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, March 25, 2007

Felix Feels Better by Rosemary Wells

32 pages. Candlewick, 2001.

After eating too much candy and staying up too late, Felix wakes up feeling, as his mama says, "peaky." When home remedies don't seem to help, she takes him to Doctor Duck. Felix is afraid that he will have to face Doctor Duck without his mama, and is relieved when the doctor lets his mama stay for the entire examination. Doctor Duck gives Felix Happy Tummy medicine, and the next day, he is his old self again, full of energy. This story reassures children that treatment for minor illnesses isn't scary, and the illness won't last long.

Ages: 2-5
Cultural Context: non-human

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Surprise Garden by Zoe Hall

Illustrated by Shari Halpern. 32 pages. Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, 1998.

Three children plant unmarked seeds, water their garden, and wait for surprises to grow. They find vegetables, a watermelon, and a sunflower. The children enjoy picking the vegetables and eating them at a party. There is no explicit information about nutrition, but the story and the bright illustrations create a sense of anticipation about the vegetables. An afterword shows the different kinds of seeds and the vegetables they grew into.

Ages: 2-6
Cultural Context: European American

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Two Strikes, Four Eyes by Ned Delaney

32 pages. Houghton Mifflin, 1976.

Toby is a nearsighted mouse who loves baseball. Afraid of being called "Sissy" or "Four Eyes" if he's seen wearing his glasses, he won't wear them in front of his teammates, and instead they tease him about his poor playing. When he eventually plays with his glasses, he wins the championship game for his team. His teammates ask him why he never wore his glasses before, and finally appreciate him. Children will understand that if you can't see, but should be able to, it doesn't matter how you look - it just isn't worth it.

Ages: 3-8
Cultural Context: non-human

Sunday, March 4, 2007

How I Named the Baby by Linda Shute

32 pages. Whitman, 1993.

One way that children can be involved in a new baby's life is to help think of baby names. James immediately asks to have this role when Momma tells him about her pregnancy. He also decides to make the baby a birthday picture during the last month of Momma's pregnancy. Because the baby is to be born in June, he includes the word "June" on the picture, along with images of the baby and the things he and the baby will share. This inspires the family to consider naming the baby June, if she's a girl. This is the one girl's name that everyone agrees is perfect -- and the baby is a girl. This book includes an appendix with popular names in several countries, and their meanings. This story will encourage children to participate in naming their new brother or sister, and by doing this, to have a special involvement in the baby's life from the beginning.

Ages: 4-7
Cultural Context: multicultural

How I Named the Baby

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.

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