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, 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

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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