A report by Hoda Hosseini, the librarian in “Read with Me” Cabin-Library in Salas, Kermanshah:
Once again, the earthquake quaked the earth and children’s hearts in Salas on 22 June 2018. As always, we tried to be on children’s side in this incidence, we read books and performed interesting activities, but their sad and terrified faces made us deeply sad.
We often have reading and activity sessions twice a day. On the day of the earthquake, we had a program with children as usual in the morning and the terrifying earthquake happened at noon. In the afternoon, when the children returned to the library, they were all terrified and unhappy, as if the memories of the earthquake in November had multiplied this fear. Families were worried about the arrival of their children in the library and refused to allow them to come. Many kids did not come; I was desperate and wandering on the streets.
My colleague, Mohammad Nazari, went to the nearby park where most families had gathered (terrified of spending the time inside their houses) and started reading a few storybooks. The children gathered and accompanied him.
The day after the earthquake, in the morning, a number of children were present at the library and read the books “Frog and the Stranger” and “Elmer” and talked about the two stories and similarities they had. It was a good partnership.
In the afternoon, the boys also came to the library. Along with Mr. Nazari, we held the reading session. Then, with the participation of the children, we all made a story in such a way that the story began with the first person and the last person finished it.
After storytelling, the children performed “The Frog and the Stranger” play.
– Why did we choose the book therapy to help children in crisis?
Book therapy has satisfactory results when children are subjected to emotional stress from unpleasant events. The occurrence of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes is one of those events. We chose the book for the treatment of children because literature can help children to understand their emotions, identify themselves with characters in the story that experience similar feelings and gain insight into how others deal with the same problems. The book can also be a window to the world that invites children to a wider view of themselves and their surroundings to link up with characters and conditions.
Thus, we have been along with children in crisis since the earthquake in Kermanshah, in November 2017. We started our activities from the very first days of the earthquake with the aim of book therapy with the children in crisis in the earthquake-affected areas of Kermanshah province. The activity that resulted in establishing seven “Read with Me” Canex-libraries with the financial support of the benefactors still continues.