The short stories and poems collected in this attractive large-format volume are arranged in sections that focus on particular problems and crises children may face that isolate them from "normal" peers. Themes include sickness, disability, hospitalization, loss, conflict, developmental change, and loneliness.

The stories are simple, most 2-3 pages followed by a few questions to talk about. Each story is accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations. Characters featured in the stories represent a range of ethnicities and socio-economic situations. An introduction gives guidelines to help adults use the book as an instrument for helping children cope with difficult times.


The book was compiled in consultation with a number of health-care professionals with extensive experience in child life and education as well as children who read and responded to the texts. The simple single focus of the stories makes them probably more useful with children in the 5-10-year-old range than older children who might look for more complexity, though several feature characters in junior high or high school.

They offer very useful material that allows children to identify with protagonists in trouble, consider their coping strategies and decisions, and imagine hopeful outcomes. Simple though they are, they are not simplistically sentimental. The book could be a very valuable resource to parents and other caregivers working with children who need help articulating their pain, confusion, anger, or anxiety.


Boyds Mills

Place Published

Honesdale, Pa.




Marcella Fisher Anderson

Page Count