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, March 26, 2012

Brave Bear by Kathy Mallat

24 p., Walker and Company, 1999.

In this almost wordless book, a little bear sees a bird that has fallen from its nest, and offers to help. The bear is doubtful and scared climbing up the bird's tree, but keeps on going. The bear eventually puts the bird back in the nest, and feels confident. This story encourages children to keep trying even when they think they can't do something, and shows them that courage means persisting even when they're afraid.

Ages 1-3

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Healing Tree by Kathleen Maresh Hemery

Illustrated by Kyra Teis.25 p., Centering Corporation, 2001.

Samantha asks her Baba (grandma) Marta why the tree has a scar. Baba tells her how the tree was special to her because it had an important role in some of her best times with her mother. When Baba's mother died, when Baba was still a little girl, lightning struck the tree, causing it to lose the branch from which Baba's swing hung. The tree became like Baba and her family, scarred by a sudden loss and changed forever, but eventually healing. This story offers children empathy with the pain of losing someone close, and hope that there is healing after grief.

Ages 6-10

Monday, March 12, 2012

All Kinds of Children by Norma Simon

Illustrated by Diane Paterson. 32 p., Whitman, 1999.

Children all over the world have a lot in common: they all need food, clothes, sleep, and people to love them; they all live in houses; they all like to play, to hold something special, like a blanket, and to hear or read stories. And all children grow up. At the same time, there are differences among children; for example, although all children sleep, they may have different kinds of beds and dream different kinds of dreams. This story helps children recognizes their commonalities across cultures, while acknowledging differences.

Ages 2-5

Monday, March 5, 2012

How Humans Make Friends by Loreen Leedy

32 p., Holiday House, 1996.

Zork, an extraterrestrial, gives extraterrestrial audience a slide presentation about the ways that he or she has observed that humans make friends. Zork gives examples of how and where friends meet and what they might do together and talk about. Zork explains the ways that humans do (for example, by taking turns and listening) and don't (for example, acting bossy or selfish) get along with each other, and identifies some of the feelings people have in each case. Zork explains how humans work out conflicts, admit their mistakes, and apologize to and forgive one another. Zork's lecture ends with information about types of friends (for example, close or casual friends) and ways to keep in touch (for example, phone, letters, and email). Zork tells readers that friends get along by keeping secrets and don't get along when they "blab" them; children may need to be reminded that they should tell a secret if it makes them uncomfortable or could cause someone to get hurt. Otherwise, this book is full of practical, accessible information about friendship and social skills.

Ages 3-8

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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