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, November 29, 2009

The Grumpy Morning by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Illustrated by Darcia Labrosse. 25 p., Hyperion, 1998.

This story is more about day-to-day grumpiness than full-blown anger. One morning, all the farm animals ask to be fed, cuddled, or milked, in ways that have a strong resemblance to the voices of cranky toddlers. When the farmer wakes up, she greets them all cheerfully and gives them everything they need. Her calm response supports children's sense that that their irritability can be contained.

Ages: 2-4
Cultural Context: non-human

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Day We Met You by Phoebe Koehler

40 p., Bradbury Press, 1990.

When a mother and father receive a phone call saying it's time to adopt their baby, they lovingly assemble all the things a baby needs: a car seat, bottles, formula, diapers, pajamas, shirts, socks, pacifiers, a mobile, a teddy bear, a quilt, and a cradle. They decorate the baby's room with wind chimes and flowers. As the story ends, they fall instantly in love with the baby. An afterword discusses ways to talk with children about their adoption. This story offers very young children an understanding of adoption that emphasizes' parents love and caring.

Ages: 2-4
Cultural Context: European American

Sunday, November 8, 2009

See You Soon, Moon by Donna Conrad.

Illustrated by Don Carter. 30 p., Knopf, 2001.

 This story is about taking a little part of home with us when we go away. One night, a boy and his parents leave for a trip to Grandma's house. The boy says goodbye to his room, his yard, his favorite toys (though he reconsiders saying goodbye to his blanket and takes it with him), and the moon. He's surprised to find that the moon comes along with them. This story shows kids that unfamiliar surroundings don't have to feel completely strange.

Ages: 1-3
Cultural Context: European American

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland

Illustrated by Tatsuro Kiuchi. 32 p., Harcourt/Voyager, 1993.

A Vietnamese girl tells how her grandmother collected a lotus seed to remember the emperor's courage when he lost his throne. The grandmother marries, and her husband goes off to war. She keeps the seed, with her through many situations that require courage of her: from her husband's departure, bombings, flight to the United States in a boat, and the adjustment and hard work she faces in the new land. Eventually, the narrator's brother, curious, steals and plants the seed. Their grandmother is distraught at the loss of the seed - but it eventually grows and blooms, "the flower of life and hope." It produces new seeds, some of which the grandmother gives to her grandchildren, saving one to remember the emperor's courage. The narrator plans to plant her seed someday, and to give the seeds to the children she will have. This story shows children a way to make life-sustaining meaning in spite of devastation.

Ages: 5-8
Cultural Context: Asian 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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