The 10 Most Horribly Depressing Children's Books
We moved when my daughter was just a year old, and in order to help prepare her for the transition my wife and I went out and got The Berenstain Bears' Moving Day. As a child I had the birth of my baby brother explained to me through the offices of the Bears, and saw no reason why I couldn't ease a different life change for my own daughter. And you're in luck because there are children's books for any situation no matter how soul-crushingly horrible it happens to be. Strap in because this is going to suck real hard.
Don't Make Me Go Back, Mommy: Do you remember the recovered memory movement in the '90s, where a bunch of psychologists misused hypnotherapy to convince people they had repressed incidents of abuse? The most ridiculous result of the movement was this myth that children were secretly being used in Satanic rituals, and this book shows in loving detail what signs to be on the look out for if it was, you know, true. There's naked children, hooded figures, and a nice, snide dig at sending your kids to daycare rather than being a stay at home mom included.
Is There Love After Abuse?: Lori Susewitt could use an editor, but her tale of an abused dog named Kobe that learns to love again after being abused is still worth the read even though she's not real good on the difference between "you're" and "your." Grammar aside, it's a beautiful book with tremendous illustrations by Amra, it's just that it also kind of makes you want to kill yourself afterwards.
Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept: Jayneen Sanders was worried that Australia wasn't doing enough to prepare families for the possibilities of sexual abuse, so she crafted a book that is more chilling than the time Stephen King wrote about a kid being sodomized for overdue library books. Her story shows in cold, methodical detail the way a person of power can basically collect child victims by making their parents dependent on them for employment, and makes you want to bleach your soul afterwards.
The Night Dad Went to Jail: You're probably not planning on going to jail, but I come from a family full of jail birds and none of them were planning on going any more than they planned out their robberies with any sort of sense. Going through the legal processes that results in incarceration is hard enough for an adult, but trying to explain these things to a kid is insurmountable. Melissa Higgins does pretty well for older kids, but if you try using the book to counsel a three-year-old I guarantee that he or she is just going to want to visit prison where the bunnies live.