Tip Sheet Tuesday: Life Books – A Lifelong Priceless Treasure

What is a Life Book?
Life books are a way to provide youth with an opportunity to safely record their life stories through their own personal collection of words, pictures, artwork, and other memorabilia. A simple and creative tool, life books can help children and youth in foster care or who were adopted celebrate their unique qualities and talents.

Life Books: A Lifelong Priceless TreasureBenefits of Life Books
In addition to providing youth with a platform to share their life stories and highlight their strengths, life books are a way for children and youth to begin to make sense of their pasts, learn to embrace their presents, and give them hope for their futures.

Other benefits of life books include:

  • An outlet to create and express themselves
  • An opportunity to explore issues related to self-esteem and self-identity
  • For many youth, a way to validate feelings about the past
  • A therapeutic exercise to help the youth begin the healing process, which can include grief and loss, forgiveness, etc.
  • A tool to help build attachment and bonding between the youth and caregiver or provider

Engaging Children/Youth in the Creation of Life Books
Foster and adoptive parents play an important role in providing support while a child or youth creates his or her life book. The same is also true for any safe and supportive adult who has an interest in helping the youth celebrate, heal, and make personal connections with his or her past, present, and future.

Creating a life book – or even helping to create a life book – can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task, especially when there is limited (or no) information or only a few tangible personal items available to include. Sometimes, children may feel reluctant to share information, especially if they are not ready to revisit the past.

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