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, December 31, 2006

The Way the Storm Stops by Michelle Meadows

Illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger. 32 pages. Holt, 2003.

A girl watches as it starts to rain, and as it rains harder and harder and thunder and lightning begin. This frightens the girl, who curls up under her covers. But Mommy comes and scoops her up, rocking her under a cozy blanket, and she can feel safe again. The storm begins to fade, and the girl can go to sleep. With its creative use of sounds and rhythm, this story reassures children about seeking comfort from a parent when they're scared.

Ages: 2-5
Cultural Context: African American

Saturday, December 23, 2006

All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka

32 p., Morrow, 1994.

This poetically worded book celebrates the many colors that children come in, and the many textures their hair can have. According to the author, like children, love comes in many colors. This book promotes acceptance and appreciation of diversity among people.

Ages: 3-7
Cultural Context: multicultural

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mama, I'll Give You the World by Roni Schotter

Illustrated by S. Saelig Gallagher. 34 pages. Schwartz & Wade, 2006.

When a child can count on a parent's empathy and care, they can give each other the world. Luisa's single mother works hard as a hair stylist to save money for Luisa's college education - a way to give Luisa the world. Luisa comes to the salon after school and does her homework, and then entertains herself while Mama works. Mama seems sad in ways that Luisa is too young to understand. Luisa gives her mother a surprise birthday party that helps Mama to reconnect with her capacity for joy - and in doing this, she has given Mama the world. Using Luisa as an example, children will understand that their love is truly meaningful to people close to them.

Ages: 4-8
Cultural Context: multicultural

Sunday, December 10, 2006

No, David! by David Shannon

32 pages. Scholastic, 1998.

Rambunctious children often feel that their parents always seem to be saying No to them. In this story, David tracks mud across the living room floor, runs down the street naked, plays elaborately with his food, picks his nose, and plays baseball in the living room. Each time, his mom tells him No! But on the last page, she hugs him and tells him that she loves him. This book might help kids understand that their parents don't stop loving them when they say No. On a more subtle level, it might also help children separate their inappropriate behavior from who they are as individuals, which allows them to change their behavior and still be themselves.

Ages: 2-6
Cultural Context: European American

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Barnyard Song by Rhonda Gowler Greene

Illustrated by Robert Bender. 32 pages. Atheneum, 1997.

All the animals at the farm come down with the flu and have to go to bed for a week in this rhyming story. Their voices are distorted by the addition of sniffling and sneezing sounds to the usual sounds. After a visit from a doctor and a nurse, the farmer feeds the animals soup. Soon they're all feeling better and vocalizing in their normal way again. Children will enjoy the silly animal sounds, and will understand that the flu will pass after a week or so.

Ages: 1-4
Cultural Context: non-human

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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