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, 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

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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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