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, October 31, 2011

My Family is Forever by Nancy Carlson

32 p., Viking, 2004.

Families are forever, whether they're formed by adoption or by birth. In this story, a little girl tells about her family, which was formed by adoption. Although she doesn't look like her parents, she has her dad's cooking skills and her mom's dancing skills. Her family helps each other and loves each other no matter how things are going, and she knows that her family will always be with her. The girl feels confident that her parents wanted her very much and that she's very special to them. This doesn't mean that she doesn't wonder about her birth parents, but she does feel sure that they wanted her to have a loving family - which she does.The author's colorful, distinctive illustrations are full of the energy of childhood and the girl's joy in feeling secure with her family. Children will feel reassured to know that love and caring make a family

Ages 4-7

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jess Was the Brave One by Jean Little

Illustrated by Janet Wilson.32 p., Viking, 1991.

Claire wishes she were as brave as her sister, Jess. Jess is brave when they get shots at the doctor's office, climb trees, meet big dogs, and watch scary TV shows. She's not afraid of the dark or thunderstorms. Their father attributes Claire's fearfulness to an excessive imagination. But when bullies take Jess's teddy bear, Claire uses this imagination bravely to get them to give the bear back. This story shows children that they can be brave even though they think of themselves as fearful - and in fact, the source of their fears can also be a source of courage.

Ages 3-7

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Red Balloon by Eve Bunting

Illustrated by Kay Life.32 p., Boyds Mills, 2005.

When a parent has been away, even the joy of homecoming can be tinged with worry and concern. Bobby’s father is coming home from the Navy, and Bobby is taking a special heart-shaped red balloon when he and Mom go to meet his ship. Mom has told Daddy that he will have the balloon when they reunite, and to Bobby, this means that Daddy will know it’s him by the balloon. He worries that Daddy won’t recognize him, so when the balloon comes loose and flies away, he bursts into tears. But the balloon floats over to the sailors, and Bobby sees Daddy and calls to him. Daddy tells him that he know the balloon was his, and then he found Bobby in the crowd. The red balloons stands out in the realistic, pastel-colored watercolor illustrations. When a parent is away for a long time, this story offers children reassurance that they can count on the relationship.

Ages 4-7

Monday, October 10, 2011

Best Best Friends by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

32 p., Harcourt, 2006.

Sometimes even the best of friends feel jealous and have conflicts. Preschoolers Mary and Clare are “best best friends” who like to do everything together. But on Mary’s birthday, she gets special treatment at preschool that gets in the way of their routines. Clare feels resentful and jealous, and talks to Mary in a mildly hurtful way. They verbalize anger at each other and say that they aren’t friends. After each plays with other children, Clare draws a picture for Mary and wishes her a happy birthday. Mary invites her to play, and they’re friends again. Illustrated with boldly printed, eye-catching illustrations, this story shows young children how to recover from inevitable conflicts and maintain friendships.

Ages 2-4

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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