Susan Farber Straus, Ph.D., Author
Maria Bogade, Illustrator
Magination Press., Fiction, May 18, 2013
Suitable for Ages: 5 -11
Themes: Children facing trauma and tragedy, PTSD, Anxiety, Fear, Anger, Healing
Opening: “Something bad happened to me. I did not want anyone to know. I was scared. I was sad. I was angry. I was embarrassed. I was hurt and confused. I tried to forget. I tried to sleep and not wake up.”
Synopsis: A child has had something scary happen. We follow the child through feelings of hurt, confusion, anger and fear that the bad thing might happen again. The child has bad dreams and is afraid of the dark. At school there are run-ins with the teachers. Friends notice the child isn’t fun to play with. The child is lonely. Finally an aunt notices differences and takes the child to talk with a therapist who helps the child share the secret. Only then can intervention and healing begin for the child.
Why I like this book: I am thrilled to find Susan Farber Straus’ very sensitive and comforting book due to its relevance in our world today. Although the story is told from the viewpoint of one child, each page features pictures of a diverse group of children of all ages acting out the narrative. This book is a fabulous tool for parents, guidance counselors and therapists to read with a child when they may suspect a trauma. And that trauma could range from abuse, an accident, school and home violence, bullying, the sudden death of a parent or sibling to natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes and floods that are prevalent today in the world. The book also helps children know they aren’t alone and that they can find ways to heal. Maria Bogade’s illustrations are warm, and comforting, and beautifully show the emotion of the children.
Resources: The book alone is a resource as the author is a clinical psychologist. The American Psychological Association also has a list of helpful resources available online. Also be sure to read the Note to Readers at the beginning of the book and check out the jacket flaps on the front and back pages.
Note: I will be attending the Northern Ohio SCBWI conference this weekend, so I won’t be able to respond to your comments or posts until I return.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.