If your child has attachment issues, The Boy who Build a Wall Around Himself is the perfect book to cuddle up with. This lovely story by Ali Redford, an adoptive parent, gently describes the emotional wall some children build to protect themselves and keep safe after experiencing early childhood trauma. On one side of this “wall” is the caregiver, and on the other side the child.
The beautiful illustrations in this book will help even young children begin to reflect on how this “wall” is negatively affecting their lives, by keeping them from getting support and having fun with people who care for them.
This book will not only be thought provoking for children, but also paradigm shifting for caregivers. It’s a gentle reminder that our children’s behaviors are deeply rooted in trauma. Their unwillingness to attach to us is out of fear and the need to control everything around them because they view the world as an unsafe and uncaring place.
When I read this book I thought of my daughter Kayla. We adopted her out of foster care at the age of three and she’d been neglected. The she came to us, she spent hours screaming and could never get enough to eat. No doubt her needs had not been met up to that point and she was desperately trying to survive. She’s healed over the years, but the scars of early childhood trauma are forever etched on her core.
Kayla is now 15, but still my sweet baby girl. So I recently read her The Boy who Build a Wall Around Himself substituting “girl” for the word “boy.” It was a truly touching moment for us even though she’s a teenager and it’s a picture book. Always keep in mind that for traumatized kids, connecting at an earlier emotional level can be a powerful way to rebuild those connections they may have missed.
If you pick up this book and read it with your child please be sure to come back and share about the experience in the comments. I’m looking forward to hearing about your beautiful moments.Let's connect!
I live in Charlotte, NC with my family and am working on a memoir about raising my adopted son, Devon.