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, April 28, 2014

The Cardboard Piano by Lynne Rae Perkins

32 p., Greenwillow, 2008. Sometimes it's hard to accept differences between friends even when you know that it's OK to have them. Debbie and Tina, who are best friends, are alike in some ways and not in others, and "mostly it evened out." But when Debbie starts taking piano lessons and Tina doesn't, this feels like a big difference. Tina expresses a wish to play the piano, but she doesn't have one to practice on, and doesn't want to practice on Debbie's. Debbie gets the idea to make her a cardboard practice piano. With this piano, you have to hear the music in your mind. Debbie gives the piano to Tina, and dreams about the fun they'll have playing together. She even gives Tina lessons. But Tina finds that she doesn't really like playing the piano, at least this way. Debbie is crushed. She tries out different explanations for her disappointment, but none of them seem to work. Then she tries actually playing the cardboard piano, and she understands Tina's experience - she doesn't hear the music in her mind, and so it isn't fun. Instead, she and Tina bake cookies together, and they bring some to their neighbor, Mr. K. Mr. K teaches them a dance from the country where he was born - a dance that people dance long into the night. Debbie is excited about the three of them dancing together like that. Now she has something that she and Tina can enjoy together again. This book is illustrated with colorful, vibrant, ink and watercolor paintings that feel very true to childhood experience, and comes with a DVD in which the author narrates an animated version. The story supports children in sustaining their friendships while navigating their differences. Ages 4-7

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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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