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‘Pepper’s Dragons:’ A Healing Gift For Families

Pepper’s Dragons is a children’s story book written by Stacia Bjarnason, PhD, a clinical psychologist who has been helping some of the children of Sandy Hook since 12/14. She has found that working with fairy tales can give children a safe way to talk about upsetting things in a less threatening way.

Dr Bjarnason has had copies of the book printed to give to the families of Sandy Hook. Any family that would like a copy can request one at C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street, during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday, 9:30 am to 8 pm; Friday, 11 am to 5 pm; and Saturday, 9:30 am to 5 pm (the library is closed on Sundays during the summer).

In addition, Dr Bjarnason will share her insights during a program for parents and adults on Monday, July 8, at 6:45 pm, at the library. Reservations are requested and can be done through the library’s website, CHBoothLibrary.org. Call 203-4216-4533 for additional information. Copies of Pepper’s Dragons will be available during the program.

Illustrated by Irene Ruth, Pepper’s Dragons got its start when Pepper, the real bunny, went for a visit to Sandy Hook to help children there. He had the same sort of curious caution as some of the children. When he was startled by a loud noise it led to a wonderful conversation about how “jumpy” some of the children felt. It was a very natural and easy shift into talking about a difficult subject.

Like working with animals, Dr Bjarnason says working with fairy tales gives children a safe way to talk about upsetting things in a parallel context. While the story touches on common experiences of grief and trauma, it does it in a softer, less threatening way while still being honest, said Dr Bjarnason. The story, she hopes, may give children and parents enough distance and separation to be able to approach the ideas without getting overwhelmed.

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