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, November 26, 2006

A Princess in Boxland by Tanja Sz├ękessy

Translated by J. Alison James. 25 p., North-South Books, 1996.

Preschool-age Marie imagines she is a princess and, as she gets inside a cardboard carton, tumbles into Boxland. There she meets the king and queen, who wear one box for clothing and a box each for crowns. She has several adventures, sailing in a paper boat and outwitting the royal lion, before she has to go home. This story shows kids how to transform an ordinary object into the gateway to imaginary adventures.

Ages: 2-5
Cultural Context: multicultural

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Family for Jamie: An Adoption Story by Suzanne Bloom

24 pages. Clarkson N. Potter, 1991.

Molly and Dan can make almost anything, from cookies to bird houses, but although they wish for a child to share these with, they can't make a baby. They decide to adopt a baby, and visit a social worker. As they wait through the winter, spring, and summer for a baby, they anticipate the fun things they'll do with their child during each season. At the same time, they acknowledge the child's individuality, realizing that the child might not enjoy doing the things they enjoy. Finally, in the fall, the social worker has found a baby for them, and they're full of joy as they bring baby Jamie home. Their family and friends are happy with them. This story will help young children understand the adoption process in a positive, age-appropriate way.

Ages: 1-4
Cultural Context: multicultural

A Family for Jamie: AN ADOPTION STORY

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Amber on the Mountain by Tony Johnston

Illustrated by R. Duncan. 32 pages. Dial, 1994.

Amber lives in an isolated mountain community where there is no school. She longs to read, but has never had a chance to learn how. When Anna's father comes to the mountain to build a road, Amber meets and becomes friends with Anna, who decides to help her learn to read. Athough it's frustrating for Amber, Anna encourages her to be stubborn about it, and she does learn. Then Anna decides she's going to teach Amber to write. But she doesn't have the opportunity - her father has finished the road, and her family is moving away. As a going-away gift, she gives Amber the book that inspired her to read, and Amber gives her a clay mule, representing the determination that Anna helped her find in herself. When Amber receives letters from Anna, she decides to teach herself to write. With the tenacity she's found through Anna, she succeeds, and writes Anna a letter. The two friends maintain their connection through letters even though they're far apart. Children will understand that encouraging the development of each other's strengths and feeling joy in each other's successes enrich friendships.

Ages: 6-10
Cultural Context: European American

Sunday, November 5, 2006

When I Care About Others by Cornelia Maude Spelman

Illustrated by Kathy Parkinson. 24 pages. Whitman, 2002.

A little bear recounts some of the ways that others care about him or her, and realizes that s/he can care about others in similar ways. The bear presents the important insight that other people have the same kinds of feelings that the bear does, and shows how to use this to make decisions about interpersonal behavior. Since the bear dislikes being teased or pushed, s/he doesn't tease or push others. Since the bear likes it when others act friendly, share, and compliment, the bear extends friendliness, sharing, and compliments to others. Notes for parents and teachers explain how children develop empathy and compassion, and give specific suggestions for promoting these qualities. Children will learn how to use their own feelings to get along with other people in a positive way.

Ages: 2-5
Cultural Context: non-human

About the Author

My photo
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.

Blog Archive