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, December 30, 2013

Brave, Brave Mouse by Michaela Morgan

Illustrated by Michelle Cartlidge.32 p., Whitman, 2004. Sometimes, when kids are scared, they feel like they have to do everything that they're scared of. Little Mouse is scared of many things - shadows, bright light, loud noises, and silence. But sometimes, when he's scared, he can remind himself that he's brave, and that things will work out all right - for example, when he stays with a babysitter, or swims in a pool for the first time, or tries a new food, or tolerates a dental examination. he reminds himself that shadows aren't dangerous, and he can always turn on the light. But sometimes it's important for Little Mouse to make use of the information he's getting from his fears. When other mouse children tell him to do the playground stunts that they're doing, and that if he doesn't he'll be a "scaredy-mouse," and he doesn't want to do those things, he bravely refuses. Ages 3-6

Monday, December 23, 2013

Good Thing You're Not an Octopus! by Julie Marke

Illustrated by Maggie Smith. 32 p., HarperCollins, 2001. When we don't feel like doing something we have to do, sometimes a change in perspective helps. This book offers children just that. For exampl, if we don't like getting dressed in the morning, we can remind ourselves that it's a good thing we aren't an octopus - it would be so much more work to put eight legs into our pants. With gentle humor, the author gives many more examples from children's daily lives. Expressively and imaginatively illustrated, this book offers children a positive perspective, and ends on an affirming, encouraging note: "It's a good thing you're YOU!" Ages 3-6

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bittle by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan

Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. 32 p., HarperCollins/Cotler, 2004. Having a new baby may be easier for some children to accept if they hear it from a pet's perspective. In this story, Nigel the cat and Julia the dog have a happy life until their humans start preparing for a baby's arrival. When they realize that a baby's coming, and even when she's first born, they're apprehensive. But they find that they can make the baby, whom they call Bittle, happy when no one else can. When Bittle cries in her crib, Nigel jumps in and curls up with her, and she stops crying. The pets play with the baby at night, and bring back the toys that she throws out of her crib. As Bittle gets older, Julia and Nigel discover that they have interests in common with her. And when Bittle starts to talk, she doesn't say "mama" or "papa" - she says "woof" and "meow." With its energetic, colorful illustrations, this story shows children that even if having a new baby doesn't sound great, they can find ways to connect happily with their younger sibling. Ages 3-6

Monday, December 9, 2013

Help Is On the Way : A Child's Book About ADD by Marc Nemiroff and Jane Annunziata

Illustrated by Margaret Scott. 64 p., Magination, 1998 When you have an attention disorder, many things are difficult, but there are lots of kinds of help. This book explains the difficulties kids can have with an attention disorder or hyperactivity (which the authors refer to collectively as ADD): having trouble staying still, maintaining attention, acting or speaking before thinking, having trouble attending to others' feelings, disorganization, or memory problems. The authors acknowledge the frustration, anger, and sadness that can result from ADD, as well as feelings of low self-confidence and social isolation. In brief, age-appropriate ways, they describe the kinds of help that parents, teachers, tutors, pediatricians, psychologists, psychotherapists, and neurologists can provide, as well as noting that medicine is helpful for some children. They explicitly reassure kids that they are not to blame for having ADD, and that when they make use of the help that's available, they will feel better about themselves and do better at home and at school. They also name some of the benefits of ADD (for example, high energy and creative ideas). An afterword for parents and caregivers explains more about the nature of attention and hyperactivity disorders (including the important point that not all ADD-like behaviors are in fact due to ADD) and provides helpful ideas about ways to support the child who has ADD. With its reassuring illustrations and gentle, informative text, this book will help children and parents understand and manage attention and hyperactivity disorders. Ages 5-9

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy

16 p., Candlewick, 2003. How do you appreciate a new baby? You see the baby and appreciate how tiny the baby is. You feed the hungry baby, sing to the baby, tickle the baby, and of course, you kiss the baby! With its bold, black and white illustrations whose splashes of color spread onto the page at the end, this simple story is joyful and loving. Ages 0-2

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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