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.

Monday, June 7, 2010

One of Us by Peggy Moss

Illustrated by Penny Weber. 32 p., Tilbury House, 2010.

Fitting in can be a complex and difficult process for children, and seems to be a concern at earlier and earlier ages. In this empathic, upbeat story, Roberta faces this difficulty when she enters a new school. She finds her new classmates very accepting - lots of kids tell her that she's "one of us." The only problem is, being "one of us" means being "the same" in very limited ways. For example, Roberta likes to play on the monkey bars, and she makes friends there with other children who have the same interest. But when she tries to eat lunch with them, they tell her that she has to eat with the kids whose lunchboxes look like hers. It seems as if whenever she has one attribute that allows her to fit in, something else about her leads kids to reject her. In spite of this, Roberta stays true to herself; for example, when a group who claims her rejects monkey bars, she follows her own natural inclination to play on them anyway. In spite of this, as the day goes on, Roberta feels more and more confused. Will she ever fit in? Finally, she meets Anna, "a trumpet-playing girl who likes baseball and car racing and ballet." Anna's friends have diverse interests, too. Not only that, but Anna values the differences among her friends! At last, Roberta has truly found her place. Reading this story, children can expand their ideas about what it means to fit in, and can find ways to fit in and still be themselves fully.

Ages 6-11
Main character's cultural background: ambiguous; perhaps African American, Latina, or European American
Cultural context: multicultural

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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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