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, December 12, 2011

I Remember Miss Perry by Pat Brisson

Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch.32 p., Dial, 2006.

The sudden death of a caring teacher is a painful loss. As this caring, warm-hearted story begins, Stevie has just moved and started attending a new school. He feels lonely and worried until his teacher, Miss Perry, empathizes with him and invites him to join her for lunch, using the charming phrase that this is her "fondest wish." It turns out that Miss Perry has fondest wishes about many things, including classroom activities and appropriate behavior. Then, one day, Miss Perry isn't at school. The principal teaches the children in the morning, and after lunch, all of their parents are there. Gently, the prinicipal explains that Miss Perry died in a head-on collision on her way to school that day. Children cling to their parents, cry, and ask questions, which the principal answers kindly. The principal and school counselor spend the next day with the class. Normalizing the children's tears, the counselor asks them to tell her about Miss Perry. With the principal's encouragement, they recall together the good times they'd had with her - and her fondest wishes. The counselor invites the children to consider what Miss Perry's fondest wish would be for that day. Although they're sad, the children are able to suggest tributes to Miss Perry: not being too sad, remembering the fun they'd had with her, getting along well with one another, learning a lot in school, and finally, being happy the way Miss Perry had been. The gentle ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations clearly convey the characters' emotions. Children who have had a loss like Stevie's will feel supported and will better understand the process of grieving.

Ages 5-8

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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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