Welcome to the online home of Healing Stories: Picture Books for the Big and Small Changes in a Child's Life. Here you'll find information about Healing Stories, along with unique resources to support you in using picture books to help children through the challenges they face, from the everyday to major trauma.

Have you ever wished that you could find just the right book for a child? Maybe a child in your life is anticipating a big change, such as having a new brother or sister, starting school for the first time, or moving to a new house. Maybe something difficult and painful has happened, such as a divorce, a serious illness, or a death. Or maybe you just know a child who is fearful at bedtime, or is a fussy eater, or has a bad day occasionally. It may have occurred to you that sharing a story could help the child in your life manage the situation that she or he is going through.

Why a story? A healing story is a comforting experience. As a child, it’s a comfort to know that other kids have gone through what you’re going through - whether it’s something as ordinary as starting school for the first time, or something as traumatic as a natural disaster. It’s a comfort to know that other children have had the feelings you’re having, and that there are ways to solve the problem or to get through the situation. Most of all, it’s a comfort to share this experience by reading with an adult who cares deeply about you. And when you’ve read this healing story with your parent or another caring adult enough, the book itself - and ultimately, the story (in the absence of a physical book) - becomes a comfort. But, as a parent or other concerned adult, how will you find this healing story to share with your child?

Healing Stories puts at your fingertips an annotated listing of more than 500 picture books that was prepared just for this purpose. Each story or nonfiction picture book has been carefully selected by a psychologist who works extensively with children. Each chapter includes summaries of picture books relevant to a specific concern that children may have, empowering you to select the books that best match the child and the situation you’re concerned about. Healing Stories also includes a helpful introduction that discusses ways to use books with children who are experiencing life changes or stress.

Below you'll find reviews of picture books that aren't included in Healing Stories, and can be valuable sources of healing for children.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

All Families Are Special by Norma Simon

Illustrated by T. Flavin. 32 pages. Whitman, 2003.

When teacher Mrs. Mack shares with her class the news that she's going to be a grandmother, the kids want to talk about their families. Families are big and small, come in many colors and have ancestry in many countries, include adopted and biological children, and can have all kinds of parents - married parents, single parents, stepparents, grandparents, and two mommies. Families have a variety of living arrangements. The kids think of several kinds of happy and sad times that their families have had together, and Mrs. Mack tells them that families support each other in bad times and enjoy good times together. She affirms the importance of each child in his or her family, and the specialness of each family. One limitation is that a child of divorced parents explains that "that's the way it is when you divorce" - but he hasn't divorced; his parents have. Otherwise, though, this book will promote acceptance of all kinds of families.

Ages: 4-8
Cultural Context: multicultural

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Richard Wright and the Library Card by William Miller

Illustrated by Gregory Christie. 32 pages. Lee & Low, 1997.

Growing up poor in the segregated South, Richard longs to read, but is not allowed to borrow library books because he is African American. A co-worker lends him his library card. Richard tells the librarian he is checking out books for the co-worker, and when he is questioned, he says he is illiterate. Later, his co-workers taunt him about his reading. Yet Richard is profoundly moved by what he reads; for him, books are an important part of his journey to freedom. This is an inspiring story of a courageous struggle against racism.

Ages: 7-10
Cultural Context: multicultural

Monday, September 11, 2006

September Roses by Jeannette Winter

40 pp. Farrar/Frances Foster, 2004.

Two sisters in South Africa, professional rose growers, pack 2,400 roses for a flower show to be held in New York City. They arrive on September 11, 2001, witnessing the devastation of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Because there is no place for the sisters to go, they stay in the airport until a man offers them a place to stay. In return, they offer him their roses. He brings them to Union Square, where the roses are needed. The sisters arrange the roses on the grass in a memorial to the two towers. This story offers children a way to be kind and to create meaning in a devastating time.

Ages: 5-8
Cultural Context: multicultural

About the Author

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Jacqueline Golding, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Pleasanton, California who works with children, teens, and adults. A graduate of Yale University, Dr. Golding earned her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Central Contra Costa County Child, Adolescent, and Family Mental Health Service in Concord, California. She holds an appointment as Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco and has published over 100 articles in scientific and professional journals on topics such as trauma, depression, and cultural issues in mental health. Dr. Golding is represented by the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency.

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