Maria’s Space reviews Annabelle’s Secret

as_400Recently I was offered an opportunity through Parent Reviewers to read a book by Amy Barth called Annabelle’s Secret. This is a book I wish was around to read when I was a child. As a child of sexual abuse there were no books that confirmed what I needed to know; that the abuse was not my fault!!

The book narrated by 14 year old Annabelle discusses the abuse she suffered when she was 7 years old, the age I was when my abuse started. When a neighborhood boy Joel approaches Annabelle about a secret club, she is very interested until she realizes that this club makes her feel bad about herself and the things she is expected to do. When she turns 11 those bad feelings resurface. Annabelle finds the courage to finally tell her mother who supports her and tells her that the abuse was not her fault.

Amy Barth, takes a very sensitive subject, and in the voice of a child, lets children reclaim their power.

This book should be in every therapists office and given to all children of abuse. Also, a great way for parents to be able to discuss with their children, the dangers of predators and let them know in a very safe, sensitive way about inappropriateness. Someone asking them to take off their clothes or touching them is wrong. They should know to say “no!”

Highly recommended!

Read the full blog posting at Maria’s Space

Reader Views Kids reviews Annabelle’s Secret

as_400Annabelle’s Secret
Amy Barth
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690958
Reviewed by Sophia ( age 6.5 ) and Madeline ( age 8 ) McElroy for Reader Views (6/09)

Madeline: “Annabelle’s Secrets” is a difficult story about a young girl named Annabelle. This is a book for children who have been sexually abused. This is a book for children to help them realize that the abuse was not their fault and that they don’t need to be scared.

This book taught me about inappropriate behavior. This has never happened to me before but I learned a lot about what to do if this did happen to me. I learned that if anyone told me to keep a secret about inappropriate things I should tell my Mom or Dad immediately.

This book made me feel weird because of the icky things the boy made Annabelle do. I was surprised that Joel had to go to court, he was only 13. I was happy that he went to court because he did lots of bad stuff and he wasn’t allowed to go near Annabelle or any other kids in the neighborhood.

Sophia: I learned it’s not ok for others to touch you in your private spaces. If someone touches you inappropriately you should tell your parents, or if you cannot tell your parents you should find someone else to tell. You should never, ever keep a secret from your Mom or Dad. Older people should not ask kids to do inappropriate stuff.

Parent: I was not properly prepared for the mature nature of this book when my girls started reading it without me. I had asked them to wait for me while I cleaned-up the dinner dishes; they didn’t. I decided to read the book myself first and then have a pre-reading debriefing, so that all the details wouldn’t be too overwhelming. My youngest took it in stride and really understood the inappropriate touching concept. But, my eldest daughter really was shocked by most of the material.

When asked, neither of them knew that someone touching you or asking you to take your clothes off was wrong! I was shocked, I don’t know why, it’s not like we had ever talked about it before. In fact my husband was very disturbed that we were about to read the book, until I explained how this was a really good way to bring up the material before, rather than after, something bad occurred.

Even after reading “Annabelle’s Secret” by Amy Barth and discussing that you should tell someone, my eldest daughter questioned, “What if it’s someone I know?” That really showed me how valuable this type of dialogue is for our children. It allows them to ask the questions and have the answers, should they ever need them in the future.


Reader Views Reviews: 101 Tips For Survivors of Sexual Abuse

101t1_250101 Tips For Survivors of Sexual Abuse: A Pocket Book of Wisdom
Amy Barth

Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690941
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/09)

“101 Tips for Survivors of Sexual Abuse” is a twenty-three page book that does not waste one word. Small enough to be carried around in a purse or briefcase, this book touches on the subject of sexual abuse. Each tip addresses a different issue that a victim might be dealing with or have dealt with.
By reading the tips, I felt that survivors of sexual abuse will be easily be able to relate to most of them and in doing so, they will also know that they are not alone with whatever feelings they are experiencing. This would especially apply to the painful areas of feeling guilt and shame.

Each tip has a paragraph space underneath it which will also allow the reader to make personal notes for themselves. This will be helpful because as they go through their recovery, they will probably be experiencing a myriad of emotions at different times. By taking notes, they will be able to address
the feeling that they are experiencing at that moment in time, and they will also be able to look back and reflect on how far they have come with their recovery.

At the end of the book is a list of suggestions and exercises for people to do when they are having bad moments. There is a suggested reading list. I think that all of these will make excellent tools for people who need some guidance when they are dealing with their painful thoughts and negative emotions. It will give them something practical to do to help with their healing.

I think that “101 Tips for Survivors of Sexual Abuse” by Amy Barth will be perfect for both individuals, family members and for people in group therapy. The information within is highly personal, however, it would make great discussion material for both family members in recovery and for group counseling sessions.

Annabelle’s Secret – A Survivor’s Story

as_400Annabelle has a secret. When she was seven years old, she was approached by a
neighborhood boy and invited into a “secret club”. Unfortunately, this club was just a
ruse for thirteen-year-old Joel to groom Annabelle for abuse. A few years later, when Annabelle turns eleven, she finds some bad feelings have returned for her.

Experts Acclaim for Annabelle’s Secret

“Amy Barth’s Annabelle could be just the ‘friend’ a sexually abused child needs, and
it models just what parents should to do if their child shares about sexual abuse. A great little resource for children, parents, schools, therapists, treatment agencies, and prevention programs.”
–Karen R. Nash, LCSW

Annabelle’s Secret is a well-written and beautifully illustrated book for children that tells the difficult tale of Annabelle, what happened to her, and what she did to stop the sexual abuse that she was experiencing. The book is written in a straightforward yet compelling manner that exposes the excruciating situation that far too many children experience. This book is a welcome and needed addition to the tools that we have for children and families and service providers for dealing openly about child sexual abuse.”
–Pamela Pine, PhD, MPH, Founder and CEO Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse, Inc

Annabelle’s Secret supports important issues regarding sexual abuse that may arise in a young girl’s life. Written like a comforting letter from a survivor, the young reader will become aware of the importance and safety to report any encounters. The book is simply written and in understandable terms for any 6 to 9-year old. The information is concise, yet heartening and loving. Annabelle’s Secret should be read with a parent present to encourage dialog about this significant subject.”
–Irene Watson, author of The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference

“Annabelle relates a story that reconfirms what I have observed over many years.
Abused children, male or female, universally believe that it is their fault. Their self-image is mangled; they need to tell the truth; and they must get help from someone who knows how to treat such an injury to the soul.”
–Fr. Heyward B. Ewart, III, PhD, Author of Am I Bad? Recovering From Abuse

From Loving Healing press

Juvenile Fiction : Social Issues – Sexual Abuse

101 Tips For Survivors of Sexual Abuse: A Pocket Book of Wisdom

101t1_400If you’re a survivor, it’s important to take one day at a time. Let 101 Tips for Survivors of Sexual Abuse be your companion in healing and you’ll be reminded of the strength and wisdom that’s already inside you. This book will help you celebrate the good days and develop solid coping strategies for the bad times. Most importantly, this book will remind that you’re not alone and it was never your fault.

Acclaim for 101 Tips For Survivors of Sexual Abuse: A Pocket Book of Wisdom

“You can never have too much support as a survivor. Amy’s little pocket book is great to carry around to remind yourself that you can all thrive after sexual abuse.”
–Dr. Patti Feuereisen psychologist and author of Invisible Girls: The Truth About Sexual Abuse

“101 Tips for Survivors of Sexual Abuse has excellent ideas and thoughts to build up your self-esteem and give you courage for your journey.”
–Marjorie McKinnon, founder, The Lamplighters and author of Repair Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Childhood Sexual Abuse

“101 Tips for Survivors of Sexual Abuse used as an adjunct to recovering from sexual abuse at any age can help guide the survivor toward releasing emotions and breaking the internal silence of trauma.”
–Barbara Sinor, Ph.D., author of Gifts From the Child Within and An Inspirational Guide for the Recovering Soul

“I have just read 101 Tips. Every one of them fits my 30 years of experience in this field.”
–Fr. Heyward B. Ewart, III, Ph.D., Sacred Heart Counseling Center, Author of Am I Bad? Recovering From Abuse

About the author

Amy Barth’s background is in social work and she founded the Safe Girls Strong Girls in 2005. SGSG is a nonprofit committed to breaking the silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) and giving girls their voices back. One SGSG project is Camp CADI, a one-of-a kind camp where girls can heal and just be girls again. Amy is the author of several books including Annabelle’s Secret. For more information about the author, please visit

From Loving Healing Press,

Self-Help : Abuse – Sexual

Camp CADI 2009

Safe Girls Strong Girls is committed to breaking the silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) and giving girls their voices back

Imagine a place where survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) can reclaim the joy of childhood. Imagine a place where they can find confidence through the power of choice, healing through the power of art and hope through the power of community. Imagine CAMP CADI. See Camp Cadi Slideshow from our 2008 trip

Created by Safe Girls Strong Girls founder Amy Barth, CAMP CADI (Irish for “simple happiness”) is the first of its kind, offering CSA survivors ages 10-18 a unique opportunity to enjoy the fun-filled, memorable moments that only a true camp experience can provide. For one week, in the playful, exciting and safe environment of Camp Twin Lakes, girls get to be girls again!

Traditional camp activities – swimming, canoeing, mountain biking, fishing, campfires, sleeping under the stars – join a creative mix of art therapy and experiential learning programs for a rollicking retreat. Campers will gain confidence-boosting skills during interactive experiential learning workshops, while rediscovering their own voice through music, drama, storytelling, journaling and other arts related activities.

Throughout the week, girls will see that they’re not alone, the abuse wasn’t their fault and that community can be a great healer as they build trusting relationships with their peers and counselors. Full camperships are available to girls who have been recommended for the program. Each child is first screened by a community or private psychologist to determine suitability and then meets with a Safe Girls Strong Girls representative to make plans for attending.

 Camp CADI Values

1.We celebrate the girls and young women who attend Camp CADI
2. We expect them to be their personal best
3.We value that they are each unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses
4.We recognize that they are each at different stages or their healing process
5. We assure them it was Not Their Fault
6.We assure them that childhood sexual abuse does not define who they are and refer to them as girls who have been sexually abused rather then sexually abused girls
7.We provide a safe place for them to tell their stories and explore their feelings
8.We provide a connection with other young survivors/thrivers
9. We lift the shame and the guilt
10. We allow them to be children
11. We help them identify destructive coping mechanisms and teach them healthy coping mechanisms
12. We model appropriate affection
13.We model healthy habits
14.We provide consistency and stability
15.We teach them they always have the right to say “No” if something makes them feel uncomfortable
16. We provide community
17. We give them choices
18. We respect their choices
19. We listen and we are supportive
20. We are committed to providing the most innovative, creative and experiential therapies available to assist them in their healing