Recommended Reading, Listening and Watching

Date Posted: Friday, 22 June 2007


When I embarked upon making this list of books, articles, papers, films, music and songs which have been helpful to me and others when they have been studying the development and nurture of children I  was tempted at first to place them in two distinct categories. One category was to be for the general reader  and the other for the more specialised reader. However  when I started to do this I found it an impossible task. It soon donned on me that all good books about children and their upbringing have something of interest for both the general and specialist reader. You may of course argue that this is the rationale of a lazy compiler, but in an attempt to divert that charge where a book whose title seemed obscure or esoteric, I have made a short comment on its general theme. There may be important omissions from this list but this will probably be because I have not heard, seen or read those particular items. I would be grateful to be advised of these so that I can check them out and where necessary put the record straight.
This is ever a work in progress.


Alvarez, A. (1992)   Live Company : Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Autistic, Borderline, Deprived and Abused Children    London    Routledge

Ammaniti, N. (2003)  I’m Not Scared         Edinburgh       Canongate       This novel is in my view not only a thundering good read but also provides an insightful tableau of  the vicissitudes of childhood with its shifting alliances, its discovery of adult fallibility, its seemingly casual yet emotionally costly betrayals, and the mix of helplessness and bravery with which children confront adult situations when they are forced to do so.

Anderson,R., & Dartington, A.(eds)1998) Facing It Out : Clinical Perspectives on Adolescent Disturbance    London  Duckworth

Axline,V.M. (1964) Dibs : In Search of Self        London        Houghton

Beedell,C.(1970)   Residential Life with Children     London  Routledge and Kegan Paul

Bettelheim, B. (1974) A Home for the Heart      London    Thames and Hudson.

Bion,W.R. (1961) Experiences in Groups and Other Papers   London   Tavistock

Burnside, J. (2008)   Glister     London       Jonathan Cape      This blistering, harrowing yet beautiful novel distils the poisoned essence of the social dysfunction in a post-industrial community and traces the tragic events which befall Leonard Wilson, the book’s adolescent hero  – who is the carer for his isolated and ill father –  as he tries to make sense of his world.

Burton, J. (1993) The handbook of residential care    London    Rutledge    A comprehensive text which is demonstration of the thinking behind, and the practicalities of, good residential child care.

Burton J.(2015) leading good care THE TASK, HEART AND ART OF MANAGING SOCIAL CARE London and Philadelphia, Jessica Kingsley See review at the goodenoughcaring Journal Issue 17

Cantet, L. (2009, Director)  Film : Entre les Murs    France             Entitled The Class in the United Kingdom, this film really touches the spot where the subtleties of the power lie in the relationship between seemingly reasonable liberal adults and the young people – in this case a class of immigrant teenagers at a school in Paris –  they are responsible for helping and educating.  I think youngsters and workers should view this together and follow it up with an honest discussion.

Copley, B., & Ferryan, B. (1997, 2nd edition) Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People     London   Cassell

Courtioux, M., Davies Jones, H., Kalcher, J., Steinhauser, W., Tuggener, H., Waaldjik, K. (1987)  The Socialpedagogue in Europe – Living with others as a profession        Zurich      Federation Internationale des Communautes Educatives  (FICE)        This collection of essays is a seminal source for all those interested in the work and place of the life space worker (socialpedagogue) in the field of child care and education.

Cross, J. (1990) ‘Therapeutic Experience: ‘The Nature of the Therapeutic Community for Emotionally Deprived Children and Deprived and Disturbed Children’ in Residential Experience Fees, C. (ed)   Birmingham :    Association of of Workers for Maladjusted Children

Davies Jones, H. (1970)  Leadership in Residential Child Care       London    National Children’s Home

Dockar Drysdale, B. (1968,1973) Therapy and Consultation in Child Care     London    Free Association Books  1993

Dostoevsky, F. (1869)  The Idiot       ( Printed editions of this novel are widely available. It is also available as an ebook.)  This is one of the most engaging novels ever written and, like many fine novels, a superb text book on human psychology.

Dwivedi, N.D., (1988) Group Work with Children and Adolescents : A Handbook   London   Jessica Kingsley   1999

Erikson, E., (1950) Childhood and Society      New York     Norton & Co,Inc.   Erikson’s model of  life development is a very helpful map and his idea of trust versus mistrust of our environment has helped me gain insight of the problems which face all of us and not only troubled youngsters. I don’t think this book is currently in print but you can sometimes find a Penguin Pelican edition of it in second hand book shops.

Fenton, M.(2015) Social Care and Child Welfare in Ireland Integrating Care, Leaving Care and Aftercare  Dublin, The Liffey Press    See review at goodenoughcaring Journal Issue 18

Fonagy, P. (2001) Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis    New York: Other Press

Fulcher,L. & Ainsworth, F. (eds) (1985)  Group Care Practice with Children   London    Tavistock    Publications

Greenhalgh, P. (1994) Emotional Growth and Learning    London   Routledge

Gerhardt,S.(2004) Why Love Matters How affection shares a baby’s brain   Hove    Brunner-Routledge

Grosz, S.(2013) The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves     London   Chatto & Windus  A book about the psychoanalysis free of jargon which gives uniques insights of the human mind and human experience which may be taken into the work of anyone in a caring role.

Hardwick, A. & Woodhead, J. (eds) (1999)  Loving, Hating and Survival    Aldershot  Arena      This is a wide-ranging handbook, based on psychodynamic theory for all those who work who work with troubled children and young people.

Hinshelwood, R.D. (1987) What Happens in Groups : Psychoanalysis, the Individual and the Community      London    Free Association Books

Holmes, J. (2001) The Search for the Secure Base : Attachment Theory and Psychotherapy      Hove     Brunner-Routledge

Howard,N. & Lyons, D. (2014, eds.) Social Care Learning from Practice     Dublin     Gill & Macmillan

Jones, H. (1960) Reluctant Rebels : education and group process in a residential community    London   Tavistock Publications     On re-reading this book in the autumn of 2007, it is easy to dismiss it as outdated but if you wipe away some of the more superficial social and cultural elements relating to the time it was written the reader finds a very helpful analysis of the dynamics of group living and of the therapeutic potential of the group living setting for troubled young people.

Jones,H. (1979) The Residential Community: A Setting for Social Work       London       Routledge & Kegan Paul

Kahan, B. (1994) Growing up in Groups        London      HMSO

Kornerup, H.(ed) (2009) “Milieu Therapy” with children : Planned Environmental Therapy in Scandinavia      London    Karnac Books    This is a comprehensive theoretical and practical guide to the use of milieu therapy which begins to build a bridge between psychodynamic and social pedagogic approaches to residential child care.

Little, M. with Kelly, S. (1995) A life Without Problems ? The Achievements of a Therapeutic Community    Aldershot  Arena

Mahler,  (music,1904) & Ruckert,F. (lyrics, date of writing not known)  Kindertotenlieder  : “Nun will die Sonn’ so hell aufgeh’n”, “Nun seh’ Ich wohl, warum so dunkle Flammen”, “Wenn dein Mutterlein”, “Oft denk’ Ich sie sind nur ausgegangen”, and “In diesem Wetter”.  Songs about unbearable loss.

Mackenzie, R.F.(1967) The Sins Of The Children   London  Collins

Meadows, S. (2008, Director)  Film  :   Somers Town      UK        This is a poignant, touching, if at times painful film about the relationship between an isolated Polish teenager living in London with his father and a vulnerable young person who has absconded from a children’s home in the midlands of England.

Menzies Lyth, I. (1988) Containing Anxieties in Institutions : Selected Essays, vol.1     London    Free Association Books

Milham,S., Bullock,R., & Cherrett, P. (1975)  After Grace – Teeth    London   Human Context Books         In its time this was a very influential piece of research which exposed the institutionalisation in Community Homes with Education (CHEs) the establishments which were borne out of the 1969 Children Act.

Milham,S., Bullock,R., Hosie,K., and Haak,M. (1986) Lost in Care : The Problem of Maintaining Links between Children in Care and their Families   London   Gower

Neill, A.S. (1962)  Summerhill       Harmondsworth   Penguin Books (1980)   An article about Summerhill School written by Zoë Readhead, A.S. Neill’s daughter and his successor as Principal of the school can be found at

Rayner, E. with Joyce,A., Rose,J., Twyman, M., & Clulow, C. (2005, 4th edition) Human Development : An introduction to the Psychodynamics of Growth, Maturity and Ageing       London     Routledge

Redl, F. (1966) When We deal with Children     New York    The Free Press               Fritz Redl suggested that the most significant therapeutic opportunity for child care workers was the use of informal events in the daily lives of the children they look after, rather than scheduled, formal sessions. He called this working in the ‘life space’. He called the interaction which took place between the child and worker the Life Space Interview. This was a concept introduced to me in the early 1980s by Haydn Davies Jones at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Since then I have always found it a useful as a working model for framing residential child care.

Rose, J. (2010) How Nurture Protects Children : Nurture and narrative in work with children, young people and families   London    Responsive Solutions

Rose, M. (1990) Healing Hurt Minds : The Peper Harrow Experience     London     Tavistock/Routledge      This is an account and explanation of the therapeutic community approach to the care of children and young people but it is significant because it deals with the problems this approach has for the caring staff. For me it is also a book about the experience of all adolescents.

Roth, T. (1999, Director)  Film :  The War Zone   UK

Serraillier, I. (1956) The Silver Sword    London    Jonathon Cape   A wonderful story of the companionship, courage and tenacity of children who have had ‘good enough’ early nurture.

Sharpe, C., Daniel,E., Degregorio,S., Kenny, J., & Vishnja,A.(eds). (2008) Love Is Enough : Sincerity and professionalism in the care and education of children and young people     Totnes     Abbeyhill Press

Sharpe, C .(2006) ‘Residential child care and the psychodynamic approach ; is it time to try again?’ in Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care Vol.5 no.1   See also ‘In Care, In Therapy?’ at

Silversteen, S. (1964) The Giving Tree     New York   Harper & Row   This is a children’s story for everyone and for life. It is still in print.

Sissay, L. (2019) My Name Is Why A Memoir     Edinburgh    Canongate

Smith, M. (2009) Rethinking Residential Child Care : Positive perspectives      Bristol : Policy Press     A review of this book can be found at   An article by Mark Smith ‘Loving and Fearful Relationships’ can be found at

Stern, D. (1985) The Interpersonal World of the Infant : A View from Psychoanalysis and Developmental Psychology   London   Karnac Books  2005

Stevens, I., & Milligan, I. (2006) Residential Child Care : Collaborative Practice    London  Sage

Stevenson, R.L. (1886) Kidnapped   London   Cassell and Company

Suttie, I.D. (1935) The Origins of Love and Hate         London        Kegan Paul        Many of  Suttie’s ideas in this constructive criticism of Freudian theory anticipate and to an extent pre-date the work of Bowlby and Winnicott. In my view he is an original thinker who should still be read. Copies of this book can be bought in second hand book shops usually in a 1960 Pelican edition.

Twain, M. (1884) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn      London   Penguin Books  2006

Vargas, F. (2005, Director)     Film  :    El Violin        Mexico      Set ‘somewhere’ in Central America this is not just another film about the struggle ofthe poor against an oppressive state. It portrays the relationships between a child, his father and his grandfather in a place where cruelty, fear, violence and death are never far away. The film left me feeling that people who love and care about other people do, even in most desperate circumstances, rise above the menace and the evil.

Waddell, M., (1998)  Inside Lives : Psychoanalysis and the Growth of Personality     London    Karnac  (Revised edition, 2002)       This book with its accessible jargon free psychoanalytic account of the development of our emotional lives from conception to adulthood is of interest to for parents and caregivers. For any student of adolescence it is – in my view –  essential reading.

Waddell, M. (1985) ‘Living in Two Different Worlds : Psychodynamic Theory and Social Work Practice’ in Free Associations Vol. 10  Accessed online at       In this paper Margot Waddell suggests that while social workers seem impelled to be seen to be ‘doing’ something for their clients, therapeutic carers allow their clients time to reflect on their lives. It is sometimes just as important to ‘be’ as it is to ‘do’.

Ward, A. (2014) Leadership in Residential Child Care a relationship-based approach    Norwich    Smokehouse Press    See review   here.

Ward, A., Kasinski, K., Pooley,J., & Worthington, A. (eds). (2003) Therapeutic Communities for Children and Young People    London   Jessica Kingsley

Ward, A., & McMahon, L. (eds)(1998) Intuition is Not Enough : Matching Learning With Practice in Therapeutic Child Care     London   Routledge

Whittaker,D., Archer, L., and Hicks, L. (1998) Working in Children’s Homes : Challenges and Complexities    Chichester    Wiley

Whitwell, J. (2000) ‘Therapeutic Child Care’ in Re-framing Children’s Services (ed. White,K.)  London NCVCCO (2002) Accessed at  In my view this essay should be required reading  for everyone working in residential child care. I found the section dealing with the significance of relationships particularly helpful on matters which I felt I had on reflection wrongly taken for granted.

Winnicott, D.W. (1965) The Family and Individual Development   London  Routledge  2006

Winnicott, D.W. (1971) Playing and Reality    London    Routledge   2005

Winnicott, D.W. (1977) The Piggle : An Account of the Psychoanalytic Treatment of a Little Girl    London   Penguin Books      1991

Young, N. (1970, composer and vocalist) ‘Helpless’ on  Deja Vu  performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  For me this song gets in touch with the wonder and awe of adolescence.  Access at :

Young,R.M. (1994)  Mental Space      London    Process Press

© and Charles Sharpe