monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

2 minutes reading time (444 words)

Reading is Good for Mental Health

Well, I just finished writing a story for The National Post newspaper about something called "bibliotherapy." Though there are no universities that train people to become bibliotherapists, a lot of librarians, English teachers and therapists know that books can help people deal with difficult problems. I'm going to tell you about a few of the people I interviewed for the story. This week, I visited Westmount High School in Montreal to interview kids there. The librarian's name is Susan Chau and she has a gift for helping kids find just the right books for them. Now, without giving you the names of the kids I interviewed (we're waiting to get waivers so that some of the kids' names can appear in the newspaper), I'm going to tell you about the books they said helped them. One girl who was dealing with peer pressure recommended Cathy's Book by Stewart Wiseman. She told me reading that book has helped make it easier to say no when her friends want her to get into trouble with them. Another girl who was having trouble dealing with death recommended Alice Sebold's novel The Lovely Bones. She said that although the book deals with the difficult subject of rape, it helped her believe there's a heaven and that it might not be such a lonely place. Another boy who has been having a rough time since one of his classmates died said Walter Dean Myer's novel, Autobiography of My Dead Brother, helped him cope. As the student told me, "The book helped me realize mine wasn't the only case. It showed me it's possible to get through it and move on." 
Working on this story made me feel very happy. For one thing, I felt privileged to meet such courageous and open young people. Also, I definitely believe in the healing power of literature. If you have more suggestions for books that have been helpful to you, send them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will try to include them in a future blog entry. Okay, I'm off for a run and when I get back, I'm going to work on my story about George River. Hopefully, one day, someone will read it and find that it helps them get through a difficult time. Talk to you next week!
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Thursday, 21 September 2023

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