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, July 27, 2008

Telling Isn't Tattling by Kathryn Hammerseng

Illustrated by Dave Garbot. 31 pages. Parenting Press, 1995.

The first page of this book explains the difference between tattling and telling. The following pages offer 13 vignettes, followed by a question about whether a character was tattling or telling. The clear implication is that tattling is not appropriate, but telling is not only appropriate, but necessary. The vignettes include abusive or potentially abusive situations such as one in which a mom asks her daughter not to tell about dad's violence toward mom, one in which a boy asks a girl to pull her pants down, one in which a girl's dad's (male) friend suggests that he touch her all over, and one in which a stranger promises children ice cream if they get into his car. The author explains that it's appropriate for children to tell in these situations. This book will help children understand when they should tell a trusted adult, which could help avert otherwise dangerous situations.

Ages: 5-8
Cultural Context: multicultural

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle

Illustrated by Mike Gordon and Carl Gordon. 32 pages. Rising Moon, 2003.

A little girl asks her Mommy whether princesses wear hiking boots, and Mommy responds with a rhyming yes. Princesses ride bikes, climb trees, play in puddles, sand, and dirt, and even do chores and follow rules. Princesses even snort when they laugh sometimes, snore, and have bad days when they cry and fuss. The girl asks her Mommy whether princesses are at all like her, and Mommy invites her to look inside herself for the answer. The last page has a mirror for the reader to see a princess. This story lets girls know that they can be any kind of princess they want to be - and lets boys know that princesses need not be restricted in the ways they might assume.

Ages: 4-8
Cultural Context: multicultural

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Do Not Open by Brinton Turkle

32 pages. Dutton, 1981.

Unlike her cat, Captain Kidd, Miss Moody isn't afraid of storms; all of her favorite possessions were washed up on the beach after a storm. She isn't even scared of a monster in a bottle who starts wars and causes nightmares. In fact, she tricks the monster into non-existence (with help from Captain Kidd), and gets what she wants most - her clock begins to work. Timid children may find the illustrations of the monster too scary. For those who don't, Miss Moody is a good role model for staying confident and keeping your wits about you in scary situations.

Ages: 5-8
Cultural Context: European American

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball by Vicki Churchill

Illustrated by Charles Fuge. 22 pages. Sterling Publishing Company, 2001.

A little wombat is sometimes in the mood to curl up small and quiet, other times to jump or scream and make noise; sometimes to walk or run around, other times to be very still; and still other times, to make messes or silly faces. The end of the day is a special time for curling up in a cozy place. Illustrations are bright and exuberant. Although this rhyming book doesn't identify emotions by name, it addresses awareness of inner states on a less verbal level, encouraging a healthy sense of self-observation and self-acceptance.

Ages: 1-3
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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