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, 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

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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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