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 30, 2007

The Wonderful Happens by Cynthia Rylant

Illustrated by Coco Dowley. 34 p., Simon and Schuster, 2000.

The author draws the reader's awareness to the wonder of everyday things, such as bread, cats, apples, roses, and pie. She comments that "the wonderful" happens over and over again - including in the existence of the child reader. This book will help to promote children's self-acceptance through a sense of having a place in the world of nature.

Ages: 4-7
Cultural Context: multicultural

Sunday, December 23, 2007

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 16, 2007

Storm in the Night by Mary Stolz

Illustrated by Pat Cummings. 32 pages. Harper and Row, 1988.

During a storm that interrupts electric service, Thomas, about six or seven years old, notices sounds and smells in a way that he hadn't before. Although he says he isn't afraid, his grandfather tells him a story of being fearful during a storm at Thomas's age. As the story goes on, Thomas is able to acknowledge his fear a little, and the storm subsides. Children may be more able to acknowledge their own fears after reading this story.

Ages: 3-8
Cultural Context: African American

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Jewel Box Ballerinas by Monique de Varennes

Illus by Ana Juan. 40 pages. Random House, 2007.

Sometimes the capacity for friendship and caring can be found in unlikely places. Bibi, a wealthy woman who loves fine things, doesn't have any friends. One of her possessions is a bejeweled music box that has two beautiful, but very sad-looking, ballerinas inside. When Bibi eventually acknowledges the ballerinas' sadness, she tries to cheer them up. She kisses them, and although she isn't sure this changes their expressions, she notices that it feels good to her to love them. Trying to make the ballerinas happy, Bibi takes them a on a trip around the world. But she loses the ballerinas. As she searches desperately for them, she says she'd give up all her possessions to have them. At this moment, they grow into real girls as they're reunited with Bibi. She realizes that she has friends - and that friends are all she really needs. Bibi has shown children that friendship is more valuable than ownership of things, and more subtly, that being a friend means treating the other like a person, not an object.

Ages: 4-8
Cultural Context: multicultural

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Edible Pyramid: Good Eating Every Day by Loreen Leedy

32 p., Holiday, 1994.

The Edible Pyramid restaurant opens, and the maitre'd explains the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid, which recommends food choices for good nutrition. Many examples of each level of the pyramid are shown, and the book includes a helpful discussion of the meaning of serving sizes. This book offers clear, useful information on healthy nutrition, with a positive outlook on fruits and vegetables and the realistic advice to allow small amounts of sweets and fats.

Ages: 5-9
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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