“Take a look, it’s in a book…” sang part of the Reading Rainbow TV series theme from my childhood. My childhood contains memories of paper books: picture books, books to follow along with on recorded cassette tapes which often began: “When you hear the chime ring, turn the page. Let’s begin now…”, books with very few pictures that my mother read aloud to me, newspaper-like book [and poster] ads and orders, and trips to the school library. The school library had the Guinness Book of World Records so as third graders, everyone gathered around to curiously gawk; while in class, Miss Muggie read us: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert O’Brien. There were class sets of books and textbooks—and dictionaries. I did not want to use paper dictionaries because to me, the concept of attempting to look up a word I didn’t know how to spell was nonsense. Now, it makes sense to search: “how do you spell: insert-spelling-in-question here” as the algorithm anticipates the next keystroke and helps troubleshoot and dispel the spelling issue like magic.
And now, although I have never darkened the doorway of my school’s library building as an online graduate student, I have some fear and sadness that when I graduate, I will not have access to as many readily-available, peer-reviewed, professional articles, books, research, etc. through the university’s digital library resources. However, there is hope because counselors stay up-to-date with research, evidence-based, and best practices. One way I have already witnessed this playing out is that shortly after the newest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was published my supervisor ensured each intern had a copy—additionally she is faithful to reference it and ask good, diagnostic questions that propel discovery and insightful diagnosis discussions. Further, the clinical offices of my internship house therapeutic: books, workbooks, manuals, activity guides, children’s books, stories etc. to share! Therefore my university library access will soon be gone, but library access and resources are not endanger of extinction because of the nature of professional continuing education, and development in our profession.
Not only that, but there is evidence to prove that reading can reduce stress levels and because we know we can learn and build empathic and cultural understanding through reading, may I please ask a favor? Let’s share our top 3 now. Even though it is difficult to pick from so many relevant-to-counseling books I’ll go first:
- One of my most recent reads was Try softer: A fresh approach to move us out of anxiety, stress and survival mode--and into a life of connection and joy by Aundi Kolber. This contained even more than the sum of its title and I want to read Kolber’s most recent book too.
- My magic breath: Finding calm through mindful breathing by Nick Ortner is a special picture book to me because it is interactive and I love reading it with children!
- I haven’t read: The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, but a number of people have recommended it and it is on my to-read list.
Your turn. What about your personal publications or those of a friend or colleague? Your most recent read? A picture book that inspires meaningful discussion? In the words of LeVar Burton, host of the Reading Rainbow TV series: “See you next time!”
Darby J. Koogler is a graduate counseling intern, writer, former teacher, and hopeful international school counselor. darbyjkoogler.wordpress.com