Book Club Guide for Parents

“Journey to Resilience: From Trauma to Healing” is the book club guide everyone needs when reading What Happened to You? by Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey

  1. Home
  2. Partnering With Parents
  3. Book Club Guide for Parents

Join us for the 2024 Book Club Check-Ins!

Childrens Trust Fund Alliance: Book Clubs

We will be hearing how one community is using the book club materials in their work with families. We will then have a time to connect, share some resources and information about resilience. We look forward to seeing those thinking about hosting a book club, currently and previously hosting so we can all learn and grow our book club community together.

We are EXCITED to have the opportunity to check in as we continue this work in 2024. All check-in opportunities will be provided at 2 pm Eastern Time. Please register for each book club check-in you are interested in attending.

Tell Us about Your Book Club!

We’d love to hear about your book club, and how you used our free study guide, “Journey to Resilience: From Trauma to Healing,” our Facilitator’s Travel Guide and our new coloring bookmarks. Click on the the button below to complete a quick Google form.

Start a Book Club

“Georgia PAC member here. This book club has been LIFE CHANGING! The bonds and the connection that the space provides is priceless.” 

What Happened to You? by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey is a reflective book for readers on their own and also a concrete tool readers can explore together. The book club concept for parents allows them to come together to talk about their life experiences and how it relates to their everyday parenting. 

This book club concept is intended to create a space for parents to bond, share and connect. It allows for a judgement-free space where parents can check in with one another and learn from each other. It is also a space where the parents can reflect and think about and process some of their thoughts or emotions while reading. 

Book Club Guide Objectives

Use the book club guide alongside What Happened to You? to: 

  • Empower families to discuss needs of themselves and their community
  • Further develop connections amongst members of the community 
  • Create space free of judgement and where families can ask questions 
  • Implement prevention tools and resources to help families feel strengthened
  • Spread awareness of protective factors and work of the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance

What’s in the Book Club Guide

The book club guide is constructed to correspond with each chapter in What Happened to You? However, you can use each chapter section as a stand alone or for additional conversation. The conversations range from 45 minutes to an hour depending on the ability and willingness to engage. Each chapter section includes:

  • A short summary of the chapter
  • Leveled questions
    • Introduction/icebreaker
    • Diving deeper
    • Reflection
  • Links to resources
  • Wrap-up/inspirational quotes
  • Moving to action
  • Coloring sheets
  • Sample refection journal pages

The book club guide can be used by individuals, small or large groups and even in a conference setting. Although this project was started with one parent advisory council, the Alliance is pleased to share this book club guide with other parent councils, organizations, communities and individuals who want to shift the language from “what’s wrong with you?” to “what happened to you?”.


Sample reflection journal pages are included in the book club guide. If you need additional pages to record your journey to resilience, they are available to download below in color and in greyscale:

What Happened to You Coloring Book

New Book Club Resource!

What Happened to You Coloring Book!

Facilitator’s Travel Guide

The Alliance introduced its facilitator’s travel guide to help plan and lead a book study of What Happened to You? by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Our roadmap provides tools and tips to capture the highlights, growth and learning that you and your community experience when reading What Happened to You? It is designed to be used with the Alliance’s book study guide “Journey to Resilience: From Trauma to Healing” and will help you navigate your own growth journey as a facilitator.

Bookmarks to Promote What Happened to You?

Check out our bookmarks that can be colored to promote What Happened to You? by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey. These bookmarks go hand-in-hand with our book club guide and coloring sheets and our facilitator’s guide to lead conversations about trauma, racism, inequity, protective factors, positive childhood experiences and the role community plays in preventing and healing trauma and creating resiliency.

Easy to print: There are 4 different bookmarks per 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet (card stock recommended). The front features a quote from What Happened to You? and the back has a QR code that links to this web page. After printing front and back, cut each bookmark to 2 3/4 inches by 8 1/2 inches. Hand them out at your book study group, at libraries and throughout your community.

Social Media Images to Share

Help us get the word out about our “Journey to Resilience: From Trauma to Healing” book club guide for parents or anyone reading What Happened to You? by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey. We’ve got social media images for you to share with your network. Check out this social media toolkit and download and distribute the memes in it.

About Our Book Club Guide Journey to Resilience: From Trauma to Healing

The Children’s Trust Fund Alliance’s book club guide lets you explore how you feel and think about your own life experiences and daily experiences as a parent while reflecting on the book What Happened to You? by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey.

It all started when the Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services asked the Alliance to purchase What Happened to You? for the parents on the Georgia Parent Advisory Council (GA PAC). Not only did the Alliance buy the book, we offered to support the parents as they read it – the birth of the book club concept and the need for a guide. The Alliance wanted to provide a safe space for the parents to look at their own experiences and realize that these experiences don’t define their future, but make up a part of who they are, and by examining them they can find strength and resolve to carry on to a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Helping lead the GA PAC book club was Chloe Corrion, an intern at the time with the Alliance, and Kara Georgi, Alliance Parent Partnership Associate. They worked closely with Norma McReynolds, Alliance graphic designer, to create the “Journey to Resilience: From Trauma to Healing” discussion guide.

The Alliance thanks the members of the GA PAC for their vulnerability and sharing their life stories during their book club. Thank you to Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey for writing this book and for beginning the conversation.

Endorsed by the Authors

“Oprah and I truly appreciate the thought and hard work that went into study guide. I really like the images, and it’s fun that people can download and color their own version.”

Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD

The Alliance was pleased to work with the Georgia Division of Children and Family Services to help them develop their Parent Advisory Council and to support their work promoting parent leaders. For more information about the Alliance’s technical assistance and consultation on building partnerships with parents, click HERE.

Georgia Parent Advisory Council’s Book Club Experience

After the Georgia Parent Advisory Council (GA PAC) book club started, the Alliance reached out to Oprah Winfrey. Oprah surprised the GA PAC parents by joining their final book club meeting on December 15, 2021 as a very special guest. During the Zoom meeting, Oprah shared her thoughts about writing the book and incorporating learnings from her own life. She acknowledged the important role of parents and was pleased that the discussion of What Happened to You? was valuable to the PAC members. PAC members thanked Oprah for coming to their meeting and helping to write What Happened to You?.

“I would love to see more book clubs spring up within certain cultural/ethnic/social groups where women (and men) can feel even more connected and a part of the process. Just like we all related to each other because of our GA PAC connections, perhaps other social/community organizations could do something similar.”

PACEs Connection’s reading initiative book club experience

The Children’s Trust Fund partnered with PACEs Connection when it launched its first Connecting Communities One Book at a Time reading initiative. The initiative used the Alliance’s What Happened to You? book club guide to lead conversations about trauma, racism, inequity, protective factors, positive childhood experiences and the role community plays in preventing and healing trauma and creating resiliency.

PACEs Connection kicked off its reading initiative with a conversation with Dr. Bruce Perry, who co-authored What Happened to You? with Oprah Winfrey. This was followed by additional sessions with the Alliance introducing a new book study facilitator’s guide and sharing how to lead a community reading initiative. The reading initiative ended with a couple of check-in sessions for book study leaders.

PACEs Connection reading initiative was inspired by the Georgia Reads What Happened to You? program, in which more than 40 community book clubs, including the Georgia Parent Advisory Council (GA PAC), met to discuss the book in 2021. Georgia Children’s Trust Fund sponsored the program, and the Alliance facilitated the GA PAC book club that inspired our book club guide for parents – “Journey to Resilience: From Trauma to Healing.”

Check out these PACEs Connection’s resources:

Meet the Author

Dr. Bruce Perry, co-author of What Happened to You?, joined Ingrid Cockhren, CEO of PACEs Connection, and Mathew Portell, director of Communities at PACEs Connection for a discussion of historical trauma and how asking “What Happened to You?” is THE QUESTION that can lead to understanding, healing, connection and community.

More than 1,300 people attended the June 28 event which introduced PACEs Connection’s reading initiative – Connecting Communities One Book at a TimeThe conversation was so rich that we are posting the entire 1-1/2 hour Zoom recording.

More parent resources

Since 2006, the Alliance has developed and partnered with networks of parents to elevate their voices to policymakers and to join with them in developing policies and practices that help support families and lead to better outcomes for children and youth. Take time to learn about: