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 30, 2013

Brave, Brave Mouse by Michaela Morgan

Illustrated by Michelle Cartlidge.32 p., Whitman, 2004. Sometimes, when kids are scared, they feel like they have to do everything that they're scared of. Little Mouse is scared of many things - shadows, bright light, loud noises, and silence. But sometimes, when he's scared, he can remind himself that he's brave, and that things will work out all right - for example, when he stays with a babysitter, or swims in a pool for the first time, or tries a new food, or tolerates a dental examination. he reminds himself that shadows aren't dangerous, and he can always turn on the light. But sometimes it's important for Little Mouse to make use of the information he's getting from his fears. When other mouse children tell him to do the playground stunts that they're doing, and that if he doesn't he'll be a "scaredy-mouse," and he doesn't want to do those things, he bravely refuses. Ages 3-6

Monday, December 23, 2013

Good Thing You're Not an Octopus! by Julie Marke

Illustrated by Maggie Smith. 32 p., HarperCollins, 2001. When we don't feel like doing something we have to do, sometimes a change in perspective helps. This book offers children just that. For exampl, if we don't like getting dressed in the morning, we can remind ourselves that it's a good thing we aren't an octopus - it would be so much more work to put eight legs into our pants. With gentle humor, the author gives many more examples from children's daily lives. Expressively and imaginatively illustrated, this book offers children a positive perspective, and ends on an affirming, encouraging note: "It's a good thing you're YOU!" Ages 3-6

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bittle by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan

Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. 32 p., HarperCollins/Cotler, 2004. Having a new baby may be easier for some children to accept if they hear it from a pet's perspective. In this story, Nigel the cat and Julia the dog have a happy life until their humans start preparing for a baby's arrival. When they realize that a baby's coming, and even when she's first born, they're apprehensive. But they find that they can make the baby, whom they call Bittle, happy when no one else can. When Bittle cries in her crib, Nigel jumps in and curls up with her, and she stops crying. The pets play with the baby at night, and bring back the toys that she throws out of her crib. As Bittle gets older, Julia and Nigel discover that they have interests in common with her. And when Bittle starts to talk, she doesn't say "mama" or "papa" - she says "woof" and "meow." With its energetic, colorful illustrations, this story shows children that even if having a new baby doesn't sound great, they can find ways to connect happily with their younger sibling. Ages 3-6

Monday, December 9, 2013

Help Is On the Way : A Child's Book About ADD by Marc Nemiroff and Jane Annunziata

Illustrated by Margaret Scott. 64 p., Magination, 1998 When you have an attention disorder, many things are difficult, but there are lots of kinds of help. This book explains the difficulties kids can have with an attention disorder or hyperactivity (which the authors refer to collectively as ADD): having trouble staying still, maintaining attention, acting or speaking before thinking, having trouble attending to others' feelings, disorganization, or memory problems. The authors acknowledge the frustration, anger, and sadness that can result from ADD, as well as feelings of low self-confidence and social isolation. In brief, age-appropriate ways, they describe the kinds of help that parents, teachers, tutors, pediatricians, psychologists, psychotherapists, and neurologists can provide, as well as noting that medicine is helpful for some children. They explicitly reassure kids that they are not to blame for having ADD, and that when they make use of the help that's available, they will feel better about themselves and do better at home and at school. They also name some of the benefits of ADD (for example, high energy and creative ideas). An afterword for parents and caregivers explains more about the nature of attention and hyperactivity disorders (including the important point that not all ADD-like behaviors are in fact due to ADD) and provides helpful ideas about ways to support the child who has ADD. With its reassuring illustrations and gentle, informative text, this book will help children and parents understand and manage attention and hyperactivity disorders. Ages 5-9

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy

16 p., Candlewick, 2003. How do you appreciate a new baby? You see the baby and appreciate how tiny the baby is. You feed the hungry baby, sing to the baby, tickle the baby, and of course, you kiss the baby! With its bold, black and white illustrations whose splashes of color spread onto the page at the end, this simple story is joyful and loving. Ages 0-2

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sally and the Some-Thing by George O'Connor

32 p., Roaring Brook, 2006. Sometimes, making new friends involves looking past both appearances and an initial impression that you don't have anything in common. When Sally is bored, she rides her bike to the pond and goes fishing. She doesn't catch any fish, but she meets a green, slimy-looking Some-Thing. Many kids would be scared, but Sally isn't - she's happy that the Some-Thing isn't borning, and invites him to play. The Some-Thing isn't good at the kinds of things Sally likes to do, and it turns out that Sally finds the Some-Thing's favorite things either boring or too difficult. But Sally is a natural problem-solver, and she doesn't give up. Instead, she proposes that they make up new games to play together. This works out wonderfully for them - they play all day, until the Some-Thing is exhausted, and Sally takes him home to the pond. Colorfully and expressively illustrated, this story supports children in using their problem-solving skills toward making new friends. Ages 4-7

Monday, November 18, 2013

Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman

Illustrated by Carol Thompson. 18 p., Tricycle, 2009. In this sweet, simple, rhyming story, a small child plays with Daddy and Papa, playing make-believe, making paper airplanes, playing with toy cars, painting, sewing, cooking, making music, and playing catch - until both fathers need a rest. When that happens, the child tucks them in on the couch and gives each a good-night kiss. By showing the ordinary, loving moments in this family, his story is an antidote to the notion of two-dad families as "different" without ever having to address that notion explicitly. Available as a board book. Ages 1-3

Monday, November 11, 2013

Yes We Can! by Sam McBratney

Illustrated by Charles Fuge. 32 p., HarperCollins, 2007. When children make fun of each other, they feel bad. In this story, three animal friends (Little Roo, Quacker Duck, and Country Mouse) goad each other to do things that they can’t do, and then laugh at them when they can’t. Not surprisingly, they all end up feeling grumpy. When Little Roo’s mother sees this, she tells them that no one likes being laughed at, and suggests that they demonstrate what they can do, instead of what they can’t. Each one shows off a skill that one of the others had failed at earlier, and each time, receives compliments from the other two. Then Roo’s mother asks them whether they can be friends again. That’s something that all of them can do. With its friendly, colorful illustrations, this story encourages children to be empathic when someone can’t do something, and offers a way for them to feel good about themselves and their friends. Ages 3-7

Monday, November 4, 2013

How to Hug by Maryann Macdonald

Illustrated by Jana Christy. 32 p., Marshall Cavendish, 2011. This story both celebrates the joys of hugs and shows kids “how to hug” in ways that respect both people’s needs. For example, children are advised not to hug too tightly or too long, and to understand that “some creatures are too shy for hugging.” Likewise, the author validates children’s right to say no to hugs that they don’t want. With its colorful illustrations, full of charming facial expressions, this book encourages children to hug with an open heart. Ages 2-5

Monday, October 28, 2013

Humphrey's Bear by Jan Wahl

Illustrated by William Joyce. 32 p., Holt, 1987. Humphrey sleeps with a bear who wears a sailor suit. The bear had belonged to his father when he was a child. Humphrey overhears his father questioning whether he's too old to sleep with the bear. He snuggles the bear close, goes to sleep, and dreams a sailing adventure with the bear. He wakes up yelling for the bear. His father hands it to him, remembering the sailing dreams he had as a child with the bear. Although he doesn't say so, it's clear that it's OK with him now that Humphrey sleeps with the bear. This story gives children encouragement to accept their needs to keep a comforting object, even if that seems immature to others. Ages 4-7

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth by Alison McGhee

Illustrated by Harry Bliss. 40 p., Harcourt, 2004. Starting first grade can be scary, and it often coincide with losing a tooth. In this story, a little girl is frightened when she starts first grade - she has a loose tooth, and a second-grader has told her that the very innocuous-looking first-grade teacher, Mrs. Watson, is really an alien who steals her students' baby teeth. She decides that the only way to get through first grade is to keep her mouth closed. This isn't easy, since although she misses her kindergarten teacher, she's excited to try first-grade activities. When Mrs. Watson asks if anyone has a loose tooth, another child says he does. The girl tries to warn him about Mrs. Watson's propensity to steal teeth, and in the process, her loose tooth falls out. She discovers that not only does Mrs. Watson not steal kids' teeth, but also, she gives candy to kids who lose them. On the bus on the way home that day, she's able to let the second-grader know that she's onto her. Expressively illustrated in ink and watercolor, this story humorously addresses kids' fears about both first grade and losing a tooth at school. Ages 6-7

Monday, October 14, 2013

Grandpa's Music by Alison Acheson

Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. 32 p., Whitman, 2009. Alzheimer's disease can challenge children to find new ways to connect with people they've always known. As this story begins, Callie's Grandpa, who has Alzheimer's disease, moves into her home. Callie participates in his care, along with her parents and older brother, in very age-appropriate ways: she not only commits to playiing catch with Grandpa and helping him remember his hat, but also, she steps in to welcome him in special ways, inviting him into a new role in the family that helps him to structure his days, and especially, making music with him. As time goes on, he forgets how to do several things, but he always remembers how to play the piano, and he and Callie continue to sing together. When he forgets song lyrics, Callie encourages him to invent new ones with her, and he's happy. Toward the end of the story, he moves into a nursing home, and brings with him his ability to play music, his enjoyment of making up lyrics, and his connection with Callie. Illustrated with oil paintings, this story offers hope of connection in spite of the helplessness than children can feel when a relative has dementia. Ages 6-9

Monday, October 7, 2013

Houndsley and Catina by James Howe

Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay. 36 p., Candlewick, 2006. Friendship can help us to discover what's really important to us. In this story, Houndsley is a dog who enjoys cooking. Catina, his best friend, is a cat who wants to be a famous writer. Unfortunately, she's also a terrible writer, and while Houndsley tries to be supportive, he knows this, and worries about her. Houndsley is an excellent and creative cook. Catina encourages him to enter a cooking contest, telling him that he has to share his talent with the world. But when he does, he gets so flummoxed that he cooks terribly, and is profoundly embarrassed. When they talk about this later, Houndsley wisely remarks, "Trying to be the best made me nervous, and I did not have fun. If you do not have fun doing something you like to do, what is the point?" There's an important lesson here for Catina, who realizes that she doesn't like to write. But she wants to be good at something. Houndsley tells her that she's already a good friend, and she realizes that this is what's really important to her. With its charming illustrations in watercolor, pencil, and collage, this story offers children accessible insights into both self and relationships. Ages 5-7

Monday, September 30, 2013

You Can't Do That, Amelia! by Kimberly Wagner Klier

Illustrated by Kathleen Kemly.32 p., Calkins Creek, 2008. From the time she is a little girl in Kansas, Amelia (Earhart) dreams big, and has every intention of making her dreams a reality. From her childhood and into her adulthood, people tell her, "You can't do that, Amelia!" Each time, says this book, "But Amelia did" - from building a roller coaster in her backyard, to learning to fly, to participating in the 1929 Women's Air Derby, to flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Even when things don't go well, or when she is frightened or discouraged, she persists. The story ends with her triumphant landing in Ireland. An afterword summarizes her life in more detail, and includes a brief description of her final flight. A time line and a list of other biogrraphical resources are also included.With its colorful, upbeat illustrations, this story supports children's capacity for self-confidence, even in situations of prejudice against them. Ages 7-10

Monday, September 23, 2013

Every Year on Your Birthday by Rose Lewis

Illustrated by Jane Dyer. 32 p., Little, Brown, 2007. Adoption can bring special thoughts on a birthday. Every year on her daughter's birthday, a European American mother lovingly remembers all of her daughter's previous birthdays, and how much she has grown up. She imagines her daughter's life in China as a newborn, and remembers her anticipation of adopting her. Together, mother and daughter, who enjoy both American and Chinese traditions, remember the girl's Chinese family, and feel a sense of connection between the two families. Illustrated with watercolor paintings that are both gentle and exuberant, this story celebrates the love of a multicultural adoptive family. Ages 3-6

Monday, September 16, 2013

Willy and Max: A Holocaust Story by Amy Littlesugar

Illustrated by William Low. 40 p., Philomel, 2006. Friendship can transcend war. Willy (who would grow up to become the narrator's Grandpa Will) lived in Belgium, where his parents owned an antique store. A shy little boy, Will wishes he had a friend. His wish comes true when Professor Solomon and his son, Max, visit the store. While Professor Solomon buys a special paining called The Lady, Willy and Max discover that they both like to play hide-and-seek. From then on, the two boys are inseparable. Willy understands that because Max is Jewish, he is in danger from the Nazis. But they don't talk about that. They play in the park, and one Friday, Willy has Shabbos dinner at Max's home. When Max and his father have to leave Antwerp because of Nazi persecution, Willy's father hides The Lady for them. However the Nazi soldiers steal it from them. More than sixty years later, when grandpa Will lives in the United States, a museum calls him, saying they've found something that belongs to him. They had recovered The Lady. With it was a photograph of Willy and Max as boys. The curator has been unable to find Max, and Will asks him to try harder. Eventually, she finds out that Max had died recently, but has a family. There is a moving reunion of the two families at Shabbos dinner. With its warmly-colored mixed-media illustrations that have the feel of oil paintings, this story celebrates the strength of friendship, in spite of war. Ages 7-10

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pepo and Lolo Are Friends by Ana Martín Larrañaga

24 p., Candlewick, 2004. Regardless of their differences and conflicts, friends can still be friends. Pepo, a pig, and Lolo, and chick, are friends. They like to do many of the same things, although sometimes one has better skills. Although they can become angry at each other, this never lasts long, because their friendship is more important. With its simple, expressive, colorful mixed-media illustrations, this story introduces important ideas about friendship to the youngest children. Ages 1-3

Monday, September 2, 2013

Nathan's Wish: A Story About Cerebral Palsy by Laurie Lears

Illustrated by Stacey Schuett. 32 p., Whitman, 2005. When a chronic condition limits what you can do, it's easy to become discouraged. Nathan has cerebral palsy and is unable to move around without a wheelchair or a walker. He wishes more than anything to walk on his own. Nathan's neighbor, Miss Sandy, take care of injured raptors until they're well enough to fly again, and he enjoys watching her, although he wishes he could help, too. Miss Sandy takes care of an owl that Nathan names Fire. Fire has a broken wing, and seems to want very much to fly and to hunt for her own food. It's hard for Nathan to wait for Fire's wing to heal, but finally, she's well enough to try flying in a large cage. At first, she soars, but then she falls to the ground. With empathy and deep sadness, Nathan realizes that she will always need to be in captivity. In the following days, Fire seems depressed. Nathan wants to help. He goes online and finds an article about another owl, nearly blind, who serves as owlets' foster mother. He shares the article with Miss Sandy, who decides to try this with Fire. At first, Fire appears completely uninterested in the nestlings. But one day, she begins to feed them. Nathan comments, "Although Fire's wish to be free can't come true, she has found something important to do. And that give me an idea!" He finds ways to help Miss Sandy after all - filling the birds' baths with a hose and a lot of persistence, taking in the mail, answering her phone and taking messages. Miss Sandy appreciates his help, and he feels very proud. Illustrated with expressive oil paintings, this story offers empathy, support, and encouragement, showing children how to find and make use of their strengths regardless of their limitations. Ages 4-8

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig

Illustrated by Abigail Marble. 32 p., Free Spirit, 2004. Sometimes bullying isn't obvious, but at those times, it can still be extremely painful. Monica calls Katie her secret bully. The girls, who look as if they're in late elementary school, have been friends since kindergarten, and have many similar interests. But now, Katie is sometimes mean to Monica for no reason that Monica can detect. She talks to other girls and looks at Monica. She tells Monica that if she plays with Sarah, she won't play with her. She won't let Monica play with her and Sarah. When Monica asks Katie whether she's angry with her, Katie just accuses her of being "too sensitive." Monica worries that something is wrong with her, has trouble concentrating on her homework, and gets frequent stomach aches. Her mom keeps asking what's troubling her, and Monica finally tells her. Mom really listens, and talks with her about ways to assert herself. When Monica looks Katie in the eye and says, "'does it make you feel good to make me feel bad? Because friends don't do that to friends,'" she realizes that Katie can't hurt her any more. Although she's sad to lose her friendship with Katie, Monica wisely reflects that "real friends don't treat each other the way she treated me." She makes new friends and feels better about herself. An afterword for adults explains issues related to relational bullying and suggests ways to help. There are also a list of ways to cope, discussion questions, and a resource list. With its expressive, softly-colored, watercolor illustrations, this story helps empower children who experience emotional bullying. Ages 5-11

Monday, August 19, 2013

Annie's Plan by Jeanne Kraus

Illustrated by Charles Beyl. 48 p., Magination, 2007. Difficulty with attention or organizational skills can interfere with even a bright child's life, causing frustration and discouragement and annoying parents. Annie is smart, but at school, her attention isn't on her lessons and she doesn't complete her work. At home, she often forgets her homework, which takes her a long time to do. She especially hates it when he knows she's done her homework, but doesn't have it when it's time to turn it in. Annie, her teacher, and her parents agree that she needs a plan. This book shows kids two 10-point plans, one for schoolwork and one for homework, and explains each step. The plans consist of solid strategies to help with attention and organization, whether or not the child has an official diagnosis of an attention disorder. When Annie, her parents, and her teacher implement the plans, Annie is delighted to find that she is having great days at school. A 10-page afterword for parents and educators explains the plans in greater detail. With its cheerful illustrations, this story gives truly useful information in a way that's accessible to kids and adults, along with promoting optimism about kids' success. Ages 6-11

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Peanut-Free Cafe by Gloria Koster

Illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler.32 p., Whitman, 2006. When a fussy eater comes into contact with a serious food allergy, problems can result. Simon will only eat four foods: peanut butter - his favorite - bagels, green grapes, and purple lollipops. He brings peanut butter on a bagel to school for lunch every day. Many of his friends eat peanut butter frequently, too. Grant, who is new to Simon's school, has a severe peanut allergy. Simon likes Grant very much, and finds that they have a lot in common. He feels terrible knowing that his favorite food could make someone sick, but also worries that peanuts will be prohibited at school. The principal establishes a peanut-free table, but Grant is alone there. Simon suggests making it a more fun place - which attracts a lot of students, but not Simon. He isn't ready to give up his peanut butter sandwiches. When the Peanut-Free Cafe shows his favorite movies, it becomes very difficult for him to stay away. He's so distressed that he loses his appetite. So the next morning, he asks his mother for a lunch that isn't peanut butter - "anything at all." All she can find is chili - but this is enough to let Simon eat lunch with his friends. As the story ends, Simon now eats five foods, and enjoys peanut butter on the weekends. An afterword by a pediatrician explains peanut allergies to adults. With its colorful, energetic illustrations, this story shows children that it's both possible and desirable for even a fussy eater to adjust to another person's food allergy, and offers reassurance that they need not give up the foods they love in order to do this. Ages 4-7

Monday, August 5, 2013

Eddie: Harold's Little Brother by Ed Koch and Pat Koch Thaler

Illustrated by James Warhola. 32 p., Putnam, 2004. When you want to be like someone you admire, you can sometimes miss noticing your own strengths. Eddie wants to be like his older brother, Harold, who is an excellent athlete. Harold is supportive, playing catch with Eddie, and insisting that other kids include Eddie on their baseball team. But Eddie just isn't good at sports, although after the games, he talks about them in great detail. Finally, Harold suggests that Eddie find something besides sports - something that he does well and loves doing. Eddie replies that he likes to talk, and Harold suggests that he compete in a public-speaking contest at school. He gives Eddie honest feedback about his strengths and limitations. And Eddie wins the public-speaking contest with a speech titled, "Doing What You Do Best." Harold is enormously proud of him. And Eddie grows up to use his strength in speaking to become a lawyer, and then mayor of New York City. With friendly watercolor illustrations, this story not only shows kids a wonderful example of a supportive relationship between siblings, but also encourages them to consider their own strengths. Ages 4-8

Monday, July 29, 2013

Finklehopper Frog Cheers by Irene Livingston

Illustrated by Brian Lies. 24 p., Tricycle, 2005. Friends not only have fun together, but also support each other in difficult moments. In this rhyming story, Finklehopper Frog worries about going to a picnic because others might laugh at him or try to grab his hat. But he goes anyway, even though he's scared, because his friend, Ruby Rabbit, will be there. And when bullies tease him about his hat, Ruby answers them with cheerfulness, and they slink off. Then it's time for a race, and it's Ruby's turn to worry - she faces tough competition from Sue Kangaroo. But with Finklehopper's encouragement, she tries her best. When she finishes second to Sue, she bursts into tears, yelling "no fair!" Finklehopper tells her he's proud of her because she did her best, and raced even though she was worried. Ruby congratulates Sue on her win, and has learned that when everyone does their best, then everyone wins. The story ends with happy high-fives. The energy of the color illustrations matches the liveliness of the rhyming text. Finklehopper and Sue are lovely examples of supportive friendship, and children will learn important things about coping with bullies and competition too. Ages 4-6

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai

Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino. 32 p., Children's Book Press, 2006. Systematic acts of egregious racism are painful and confusing. When Mari's family is placed in an internment camp in Utah during World War II, she is discouraged and confused. She knows she's done nothing wrong, yet much has been taken from her. There were sunflowers in their old home, and Mari's mother plants sunflower seeds. Mari attends art classes twice a week in the camp, and at the first class, she can't think of anything to draw. Her parents each offer empathy and encouragement. At the second class meeting, with her teacher's support, Mari thinks of something to draw: her garden back home. Her parents and brother enjoy her picture, and it seems to brighten their barrack. As she continues to make art, Mari also becomes able to ask Papa about some of her worries, and as a result, she receives reassurance. She also makes friends with a classmate, and becomes more able to participate in class. But she's still discouraged about the sunflower seeds her Mama had planted - until her new friend points out that they've begun to grow. The seedlings give Mari hope that she can stay connected to her life outside the camp. This bilingual (English/Japanese) story is based on the author's mother's experiences, and some of the softly colored multimedia illustrations are based on the author's grandmother's paintings. This story shows children how to use imagination and creativity to cope with even the most difficult experiences. Ages 6-11

Monday, July 15, 2013

Halibut Jackson by David Lucas

32 p., Knopf, 2004. When you're shy, sometimes your way of coping with it is also a way to make connections with other people. Halibut Jackson is shy, and so determined not to be noticed that he has clothes for every occasion that help him to blend into the background - literally. For example, for the library, he has a suit that looks like books. When Halibut is invited to the queen's birthday party, he's faced with a dilemma. He wants to see the silver, gold, and jewel-covered palace for himself. But because he's shy, he doesn't like parties. Halibut dreams up a solution: he makes himself a silver, gold, and jewel-covered suit for the party. He reasons that if he wears this, he won't be noticed at the party. To his surprise, it turns out to be a garden party. Everyone notices him, and everyone wants a beautiful suit like his. He makes suits for everyone, and opens a shop that sells all kinds of clothes. His shyness seems not to matter so much any more. Whimsically illustrated in a style that recalls Maurice Sendak, this story is especially wonderful because it doesn't tell kids to stop being shy, but instead, encourages them to be exactly who they are. Ages 4-8

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ian's Walk: A Story About Autism by Laurie Lears

Illustrated by Karen Ritz. 32p., Whitman, 2006. Siblings of children who have disabilities have challenges of their own. Julie's younger brother, Ian, has autistic disorder. As she, her older sister, Tara, and Ian walk to the park, she explains some of the ways that his sensory experiences differ from most people's, and in the process, expresses the impatience, embarrassment, and worry that she sometimes feels as a result. At the park, Ian wanders off when Julie isn't looking. To find him, she tries to think like Ian, and her understanding leads her to him. Relieved to find him, she is more patient and empathic on their way home, doing things the way he wants to and helping to keep him safe. He rewards her with a rare, brief smile. Illustrated with expressive, light-filled watercolors, this story offers empathy and acceptance to children who have an autistic sibling. Ages 6-9

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ben Has Something to Say: A Story About Stuttering by Laurie Lears

Illustrated by Karen Ritz. 32 p., Whitman, 2000. Some children who stutter hesitate to talk. Ben finds ways not to talk at school, but he likes to tell his Dad about his day because Dad never laughs at him or teases him. Ben especially likes visiting a junkyard with Dad, who is a mechanic. At the junkyard, Ben meets Spike, a very friendly, but rather neglected, dog. Ben is loving and empathic with Spike, and the two become friends. When Ben tries to communicate with the manager about Spike, but won't talk, the manager thinks that Ben is shy. He asks Dad to speak for him, but Dad wisely and matter-of-factly reminds him, "'you can't let your stuttering keep you from talking.'" On one visit to the junkyard, the manager is angry because Spike has failed to protect the junkyard from a robbery. He is going to take Spike to the pound. Ben senses the importance of speaking, and when he offers to buy Spike, he doesn't even care that he stutters. Dad is clearly proud of Ben, and Spike rides home in Dad's pickup truck with them. With this success, Ben begins to feel courageous about speaking. A foreword dispels myths about stuttering and offers suggestions for ways to talk with someone who stutters, and a resource list is included. Illustrated with expressive watercolors, this story will empower children by helping them to value the meaning of their words over their form. Ages 3-8

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pepo and Lolo and the Red Apple by Ana Martín Larrañaga

24 p., Candlewick, 2004. When friends work together, they can get what they need. In this very simple story, Pepo (a pig) and Lolo (a chick) see an apple hanging on a branch. Neither one can reach it. But when they work together to get it - Lolo climbs on Pepo's back - they get the apple, and share it. They're both happy, and ants carry away the core. With its bright, cheerful mixed-media illustrations, this story shows the youngest children how to collaborate and share. Ages 1-3

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sorry! by Trudy Ludwig

Illustrated by Maurie J. Manning. 32 p., Tricycle, 2006. Many children have difficulty apologizing. In this story, Jack's friend, Charlie, does hurtful things and tries - usually successfully - to convince Jack to do them too. Charlie thinks that all you have to do is say "sorry," even if you don't mean it, and everything will be fine. Jack is in a difficult spot: he feels that he needs Charlie's friendship because without it, he was a "nobody," and would be again. He has even stopped hanging out with his friend Leena, "because it didn't look good to be friends with a brainiac girl ... [and] a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do to be cool." When Charlie callously ruins Leena's science project, their teacher expects him not only to say he's sorry, but also to make right what he's done. Charlie has no idea what to do, so Jack explains that they have to make replacements for the parts of the project that he ruined. Jack turns down basketball with the guys to help Leena, beginning to renew his friendship with her. An afterword explains the significance of good apologies. An author's note, discussion questions, and a list of "Apology Dos and Don'ts" are also included. Illustrated in digital pastel and watercolor, this story shows kids the meaning of apology, and helps them understand how to use an apology to repair a relationship. Along the way, they may also understand more about the importance of genuine friendship, as compared to being cool. Ages 5-8

Monday, June 10, 2013

Nosy Rosie by Holly Keller

32 p., Greenwillow, 2006. Obnoxious nicknames can be hurtful, even when they're not meant maliciously. Rose can find anything anyone has lost because of her keen sense of smell. One day, someone calls her "Nosy Rosie", and the name sticks. Rose tells people not to call her that, but they don't listen. She refuses to help them find things, saying intelligently, "'I don't hear you because that's not my name.'" The other kids reject her. She goes off for a walk in the woods, enjoying the smells she finds there. Suddenly, she smells baby powder and soap - the smells of baby Harry. She finds Harry trapped under a thorny bush, and extricates him. Meanwhile, Mama discovers that Harry is missing, and no one else can find him. When Rose returns with Harry a few minutes later, Mama is very happy, and the other kids tell her she's awesome, amazing, and incredible. Rose replies, "'Thank you ... but I'm just Rose, and that's the only name I want.'" From then on, everyone always calls her Rose. Illustrated with endearing watercolors, this story offers Rose as a model of trusting your own talents even when people tease you about them, and asserting yourself appropriately. Ages 4-7

Monday, June 3, 2013

Why Do You Cry? Not a Sob Story by Kate Klise

Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise. 32 p., Holt, 2006. Sometimes kids think that growing up means not crying. Little Rabbit decides that when he turns 5, he isn't going to cry any more, because "crying is for babies." In fact, he's only going to invite friends who don't cry to his birthday party. But each friend he invites tells him that they can't come to his party because they cry - when they're rejected, or scared, or physically hurt, or embarrassed. When he tells his mother that she'll be the only party guest, she gently explains that she cries too, sometimes; for example, at sad movies, or when she's in physical pain, or when she feels happy and proud that Little Rabbit is growing up. She explains, "'You can cry for any reason. Or for no reason at all.," and she tells him that it's OK with her if he cries sometimes, even when he's big. So she and all of Little Rabbit's friends come to his birthday party. And Little Rabbit still feels grown-up. With its sweet illustrations, this story encourages children to accept their and others' crying, and to know that they can grow up without giving up a sense of connection to their emotions. Ages 3-6

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering Grandpa by Uma Krishnaswami

Illustrated by Layne Johnson. 32 p., Boyds Mills, 2007. When someone has died, it can be hard for children to bear adults' sadness. A year after the death of little bunny Daysha's grandpa, her grandma "came down with a bad case of sadness." Daysha decides to look for a cure. To do this, she visits many of Grandpa's favorite places, bringing back things that remind her of him. As she does, she remembers Grandpa lovingly, moving through her own sense of loss. When she's piled the special things in Grandpa's favorite spot on the back steps, she brings Grandma out to see them. They both cry, especially Grandma, who acknowledges this lovely tribute, and takes Daysha for ice cream, just as Grandpa used to. Daysha understands that Grandma's sadness doesn't need a cure after all, "just hugs, and the right kind of remembering." This story is illustrated with sweet oil paintings. It contains important, supportive messages about both remembering someone who has died, and sharing the experience of loss. Ages 6-8

Monday, May 20, 2013

Milli, Jack, and the Dancing Cat by Stephen Michael King

32 p., Philomel, 2004. Sometimes creative children may be shy about expressing their imagination. Children who feel this way will find a role model in Milli, who has the soul of an artist and spends her days making very plain shoes. When two vagabond minstrels, Jack and the Dancing Cat, wander into town, they agree to trade dance lessons for new shoes. Milli finds that dancing makes her feel free and confident. When it's time to make shoes for her new friends, she makes unique, remarkable ones - and makes herself some special things, too. Jack encourages Milli to show her creativity to the world, Although she's scared at first, dancing helps her to remember what it feels like to be confident, and she decides to go ahead. People love what she's made, and she continues on her creative path. The watercolor and ink illustrations are both gentle and exuberant. Milli will help children feel free to express their true selves. Ages 5-8

Monday, May 13, 2013

This Morning Sam Went To Mars by Nancy Carlson

32 p., Free Spirit, 2013. When you have trouble paying attention to things in your everyday life, it’s hard to do what’s expected of you. Sam has a wonderful imagination, and tends to pay more attention to the adventures he invents than to getting ready for school on time or doing schoolwork. His dad, his teacher, and people in general are always telling him to focus. Sam feels frustrated and sad, and doubts his own abilities. Knowing that Sam’s abilities are strong, his dad takes him to a doctor. The doctor tells Sam that he has a powerful brain that needs good care; for example, adequate sleep and a non-distracting place for his desk. (She also tells him to reduce his junk food intake and to eat “super foods” daily. It seems to me that this isn’t likely to be harmful, although my reading of the literature suggests that the role of nutrition in attention problems has not been well established). Medication isn’t mentioned. Sam’s doctor also encourages him to use his imagination. Sam works hard to do as his doctor has suggested, but sometimes it’s still hard to pay attention, and people still tell him to focus. But he persists, and eventually, with continued effort, although he isn’t perfect, he’s able to do well in daily activities and in school. He also continues to enjoy his imagination. Illustrated with charming, upbeat drawings, this story offers empathy and support to children who struggle with attention. Ages 4-8

Monday, May 6, 2013

Andrew Jessup by Nette Hilton

Illustrated by Cathy Wilcox. 32p., Ticknor & Fields, 1992. When your best friend moves away, things will never be the same - but things could still be good. In this story, a girl's best friend, Andrew Jessup, moves away from his house next door. She remembers all the fun they used to have together, and she misses him. His house stays empty for a long time, but finally Madeleine and her family move in. Although Madeleine doesn't like all of the things Andrew liked, she and the girl find ways to have fun together. They even enjoy some of the activities the girl used to enjoy with Andrew. The girl finds she can make room in her life for both her new friend Madeleine and her best faraway friend Andrew. Charmingly illustrated with expressive watercolors, this story offers empathy and hope for children whose best friend moves away. Ages 3-7

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cory Stories by Jeanne Kraus

Illustrated by Whitney Martin.32 p., Magination, 2005. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) comes with many struggles. Cory describes these: feeling wiggly, getting overexcited, speaking before he thinks, having difficulty explaining his ideas, having a hard time thinking about anything for as long as other kids do, forgetting to do chores and homework - in spite of his best efforts - being disorganized, losing things, clumsiness, sloppy work, having trouble making friends, having kids inexplicably make fun of him, and being picked last for sports teams. These problems come with a lot of feelings for Cory: his is angry, frustrated, sad, hurt, and embarrassed. His parents take him to a psychiatrist who diagnoses ADHD. Cory is relieved to have a reason for the ways that he feels, and relieved that because ADHD is common, he isn't so different from other kids. The psychiatrist prescribes medication and recommends psychotherapy with someone Cory refers to as a "talking doctor," who helps him feel to better about himself and to make better choices. With the help of his parents, teacher, and therapist, Cory learns new things to do to help with the difficulties he has. He learns to appreciate his strengths. His teacher tells his parents that his schoolwork and behavior are improving. Cory feels proud and optimistic. There is an afterword for parents that helps them understand ADHD and gives good ideas for ways to address it with kids. Illustrated with energetic black-and-white drawings, this story offers empathy and optimism to kids who have ADHD. Ages 6-11

Monday, April 22, 2013

Brianna Breathes Easy: A Story About Asthma by Virginia Kroll

Illustrated by Jayoung Cho.32 p., Whitman, 2005. When you're first diagnosed with asthma, it can be scary and confusing, but you can learn how to keep in under control. As this story begins, Brianna is excited to have the lead role in her school play. But she also begins to have coughing spasms, and her Mama and older sister think she may be getting sick. Since she feels fine otherwise, she keeps going to school and rehearsing for the play. During the dress rehearsal, she has a severe coughing spasm, and paramedics take her to the hospital. There, she is diagnosed with asthma. Her doctor explains what asthsma is, and shows her pictures of the respiratory system. She tells Brianna what commonly triggers asthma attacks, and explains that as long as she takes her medicine when needed and checks her peak flow meter, she can do whatever she wants to do.When Brianna goes back to school, she talks about her asthma with two classmates who have the same diagnosis. Brianna does a great job as the lead in the play, and her family celebrates together, with special support from Grampy. With its colorful illustrations, this story will help children understand what asthma is, and supports their optimism about controlling it. Ages 5-8

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Froggy Fable by John Lechner

32 p., Candlewick, 2005. Change may be difficult for many of us, and it's all the more so for people (or frogs) who thrive on stability. The frog in this story likes his life at the pond partly because everything is always the same. He's annoyed when otters move in and begin to splash in the pond, when blue jays move in and squawk, and when a tree falls into the pond. But what really disrupts his existence is being carried off in a jar by a boy. The boy takes the frog away on his bike, but when he hits a rock, the frog falls off. He is utterly lost. There's nothing he can do but wander, and he does this for weeks, in spite of dangers and sees many wonders on his journey. Finally he finds his own pond again - and he's actually happy to see the otters, the blue jays, and the tree. He makes himself a new home that's even better than his old one. And because he's learned that he can handle anything, he doesn't mind change so much any more. The deceptively simple watercolor and ink illustrations show the frog's emotions unmistakably. Children who struggle with change and newness can use the frog's story to find hope that they, too, can handle anything that comes their way. Ages 3-8

Monday, April 8, 2013

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery

Illustrated by Jean Cassels.32 p., Walker, 2008. In times of disaster, friendship can mean survival. Bobbi the dog Bob Cat are best friends who live in New Orleans. When Hurricane Katrina strikes, they are left behind, Bobbi chained to the porch. Bob Cat says with Bobbi, first at their house, and then in the streets, when Bobbi breaks free. After four months, they wander onto a construction site, and a worker who has a dog at the site begins to feed them. Whenever he tries to touch Bob Cat, Bobbi growls protectively. After a week, his supervisor will no longer allow the Two Bobbies on the site, and so the worker takes them to a shelter. At first, they are housed separately their, but Bobbi howls and barks until they're placed in the same room. The shelter volunteers make a startling discovery - Bob Cat is blind. He probably would not have survived without Bobbi's protection, and his friendship may have strengthened Bobbi's determination. Unable to find the Bobbies' family in spite of their best efforts, the shelter staff finds a loving adoptive family where Bobbi and Bob Cat live happily together with a human and another dog. With its gentle, earth-toned, gouache illustrations, this story is full of hope. Ages 4-8

Monday, April 1, 2013

Horace by Holly Keller

32 p., Greenwillow, 1991. When you're adopted, it can be confusing to look different from your parents. Horace is a leopard who has been adopted into a tiger family. Although his mother tells him daily that she and his father chose him, and like his spots, he doesn't always grasp the full meaning of this. Horace's cousins come to his birthday party, and they're all tigers. Horace feels sad because he experiences himself as different and "wrong." After dreaming of being someplace where everyone looked like him, he decides to look for that place. While visiting a carnival, he meets a family of leopards and enjoys playing with them. But he starts to miss his Mama and Papa, and trusting his instincts, he decides to go home. His parents welcome him, and he decides that he chooses them, too. Illustrated with charming ink-and-watercolor paintings that are exuberant without being overstimulating, this story offers empathy to adopted children who don't look like their families and understanding that family connection goes beyond appearance. Ages 4-7

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami

Illustrated by Ruth Jeyaveeran.32 p., Lee & Low, 2005. When you knock things over without meaning to, and it's hard to stay still, it's hard to feel self-confident. Such is the case for Meena, who feels that she can't act in her class play because she's too clumsy and distracted. When her teacher won't take no for an answer, she reluctantly accepts the part of a tree. But even this is hard for her. She stumbles and trips. Although her parents, teacher, and Auntie (the friendly storekeeper at the Indian grocery) are all accepting and reassuring, Meena feels terrible. While at the store, though, Meena discovers a yoga class for kids. Her immediate reaction is that she can't do yoga because she's too clumsy. But Auntie encourages her to try. Although yoga is challenging for her, Meena learns to use her breathing to find stillness, and finds that her worries dissipate, too. She discovers that "If I am quiet inside, my body will be still." At the class play, despite making a clumsy entrance, Meena is able to recover by using yoga breathing, and in the process, discovers her self-confidence. The story is illustrated with acrylic paintings that are both gentle and colorful, and show facial expressions that convey nuances of emotion clearly. Children will feel encouraged by Meena's success, and may even want to try yoga. Ages 6-10

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jibberwillies at Night by Rachel Vail

Illustrated by Yumi Heo. 32 p., Scholastic, 2008. Even for a happy kid like Katie, sometimes the Jibberwillies come at night. Katie is a competent child, and when that happens, she knows what to do. First, she whispers "go away." But they don't. So next, she tries thinking about nice things. But the Jibberwillies are still there. Having tried to solve the problem on her own, next, she calls her mother. Gentle and wise, her mother offers her a bucket to catch the Jibberwillies. But they're too fast and too slippery, and Katie can't catch them. She's discouraged and hopeless. But her mother has a plan. If Katie will say the Jibberwillies out loud, her mother will catch them in the bucket - and, since Katie suggests this, will throw them out the window. When they do this, Katie can sleep again. Exuberantly illustrated, this story shows kids that by using your creativity, and getting help when you need it, it's possible to feel safe even on scary nights. Ages 4-8

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nikolai, the Only Bear by Barbara M. Joosse

Illustrated by Renata Liwska 32 p., Philomel, 2005. Nikolai is the only bear in a Russian orphanage. Although he does what his caregivers ask, they don't realize this because they don't speak Bear. Eventually, a bearded man and a smooth-faced woman come to visit him. Nikolai seems to know instinctively that the "fur-faced" man is like him. The visitors seem to understand him too: instead of correcting Nikolai the way his caregivers do, they join him, growling in response to his growls, prowling on the floor with him, pawing the air when Nikolai does. Having found a family where he belongs, Nikolai goes home with them to America. This gently illustrated story celebrates the experience of belonging that comes with adoption. Ages 3-7

Monday, March 4, 2013

Guess Who, Baby Duck! by Amy Hest

Illustrated by Jill Barton. 32 p., Candlewick, 2004. Sometimes when you don't feel well, it might feel better to remember happier times. When Baby Duck has a cold, her Grampa shows her pictures of herself when she was much younger. She enjoys the pictures, and feels inspired. As she starts to feel a little better, she draws Grampa a picture that he likes - a picture of him, and his loving care for her. Colorfully illustrated, this story offers children empathy with feeling under the weather, along with a way to feel a better. Ages 3-6

Monday, February 25, 2013

Scribbleville by Peter Holwitz

Illustrated by 40 p., Philomel, 2005. Although people are often uncomfortable with others who seem different from themselves, they can learn to appreciate diversity. This is the story of the town of Scribbleville, where everyone is scribbled, even the dogs and cats. One day, a stick-straight man arrives and builds himself a perfectly straight house. Most of the scribble people shake their heads and talk about how the stranger doesn't belong. They worry that more straight people might move to town, and then "there'll be more of them than there are of us!" But one scribbled woman becomes the stranger's friend. As she says to another friend, "on the outside he's odd, but that's not where I look." Belying the other townspeople's "us vs. them" mentality, she becomes a little straighter, and he becomes a little more scribbly. A similar kind of change appears in others in Scribbleville, starting with its children. The (former) stranger and the woman marry. And the entire appearance of Scribbleville changes. It has become a place where "whoever you are, you'll fit in well." This delightfully-illustrated rhyming story conveys a positive message about the value of diversity and hope for change. Ages 4-8

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tissue, Please! by Lisa Kopelke

32 p., Simon, 2004. When you have a cold, it's important to learn to use tissues. Unfortunately for Frog and his friends, although both their classroom teacher and and their ballet teacher object to their sniffling and wiping their noses on their arms, neither offers an alternative. But Frog's parents have the answer: when he starts to sniffle in the middle of dinner, his father explains that that isn't polite and the table, and his mother gives him tissues. Frog discovers that when he blows his nose into a tissue, it feels great. So when his nose begins to run during his big ballet recital, one look from his teacher is all that it takes for him to remember to get a tissue. He incorporates blowing his nose into his dance move, inspiring his class. Both his teacher and the audience are pleased - and this begins a tradition of performing the "dance of the Tissue-Box Fairies." With its edgy, acrylic illustrations, this story may help make appropriate nose-blowing attractive to children. Ages 3-6

Monday, February 11, 2013

Flabbersmashed About You by Rachel Vail

Illustrated by Yumi Heo.32 p., Macmillan, 2012. It can be hurtful when your best friend wants to play with someone else. Katie has this experience when her best friend, Jennifer, would rather chase imaginary bad guys with Roy at recess than make imaginary soup with her. Katie feels lonely, hurt, angry, and "completely flabbersmashed." The children have to walk inside from recess with one buddy each, and Jennifer chooses Roy. But a quiet new girl, Arabella, chooses Katie.Katie feels accepted, and finds herself hopeful that she can have fun with Arabella. It's clear that this is a very different feeling from the lonely, angry, flabbersmashed feeling. The illustrations are energetic and evocative. This story offers children empathy for an important experience in their lives, and shows them that they can feel better. Ages 4-8

Monday, February 4, 2013

Skin Again by bell hooks

Illustrated by Chris Raschka.32 p., Hyperion, 2004. Our skin is only a small part of who we are. With eloquence and passion, this book tells us that in order to know one another, we have to look past skin, which, although it matters, is ultimately only a covering; and experience one another from the inside, with an open heart. We have to hear one another's stories of both the factual and the imagined. We have to see one another for who we really are, not who we expect one another to be. Vivid and dynamic, the illustrations show a range of skin tones, experiences of internal complexity, and connections between people. This books shows clearly how prejudice makes genuine connection impossible, and conversely, how genuine connection makes prejudice impossible. Ages 5-9

Monday, January 28, 2013

I'll See You In the Morning by Mike Jolley

Illustrated by Mique Moriuchi. 32 p., 2005. Sometimes all that's needed at bedtime is a caring adult's presence and a reassuring metaphor. In this sweet book, the adult narrator gives lots of assurance that s/he will stay nearby, and describes the night as "a blanket that helps the earth to sleep," uniting the child with all the gentle creatures in the world who are under it. With its colorful, childlike, soothing illustrations, this book offers a sense of safety and calm at bedtime. Ages 0-5

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Language of Doves by Rosemary Wells

Illustrated by Greg Shed. 32 p., Dial, 1996. Julietta's grandfather gives her a dove for her sixth birthday, and Julietta names her Isabella. Her grandfather tells her how he kept doves at the monastery where he was raised as an orphan. One dove, also named Isabella, is very special to him. At the age of nine, along with his doves, he is drafted into World War I to send messages within the army. His Isabella is seriously injured, yet manages to come home to him. He cares for her and keeps her safe. Just after Julietta turns nine, her grandfather dies. Her Isabella, who was at his house, has been sold with his other doves to an out-of-state breeder. Yet she returns home to Julietta, bearing a message of love and hope from Grandfather. This story offers children hope of maintaining connections and caring in spite of war, and beyond death. Ages 7-11

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bearcub and Mama by Sharon Jennings

Illustrated by Mélanie Watt. 32 p., Kids Can, 2005. Part of growing up is to move from having a parent literally with you to having that parent in your heart. Bearcub learns this as he grows. First, he always follows his mama. As he gets a little older, he starts to explore on his own. When he gets caught in a storm, he howls for Mama, but she doesn't find him. He realizes that he should go home, finds his scent, and follows his trail back to his den. Mama isn't there, but her scent comforts him, and he remembers that she'd told him that storms always pass. And in the morning, Mama has returned. Bearcub proudly tells her that he remembered that storms pass. Now he has her with him inside, in his memories and thoughts. Illustrated with tender acrylic paintings, this story helps children take love and security with them wherever they go. Ages 3-6

Monday, January 7, 2013

Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman

Illustrated by Caroline Binch. 28 p., Dial, 1995. When your family doesn't fit with the images of families that you're exposed to, it can be confusing. And it can be even more confusing to meet a father whom you haven't seen since you were very little. Grace lives with her ma and her nana in the United States, and sees herself as not having a father. But she does have a father, and he lives in Africa with Grace's stepmother and young stepsister and stepbrother.Grace is surprised when he sends her tickets for Nana and her to visit him there. At first, Grace feels as if she doesn't belong in this family - they're complete without her, and this family has the "wrong" mother. But she finds that she can't help liking her step-siblilngs. She feels that she has to be annoyed with someone, though, and, having read stories about wicked stepmothers, chooses her stepmother, Jatou. Once her father reassures her of his love for her, she's able to like Jatou, and to enjoy African cultural experiences. But she misses Ma, and feels homesick when they talk on the phone. She feels as if there isn't enough of her for two familieis. Nana assures her that there's plenty of her. By the time her visit is drawing to a close, Grace has begun to see her family as normal, not as a family that should fit the mold of those in the stories she's read. She decides that the story of her family will end with living happily ever after, "though not all in the same place." The pencil and watercolor illustrations are evocative of Grace's feelings and the closeness of her relationships. With Grace, children will understand that there are all kinds of families, and "families are what you make them." Ages 5-8

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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