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, 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

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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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