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Bergen County Psychologist Writes Children's Books With Educational Appeal

Dr. Frank J. Sileo has written six children's books and is at work on his seventh.
Dr. Frank J. Sileo has written six children's books and is at work on his seventh. Photo Credit: Submitted

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. --As a psychologist of 20 years with a practice in Ridgewood, Frank J. Sileo, PhD says he's always looking for tools to help him reach his patients. Which is why the books he's written -- he has a new one coming out in 2017 -- do triple duty as entertainment, education and validation.

His books, which cater to kids ages four to 12, have such titles as "Don't Put Yourself Down in Circus Town: A Story about Self-Confidence," "Sally Sore Loser: A Story About Winning and Losing," and "Bug Bites and Campfires: A Story for Kids about Homesickness."

In child therapy there's a technique called bibliotherapy where you read a book to a child about a particular topic such as anger, divorce, or bullying," explained Dr. Sileo. "The book validates the child's thoughts and feelings and provides healthy solutions and coping to the problem. It also opens up discussion about a potentially difficult or threatening topic.

"Reading to children is very comforting and something that can foster discussion even about life's most difficult topics. All my books contain a note to parents and caregivers on how to use the book and how to foster it in their children and families."

So far his repertoire of books cover the topics of Crohn's disease, lactose intolerance, homesickness, being a good sport, building self-confidence and mindfulness. His sixth, to be released in early 2017 by Magination Press, teaches children a mindfulness technique to help pay better attention to the present.

And he's already working on his seventh dealing with one particular aspect of bullying that he said hasn't been written much about. "Bullying continues to be a pervasive problem in our world," he said.

Each book, he stressed, contains messages for parents in addition to children. Said Dr. Sileo: "Maybe some adults can learn from my kid books like how to be a good sport? Have more self-confidence?"

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