Winner of the Mom's Choice Award, and the Skipping Stones Honor Award
Sarah, an elementary-school-age survivor of sexual abuse, has come to live with her beloved grandmother. Sarah's Waterfall tells the story of Sarah's year of healing, in her own words. The story unfolds as journal entries beginning with the start of the school year at a new school, as Sarah joins a girls survivors' group led by the school psychologist. Sarah makes friends with another young survivor, Paula, who has frizzy hair, a whole bunch of pets, and a great sense of humor. Surrounded by Gram's safe and loving presence, Sarah can begin to heal and enjoy life again. As the year unfolds, she writes poems, develops her first close friendship, gains new skills to overcome her past, and at her counselor's encouragement, draws beautiful waterfalls as a symbol of her health and wholeness. Through her journal, Sarah also describes some of the healing exercises used in her survivors' group at school. Gorgeous color illustrations support Sarah's story.
Sarah's Waterfall is a marvelous tool for helping girls 7-12, especially; it will also appeal to adult women survivors wanting to enhance their own sense of well-being. Though created as a work of fiction, Sarah's Waterfall was written by a survivor for survivors to provide a healing story about sexual abuse. (2009)
--- from the publisher
About the Author:
Ellery Akers is a writer, artist, and naturalist living on the coast of Northern California. She received a B.A. from Harvard and an M.A. from San Francisco State University.
Her collection of poems, Knocking on the Earth, from Wesleyan University Press (1989), was named one of the year's best books by the San Jose Mercury News. She has won six national awards for writing, including the John Masefield Award, the Paumanok Award, and Sierra magazine's Nature Writing Award. Her poetry has been featured on National Public Radio, and has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Harvard, The Sun, and many other magazines. Her nature essays have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, and her play, Letters to Anna, 1846-54, won a Dominican University One Act Play Festival Award in 2003.
About the Illustrator:
Angelique Benicio was born in Cromwell, Connecticut, and now resides in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She specializes in creating art with a child's perspective as inspiration.
Praise for Sarah's Waterfall:
"Sarah's Waterfall is as refreshing as nature itself. As a trauma therapist of sexually abused children, I was delighted that Ms. Akers truly took the somatic reins of telling a story that balances the hard work of healing with the resources of comfort, pleasure, grounding and safety as felt in the body. I can't wait to share this with the kids in my practice." - Maggie Kline, co-author of Trauma through a Child's Eyes published in 2007 by North Atlantic
"Most storybooks on sexual abuse for young readers focus on telling. Sarah's Waterfall provides a much-needed normalization of the healing process and offers hope to young survivors who might otherwise feel they are alone. Ellery Akers has created an invaluable resource for professionals working with sexually abused girls." - Carolyn Lehman, author of Strong at the Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse
"Sarah's Waterfall is wonderful. It has a very soothing quality and covers many important issues in a very sophisticated, intelligent way. Sarah's Waterfall will help children because it normalizes the issue of sexual abuse and gives kids healthy strategies for coping." - Sherri Patterson, MFT, licensed child & adolescent psychotherapist, founder & director of the California's Touch Safety Program
"Sarah's Waterfall is a wonderfully sensitive, honest and poignant depiction of a child's journey toward healing from the devastating impact of sexual abuse. It is a beautifully written, thoroughly readable story offering a resounding message of hope and transcendence for children and their caregivers. A powerful, original, and important resource for those of us working with children and families impacted by the trauma of sexual abuse. Thank you to Ms. Akers for portraying sexual abuse interventions in such a positive light, and thank you to Sarah and Paula--we are all rooting for you." - Tammy L. Leombruno, MA, LCMHC
The New England Counseling and Trauma Center, Williston, Vermont