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, August 26, 2007

Furry by Holly Keller

24 p., Greenwillow, 1992.

Laura wants a pet, but she finds that she has allergic symptoms around all kinds of animals, and her doctor diagnoses her as allergic to animals with fur or feathers. She cries. Her friend, her parents, and her brother offer her other kinds of pets - a frog, a snake, a goldfish, a turtle - but Laura feels that she only wants a pet with fur. But when her brother brings home a chameleon for her, she can't help being fascinated by it. Her brother suggests the name "Furry" for it. She acknowledges that "maybe" she could like it. This story will help allergic children feel hopeful that they could enjoy a pet that they aren't allergic to.

Ages: 4-7
Cultural Context: European American

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How My Parents Learned To Eat by Ina R. Friedman

Illustrated by Allen Say. 32 pages. Houghton Mifflin, 1984.

A girl tells about the experiences of her parents, a Japanese student and an American sailor, when they first met. Wanting very much to eat dinner together, but not wanting to acknowledge to each other that they don't know how, they learn each other's eating customs, he from a waiter, she from her uncle, who had visited England. Both want very much to eat in each other's style. So, the girl concludes, at their house they sometimes eat with knives and forks, and sometimes with chopsticks. The parents show a good example of mutual respect across cultures, and the girl's comfort with her multicultural heritage shows children a way to make room for elements of different cultures.

Ages: 4-8
Cultural Context: multicultural

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bye-Bye, Big Bad Bullybug! by Ed Emberley

32 pages. Little, Brown, 2007.

Bullies can be scary at least partly because they're big, and it's a relief to discover that there's someone bigger. When the Big Bad Bullybug putt-putts down in his spaceship, he threatens to scare, bite, growl at, tickle, pinch, scratch, stomp on, and finally eat up the itty-bitty baby bugs. In his trademark style, Ed Emberley reveals the bug by adding one frightening feature at a time. When the Bullybug is complete, readers get a sudden sense of perspective as a giant sneaker appears and squooshes it so that it putt-putts away. With its brilliant colors and delightful alliteration, this remarkable book evokes kids' tension and provides a reassuring resolution. It clearly conveys the message that even when a bully seems big and scary, someone who's even bigger can keep them safe.

Ages: 3-7
Cultural Context: non-human

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Don't Forget To Come Back! by Robie H. Harris

Illustrated by Harry Bliss. 34 pages. Candlewick, 2004.

It can be scary when your parents go out, but you might discover that you're safe with your babysitter. The little girl in this story is so worried about her parents' going out for the evening that she imagines that a moose will come into the house and eat her up. She questions her parents' love for her, and in her anger, acts out what they're about to do - leave her - by "running away" to the closet. Her parents calmly accept her concerns, and her babysitter, Sarah, joins her in lots of her favorite activities - eating pizza, painting their nails, and putting on clown make-up. In the morning, the little girl lets her parents - and readers - know that she's been safe with Sarah by telling them that Sarah didn't let a moose in. Readers know that she really means it when they see a huge moose resting its chin on the roof of the family's house. Children will understand that their feelings are accepted, their parents do come back, and they can be safe and have fun with a sitter even when their parents are out.

Ages: 3-7
Cultural Context: European American

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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