Send anyone this way to read along, but for permission to reprint, please contact Gail.
© Gail Underwood Parker

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Focus on Fostering: Kids Dealing with Trauma

Two book favorites today for children who are dealing with traumatic events or memories:

A Terrible Thing Happened
By Margaret M Holmes
Ill by: Cary Pillo
Pub: Magination Press [American Psychological Assoc]

This fanTAStic book tells the story of Sherman Smith who saw a terrible thing happen. Readers watch as Sherman tries to forget about it but can't. It follows as he starts showing the impact of the memory and eventually readers see him meet someone who helps him talk about the terrible thing and then sees Sherman start to do and feel better.  One of my favorite things about the book is that the terrible thing is never specified which lets the reader or listener fill in the blank with what fits their experience.  A wonderful addition is an afterword that gives both examples of the kind and range of events that can cause trauma for children who are witnesses AND fifteen clear specific suggestions on how to help such children. This is my absolute favorite to reread or talk about when my kiddos are clearly bothered by something... sometimes something I know has happened, sometimes something that we don't know yet.

My Mom Has a Bad Temper
By: Beverly H Hopkins
Ill by: Marsha Lederman
Pub: Child & Family Press [Child Welfare League of America]

This book is more specific. This deals with the conflicting emotions common to a child [in the illustrations an adolescent girl] whose mother loses control of her temper and is abusive to the child.  What I like about this book is that even the mother is treated with respect, not made out to be a completely "bad" person, the child experiences believable family reactions and social pressures, and although social welfare etc. becomes involved the door is left often for the possibility of change.
Image credits:,


  1. Thanks, Gail! I will have to check out those books. What age range is the first book for?

  2. Hi Penelope!
    I think if you read it out loud maybe 4-8 for its intent, but I have used it with older kids too. Let me know what you think after you see the book yourself!