0cfe-2e64-7d10-96ae5f18b6ff

Abellán-Pagnani, L., & Hébert, T. P. (2013). Using Picture Books to Guide and Inspire Young Gifted Hispanic Students. Gifted Child Today; Thousand Oaks, 36(1), 47–56. Retrieved from

Densmore-James, S., & Yocum, R. G. (2015). Heartsongs across the World: Using Literacy and Emotional Pedagogy to Empower Communities of Compassionate Learners. Schools, 12(1), 118–132.

Ford, D. Y., Walters, N. M., Byrd, J. A., & Harris, B. N. (2019). I Want to Read About Me: Engaging and Empowering Gifted Black Girls Using Multicultural Literature and Bibliotherapy. Gifted Child Today, 42(1), 53–57.

Hebert, T. P., & Speirs Neumeister, K. L. (2002). Fostering the social and emotional development of gifted children through guided viewing of film. Roeper Review; Bloomfield Hills, 25(1), 17–21. Retrieved from

Kim, B. S. K., Green, J. L. G., & Klein, E. F. (2006). Using Storybooks to Promote Multicultural Sensitivity in Elementary School Children. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 34(4), 223–234.

Peterson, J. S. (2013). School Counselors’ Experiences with a Summer Group Curriculum for High-Potential Children from Low-Income Families: A Qualitative Study. Professional School Counseling; Alexandria, 16(3), 194–204. Retrieved from

Sullivan, A. K., & Strang, H. R. (2002). Bibliotherapy in the Classroom Using Literature to Promote the Development of Emotional Intelligence. Childhood Education, 79(2), 74–80.

Triplett, C. F., & Buchanan, A. (2005). Book Talk: Continuing to Rouse Minds and Hearts to Life. Reading Horizons; Kalamazoo, 46(2), 63–75. Retrieved from


50 Must-Have Picture Books to Teach Social Emotional Skills

50 Must-Have Picture Books to Teach Social Emotional Skills

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