Something Scary Happened

Darby A. Strickland
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Something Scary Happened
Something Scary Happened
Something Scary Happened
Something Scary Happened
Something Scary Happened
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Something Scary Happened helps children process their feelings after experiencing a trauma and provides comfort through the story of a little lamb named Miles.

Miles is a happy little lamb until something bad happens. All of a sudden, Miles feels like he is alone in a deep dark valley, but it is there in the valley that he meets his good Shepherd who promises to always be with him, no matter what.

Counselor and trauma expert Darby A. Strickland uses the story of Miles to help parents and caregivers share the comfort of taking their fears to the good Shepherd by applying Psalm 23 to difficult experiences. Through a special section at the end of the book, Strickland helps parents recognize the feelings and behaviors children might have in response to their trauma and guides them in how to help children talk about what scared them.

  • First book in the Comfort for Children in Hard Times series, edited by biblical counselor Darby Strickland, addressing difficult experiences that children commonly face and offering gospel hope and help.
  • Children ages four to seven will be drawn to the playful illustrations by Carlotta Notaro.
  • The companion minibook, When Children Experience Trauma: What to Do When Something Scary Happens by Darby A. Strickland is also available to give parents and caregivers more detailed help.
  • Also available, a plush Miles toy lamb that gives kids something soft and comforting to cuddle when they're scared and serves as a tangible reminder that the Shepherd who comforted Miles is also with them.


Darby A. Strickland, MDiv, is a faculty member and counselor at the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF). She is a contributor to Becoming a Church That Cares Well for the Abused and author of Is It Abuse? A Biblical Guide to Identifying Domestic Abuse and Helping Victims, the children's book Something Scary Happened, and the minibook When Children Experience Trauma. She writes regularly for the Journal of Biblical Counseling. Darby and her husband, John, have three children.


Carlotta Notaro is an Italian illustrator and animator. Sometimes she draws for kids, other times she draws for grown-ups, and occasionally she makes little animations for herself. Somehow, one of her animations ended up on a giant screen in Hong Kong. When not drawing, she enjoys long walks with her favorite music, upcycling old stuff, and petting her dog Molly for way too long.

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"With gentle words and engaging illustrations, Miles the lamb and Psalm 23 will help your child bring those hard-to-speak, scary feelings to both you and to Jesus."
Ed Welch, Faculty and counselor, Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF); author of Someone I Know Is Grieving

"I wish there were a hundred books like this. Kids who go through pain or trauma need simple, vivid hope they can see and cling to. Something Scary Happened does exactly that. It takes seriously that deeply harmful things happen and yet teaches that we can run to the true refuge as we struggle: a Shepherd who will hold onto us."
Alasdair Groves, Executive Director, Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF)

"Through the story of Miles the sheep, Darby Strickland provides parents and caregivers a means to safely speak with children about their own scary situations and, more importantly, connect them to the Good Shepherd, who is always with them. Something Scary Happened is a precious gift to our children especially those who have experienced trauma, harm, or fear."
Chris Moles Founder of PeaceWorks; author of The Heart of Domestic Abuse, and editor of Caring for Families Caught in Domestic Abuse

"In our broken world, trauma and suffering are not only experienced by adults. In Darby's latest resource, she compassionately takes hurting children to the truest and most stable source of comfort they can findÑthe Good Shepherd. Don't let the idea of a children's book fool youÑrich, biblical theology flows from page to page as children are brought close to the Lord in the midst of their scary and hard things. I know I'll be reading this with my family, and I trust you will as well."
Jonathan Holmes, Executive Director, Fieldstone Counseling

"This beautiful book gently helps little ones who have faced a traumatic event learn not just that their reactions make sense, but more importantly, that they have a Good Shepherd who deeply loves them and will never let them go. May God use it for healing wounded little ones he so deeply cares about."
Kelly M. Kapic,
Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College; author ofEmbodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering

"Reading books to children is such a formative time. Neither parent nor child will ever forget those sweet moments. In Something Scary Happened, Darby Strickland teaches children to put their fears into words that become prayers as they find comfort in the Good Shepherd, and parents to become ambassadors of God's comfort to their children. You and your child will love story time infused with such practical, gospel-saturated life skills."
Brad Hambrick, Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church, Durham, NC; author of Angry with God: A Honest Journey through Suffering and Betrayal

"How do we in this generation 'speak up for those who have no voice . . . and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy' (Proverbs 31:8Ð9)? In her comforting book, Something Scary Happened,Darby Strickland brings to light the unspoken challenges trauma sufferers often face. This book helps children and adults understand how trauma can express itself and explains how the pathway to healing and understanding can begin in reconnecting with the Good Shepherd, whose promises bring stability, hope, and peace in the midst of pain."
Crystal Keating, Host of the Joni and Friends Ministry Podcast

"In this tender resource, Darby seamlessly weaves timeless gospel comforts with age-appropriate biblical counsel. This book not only helps children to express the pain and confusion that so often arises in the wake of traumatic events, but gently guides them to talk to Jesus when they feel anxious, angry, or alone."
Christine Chappell, Author of Midnight Mercies: Walking with God through Depression in Motherhood; certified biblical counselor

"Something Scary Happened is a gift to those struggling to help children impacted by trauma. In my work with abused women, I have often bemoaned the lack of resources for their children, but this book is a game-changer! I believe it will help both children and their parents process trauma together, bring healing by strengthening parent/child bonds, and help them recognize the hope and help available to those who belong to our Good Shepherd."
Joy Forrest, Executive Director, Called to Peace Ministries

"We love how Something Scary Happened points children and their caregivers to the Good Shepherd who is always with them and whose love is 'stronger than any scary thing.' This sweet meditation on Psalm 23 and John 10 is comforting, practical, and full of hope. Highly recommend!"
Deepak and Sarah Reju, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC. Deepak is the author of On Guard and coauthor of The Pastor and Counseling and Build on Jesus, and Sarah is the author of Jesus Saves

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4 Reviews

  • 5
    Something Scary Happened

    Posted by Robin on 12 11 2023

    We ordered a copy for each elementary classroom at our school. Since the "scary thing" is generic, we're able to use the book for unexpected events on campus or other community disturbances. One person then ordered a copy for her adult friend who has cancer.

  • 5
    Beautiful way to share comfort with a child

    Posted by Catherine Roltsch on 12 03 2023

    Gave this to a friends grandchild who doesn’t go to church and this 6 year old asked if the shepherd was God!

  • 5
    For kids when scary things happen

    Posted by Wendy on 11 24 2023

    This picture book is for a specific situation - when something scary has happened to a young child and you want to help them process it and understand that God and his good shepherd Jesus are with them in their pain. Miles the lamb has lots of fun in the meadow with his other lamb friends: they play soccer, they eat, and they all sleep in a pile together. But one day something scary happens, and Miles is so scared that he doesn’t know what to do, and pretends it didn’t happen. But he can’t really forget, and he gets mad at his friends, and then he cries, and he can’t sleep - he feels all alone. But then the good Shepherd comes and promises Miles that he is with him - when he is scared, when he is mad, when he can’t sleep. All of this in anchored around Psalm 23, and beautifully illustrated by Carlotta Notaro. It’s a gentle book, introducing helpful concepts for little ones (2-5s) about how our bodies, emotions, and relationships can all be affected when something scary happens. Because the “scary thing” is not specified - it could be used for numerous scary circumstances or traumas, e.g., a car accident, cases of abuse, or seeing a confronting thing. There are also helpful guidelines for carers in the back of the book. One of those books that you hope you don’t need, but will be helpful if you do.

  • 5
    I cried.

    Posted by Kat on 10 31 2023

    The way this book points to Jesus' presence in scary times and also talks about the feelings and actions that accompany a traumatic event was beautifully done. Get this book!

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