The demand for children's books that address traumatic events such as school shootings has been growing steadily. Sales of books for young readers that address violence, grief and emotions have increased for nine years, with six million copies sold in 2021, reports The Associated Press. Educators say children's books can play a role in helping kids cope with anxiety and depression, which has increased among many young Americans. “While it might be second nature to try to shield kids from the harsher realities of life and scary news, it’s proving difficult to avoid big society issues,” said Kristine Enderle of Magination Press. According to the National Center for Youth Issues, one book, "I'm Not Scared... I'm Prepared," was reprinted several times to meet demand after the massacre at Uvalde's Robb Elementary School. Bookstores see interest in the genre rise and fall depending on local and national headlines, according to bookseller Barnes & Noble.
Experts say that parents should make sure books addressing trauma are age-appropriate and backed by psychologists. Aryeh Sova, a Chicago psychologist, said that it's important to be aware of whether children are feeling stress about frightening things in the news. This can appear as anxiety in the way that a child may ask many questions about an event. Sova said books can be a great way for kids to learn, review and process their trauma at their own speed. If the child does not already experience anxiety, bringing up violence could be unnecessary. Many young children experience gun violence, especially in communities of color, and for them, it's important to start early when addressing the effects.