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 17, 2012

We Shake in a Quake by Hannah Gelman Givon

Illustrated by David Uttal.32 p., Tricycle, 2006. Earthquakes are scary, but they're more tolerable when you can talk about your feelings, understand what's happened, and feel prepared for the next one. As this story begins, a little boy wakes to an earthquake. He stays under his bed, frightened but trying to stay calm, until the shaking stops, and his parents and his friendly puppy come to him. Mom and Daddy compliment the child's behavior, and everyone in the family acknowledges how scary the earthquake was. Although there's minor damage in the house, the adults reassure the child that this isn't important, because people stayed safe. The adults make a safety plan so that everyone can be prepared for any future earthquakes. The children want to help implement it, and so they go shopping with their Mom for non-perishable food (including food for the dog), bottled water, wet wipes, and battery-operated flashlights and radio. Afterward, they store the supplies in the hall closet. When the child goes back to school, kids talk about their feelings about the earthquake, the class practices "drop and cover" drills, and their teacher explains the geology of earthquakes. The child also copes with distressed feelings by drawing angry pictures and creating his own, controllable, earthquakes with toy block buildings. The book includes a glossary of earthquake-related words and an afterword on earthquake preparedness. With its energetic rhymes and Dr. Seuss-inspired watercolor illustrations, this story addresses both the practical and the emotional aspects of earthquakes in an accessible, child-friendly way. Ages 4-8

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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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