It's a part of our mission to create stories to support kids through difficult times. Stories can be a transformative force for kids — as they follow the characters in the stories through a challenge and then out the other side into healing, they too can experience healing and strengthening.
Here are some of our very best stories to support children with worry, fear, and trauma.
Ages are varied. Each story has it's age range listed.
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About the Stories
"Prince" from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories collection
This is a story about a young girl named Lee, who loves her little black dog Prince. But one day, Prince is suddenly killed by a speeding car. The girl not only has to come to grips with the abrupt loss of her dog, but she also manages questions like “Who was it? Why didn’t they stop? How could they do it?”. And the ultimate message from her loving parents is this: We love you. It is OK to be sad. We are holding you. And we will do everything we can to prevent this from happening again.
This story is to support children through the experience of a sudden loss or crisis.
"Denny and the Could Bee: A Story for Worrying" from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories collection
“Denny and the Could Bee” is all about the insidious nature of imagining what “could” happen. Rumors, exaggerations, fearful stories, and even simple wonderings have “Could Bees” buzzing around in them. Luckily Mr. James, Denny’s kindergarten teacher, has a way of shoo-ing those Could Bees away and allowing the truth of the matter to become clear.
This story is helpful for children who are struggling with worry.
"Helpers" from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories collection
Dennis is a happy little six-year-old boy who wakes one morning to see his mother listening to the radio in the kitchen. Dennis can tell that something is wrong and that his mother is feeling sad — and maybe a little scared. She explains that something happened, a big storm moved through a town, and buildings were damaged and people were hurt. When she sees that this is making him feel nervous, she scoops him up and tells him that all the people on their street, in their neighborhood, and in their town want to make sure that he, Dennis, is safe.
“But you know what, Dennis?” his mother asked, raising her eyebrows, “It is time for us to be the helpers. There are people that are feeling scared right now because a storm came to their house. Our house is fine and so are we. Are you ready to be a helper?”
This story is helpful for children who have experienced a natural disaster (and is inspired by a great Mr. Rogers quote).
"Someone Else's Dragon" from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories collection
The people of Solvei’s village have a yearly festival that marks the end of the growing season and the beginning of the dark time. In this joyful celebration, the villagers dress as dragons that represent the things they fear. Solvei is too young to attend but is so excited that she sneaks a peek on the night of the festival — and comes home with many different fears from the “dragons” that she saw there. Her mother explains that she has taken on “someone else’s dragon” and then helps Solvei give the fears back so she can fall peacefully asleep.
This story supports children who have glimpsed something that has frightened them.
"Unshaking Shakira: the Pygmy Sloth Who Fell" from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories collection
On her first slow walk out to the end of a red mangrove branch, Shakira, the pygmy sloth experienced something sudden: the branch broke off. She and the branch fell down to the ground, and though she was fine — no breaks or bruises — she was still rather shaken up. Luckily her mother had fallen many times and knew what to do — she would "unshake" her — or help her body let go of the accident.
Note: This story can be useful for when your child (or anyone really) needs support after an accident. In fact, the story was written for some dear friends who had just gotten into a car accident, and though they escaped with only bruises, both children were pretty rattled. The story gives a body-based exercise that anyone can use.
"The Dragon and the Unicorn" from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories collection
There was once a land far to the north that was held in healthy balance by a dragon and a unicorn. When the people of that land tried to control the dragon, the unicorn returned to the clouds and the people suddenly experienced what it was like to manage pure power — the power of a dragon’s emotions.
This story is good for thinking through the big emotions that all children feel. It gives guidance on how to be both the dragon (emotional) and the unicorn (presence through the emotions) at the same time.
Stories to Help Us Vision New Possibilities
"Tadodaho and the Great White Pine: A Story About True Leadership" from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories collection
Tadodaho is the fierce monster leading the Onondaga Nation — he lives in a swamp and has snakes in his hair. When the Great Peacemaker and Hiawatha come to him with a message of peace and unity, what happens next not only transforms a tyrant into a true leader, but also creates a new nation. This is the story of how the Iroquois Nation came to be and how peace, compassion, and unity is stronger than fear, violence, and war.
"Whatever Power I Have" from the Dry Gables: Hands Together collection
When Johann's dear friend, Iron Eyes, and a number of other Lakota people perish in a battle with the United States Army, Johann is, of course, furious and ready to take revenge. Luckily, Liesl Herz, the town's nurse and primary healer, sympathizes with him and then suggests that before he confronts the army, consider helping those in need — those left behind. This is a transformative moment for Johann, who is used to action — not reflection — and is more comfortable with his will, rather than his feelings. But it is exactly what he needs to do in that moment and Johann channels all his feelings and desire to fight into authentic service to those in need.
This story is about channeling feelings of anger and revenge into service.
Parent Note: This story references the tragic events of what has come to be known as the "Wounded Knee Massacre". Though the story does not use this particular language, the event is key in the transformation of the main character, Johann. We feel that children who have studied American History and are 8 years or older would have encountered events like this in their studies, but parents should be warned that the death of a particular Lakota friend is an important part of the narrative.