The power of stories in the process of healing dates back to ancient Egypt and carries forward as the practice of bibliotherapy. Bibliotherapy is the use of books to help children deal with the issues and challenges they are experiencing. It consists of selecting reading material relevant to a client’s life situation. Books are a powerful way for therapists to facilitate growth and healing for children in the play therapy room. In this article I will show you 5 ways bibliotherapy can serve as a part of the therapeutic process along with 54 books for the play therapy library that every therapist working with child clients may want to have.



Ways Bibliotherapy Can Help Children


Psychoeducation: Reading has been shown to be able to help children understand the issues they are experiencing. The goal of psychoeducation – to help children better understand (and become accustomed to living with) mental health conditions, essential to most therapy. With a thorough understanding of the challenges they are facing and ideas for coping, they can feel more empowered.

Fostering emotional intelligence: An important part of a play therapist’s work with child clients is helping children to develop an enhanced capacity to identify and express emotions in a healthy way and to experience empathy. Books can provide therapist and client an opportunity to explore and better understand emotions

Helping a child not feel so alone: When children can see through stories that what they are experiencing is experienced by others, they feel a sense of relief and hope.

Empower a child’s choices: Through the use of books we are able to help children realize that while they may not be able to control the circumstances, they do have choice in what they can say and/or do to self-soothe or improve communications with others.

As a launch into a directed play-based intervention: Therapists can use stories to introduce a concept that can then lead into an experiential activity to help the child process and develop new skills. It can be very helpful to use books for play therapy interventions.


54 Books for Play Therapy

It’s important to have a library of books on a variety of topics. Here is a curated list of some of my favorites. You can click on any of the images to read more about each book and see reviews and for some, samples of the inside of the book.

(There are affiliate links in this article so if purchases are made via these links your price is the same and we receive revenue)


Emotion Awareness



Grief & Loss



Communication & Relationships

Managing Anger