Sherman Smith saw something that upset him so much that he decides to just not think about it. At all. Forever. He goes on with his life, but the reader begins to see that this plan is not working for Sherman as he deals with stomachaches, nightmares, getting in trouble at school, and other problems. Eventually Sherman begins to talk with Ms. Maple, who gently helps him to process his feelings, and he slowly starts feeling better. When I was working with children experiencing traumatic events and other difficult life circumstances, this was my go-to book. Because the book doesn't specify what terrible thing Sherman saw, kids are able to apply it to their own experiences. The story and expressive illustrations let kids know: you aren't alone, there isn't anything wrong with you, and things will not always feel this way. Practical and hopeful. Recommended By Christine R., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better.
Children who have witnessed violence or other traumatic incidents are at surprisingly greater risk for committing violence in the future than are children who have actually been involved in such events. The event might be a car accident, domestic or school violence, suicide, or a natural disaster such as a tornado, flood, or fire. Regardless of the type of incident, child witnesses often react by trying to forget or ignore the experience. When their feelings are pushed underground in this manner, these children may begin to feel bad in ways they don't understand, and become angry as a result of feeling bad. It is this anger that can give way to violence.
Caring adults can make all the difference by helping children talk about and understand the experience. This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword by Sasha J. Mudlaff written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.
"An unqualified success. These illustrations serve the text extremely well, adding welcome touches of humor to the exposition of this very serious subject." Booklist
"The book also contains 15 incredibly helpful tips for parents and caregivers on how to help a child process a traumatic event. For the unfortunate situation where a child needs to work through a trauma — witnessing a car accident, fire or tornado, or violence, assault or suicide — this book is a great resource. Reading about Sherman can help a child feel less alone, and the suggestions in the afterword can guide adults into helping a child move through the grief." Momentous Institute
About the Author
Margaret M. Holmes writes inspirational and self-help stories for children for over 20 years. In addition to A Terrible Thing Happened, she is the author of Molly's Mom Died, Sam's Dad Died, and Charlie's Brother (a story for the siblings of a child with special needs who is being admitted to residential care). She lives near Des Moines, IA.
Cary Pillo, a Fine Arts and Design graduate from Washington State University, has illustrated many children's educational materials and children's books, including A Terrible Thing Happened, Gentle Willow, Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants, and Tibby Tried It. She lives in Seattle, WA.
Sasha J. Mudlaff, MA is a third generation owner/employee of her family's business, Hamilton's Funeral Home, in Des Moines, IA, currently serving as the company's vice president. Sasha is also the founder and Grief Consultant for Hamilton's Academy of Grief & Loss, where she specializes in working with grieving children and teens, having done so for over 25 years.