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, 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

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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