Strong at the Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse


“This book is an absolute gift to the world.” – Jacqueline Woodson

Every year more than half a million young people are sexually abused or assaulted in North America. This groundbreaking book brings readers face-to-face with nine survivors who speak with candor and courage about the abuse they experienced, how they have healed, and how they are moving forward with their lives. White, black, Latino, and Native American, these everyday heroes come from a wide range of communities ...

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2005-11-03 Hardcover New NEW-IT IS BRAND NEW-clean text, tight binding, It is free from any foreign markings.

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“This book is an absolute gift to the world.” – Jacqueline Woodson

Every year more than half a million young people are sexually abused or assaulted in North America. This groundbreaking book brings readers face-to-face with nine survivors who speak with candor and courage about the abuse they experienced, how they have healed, and how they are moving forward with their lives. White, black, Latino, and Native American, these everyday heroes come from a wide range of communities and have found different ways to cope with and overcome sexual trauma. Through moving personal stories and striking photographs they take readers into their lives, offering insight and hope for anyone affected by this all-too-common childhood experience.

In this book about healing, young readers and their families will find additional information in the resource section, a comprehensive guide to the best help lines, books, films, and Web sites on healing and resilience.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Strong at the Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse by Carolyn Lehman, nine adults describe experiences of sexual abuse that happened to them when they were young. Their distance and healing from the events may well give teens who have had similar experiences the courage to come forward with their own stories and to begin to heal from them. One girl was raped by someone at a party; one boy was molested by his priest; another girl's courage to report a rape led to evidence that her rapist had killed another teen. All of the contributors here now lead productive, healthy lives. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Rape, incest, child molestation, abduction, and clergy abuse are just some of the forms of sexual abuse that are revealed in this book. The stories of nine courageous people are uncovered for the world to see. These heart-wrenching stories will make the reader want to cry out for help for the individual they are reading about. The reader will empathize with these innocent victims. Find out about how Jonathan spent much of his time with the church, only to be abused by someone he trusted, one of the priests. See how Tammy turned to drugs to try to ease the pain of being used by her stepfather. Read the incredible story of how Kelly turned her abuse story into a film to help others. Learn how each person coped with their own abuse and how they are healing. Many have the help of friends and family, and some the help of professionals. The amazing stories in this powerful and emotional book will help readers who have gone through similar situations gain strength and courage. This book could be a wonderful tool for any teenager who has experienced the guilt and shame of sexual abuse and could help lead them in the direction of healing. The book offers information about books, movies, and organizations that can also help abuse victims. 2005, Melanie Kroupa Books, Ages 12 to 18.
—Cathi I. White
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Primarily about the experience of healing and recovery, Heart gathers 11 personal stories by young men and women who experienced rape, molestation, or incest and found healing through speaking out about their abuse. Lehman, a child-sexual-abuse survivor herself, emphasizes the importance of consciously choosing to tell what happened and meeting with others who have had similar experiences, and shows the wide variety of ways to express feelings and find community. Clearly and candidly written, the narratives recounted here include sufficient details of abuse to be authentic, but never titillating. The clear message to other victims is that they are not alone and that recovery is possible. An attractive, accessible format and black-and-white portraits throughout personalize the presentation. Extensive appendixes list organizations and annotated resources for further reading that offer help. Patti Feuereisen and Caroline Pincus's Invisible Girls: The Truth about Sexual Abuse (Seal, 2005) also includes powerful personal stories within a larger context of more generalized discussion of child/teen sexual abuse.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lehman offers nine interviews with adults and teenagers who were sexually abused as children. Presented as first-person narratives (as if there were no interviewer), each story begins with a close-up black-and-white photo of the interviewee looking directly at the reader. The stories differ greatly, both in the type of abuse and in the type of support each person received. Some stayed quiet for years; others were able to speak out right away. The wide differences between them only serve to drive home to the reader the extraordinary similarity in all of them: a lasting courage and strength born from a sense of vulnerability. Lehman's excellently balanced package includes black and white photos throughout, and annotated resources at the end (books, films, Web sites and organizations). The clean design will lead readers directly to the narratives. Over and over, the interviewees each say how much it helped to hear that someone else shared their experience-that they were not alone. One hopes that this book will be that voice for readers. (Nonfiction. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374372828
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 11/3/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 8.86 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Lehman is the author of the Christopher Award–winning novel Promise Not to Tell. She teaches children’s literature, writes extensively for children and adults, and is active in survivor advocacy. She lives in Arcata, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Strong at the Heart

How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse
By Lehman, Carolyn

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Copyright © 2005 Lehman, Carolyn
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0374372829

From the Foreword
"This powerful book is filled with the distinct, diverse voices of people who experienced rape, molestation, and incest when they were young. With remarkable honesty they tell how they stopped feeling victimized and reclaimed their lives - the choices they made, the people they turned to, the inner strength they discovered." - Laura Davis, author of The Courage to Heal
From the Survivors
"Other teenagers can see that I'm a kid just like them, from an everyday town like theirs. That's when people realize that sexual abuse isn't just a story in a book or a scene in a movie. It's something that happens every single day to people like them." - Jonathan, age 17
"This book is like a Healing Circle that anyone can join." - Sheena, age 16
"For me, activism is an important part of my healing process. I'm taking something that hurt me and isolated me in high school and transforming it . . . I'm using that anger I have about what happened to me when I was fifteen . . . I'm using it as a catalyst to try and change the world." - Aaron, a member of SAFE on the Smith College campus, age 19


Excerpted from Strong at the Heart by Lehman, Carolyn Copyright © 2005 by Lehman, Carolyn. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2008

    This book will give you hope!

    Sexual abuse is a difficult topic to handle. There is always the possibility that the story of the victim will descend to the salacious details of the abuse, rather than the effect of it and the victim¿s road to healing. The author of this book is a victim of sexual abuse herself, and her choice of stories to include was both poignant and uplifting. The victims tell their own stories and wanted to have pictures of themselves included. What is remarkable about this book is that the author selected stories along the continuum of abuse, from molestation to incest to date rape to rape. The common denominator in all of the stories is the determination of the victims to become whole people again. There is no sense of self-pity in the telling of their tales. The reader is given enough facts to appreciate the life-changing impact the abuse had. The book also highlights that each person might take a different path to get to healing, but that there is help, and healing can come. While it is a book that could easily be read in one sitting, the reader may not be able to do so without taking an emotional break. The book also provides insight to those people who encounter a friend or family member who is a victim. After the personal stories have been told, the book includes a section on where readers can go to gain more information. The section includes films (fiction and nonfiction), books, and organizations. This is not a book that I would throw into the curriculum without having a high level of skill in facilitating discussion in volatile situations however, it IS a wonderful resource for those students who would like more information or hope.

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