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, February 25, 2007

The Zax (in Sneetches and Other Stories) by Dr. Seuss

10 pages. Random House, 1989.

There's bound to be trouble when a North-Going Zax meets a South-Going Zax. Each one thinks the other is in his way, and each refuses to move aside, because that would mean going east or west, and neither is willing to do that. They yell at each other righteously, but neither one will move, so neither can go anywhere. Highways and cities are built, and the highway has to include an overpass over the Zax, who haven't budged an inch. This story shows children quite clearly, and with humor, how silly people look when they're stubborn.

Ages: 3-8
Cultural Context: non-human

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Wobbly Tooth by Nancy Evans Cooney

Illustrated by Marylin Hafner. 32 pages. Putnam, 1978.

It can be frustrating to wait for a loose tooth to come out. Elizabeth Ann has one that just won't come out, not matter what she does. Even when she tries to forget about it, she can't help thinking about it. Finally, during a baseball game with friends, she is able to forget about it - and it comes out. Children will feel reassured that even a stubborn loose tooth will come out eventually.

Ages: 4-7
Cultural Context: multicultural

Wobbly Tooth

Sunday, February 11, 2007

When I Feel Good About Myself by Cornelia Maude Spelman

Illustrated by Kathy Parkinson. 24 pages. Whitman, 2003.

A little guinea pig says that she feels good about herself. She feels loved, and she knows that it's OK to be just the way she is. Realizing that some things will be easy for her to do and others will be more difficult, as they are for all of us, she understands that her unique contributions are valuable. The little guinea pig likes to learn, and can try again if she makes a mistake. A foreword for parents and teachers is included. This book gives young children a strong positive message about self-acceptance.

Ages: 2-5
Cultural Context: non-human

Sunday, February 4, 2007

To Be a Drum by Evelyn Coleman

Illustrated by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. 32 pages. Whitman, 1998.

In this story, which is illustrated with vibrant multimedia images, a father poetically tells his son and daughter about the history of the African American people, including slavery, the civil rights movement, and accomplishments in the arts, sciences, and business. This story inspires pride in African American heritage.

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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