Once I Was Very Very Scared


A little squirrel announces that he was once very, very scared and finds out that he is not alone. Lots of little animals went through scary experiences, but they react in different ways. Turtle hides and gets a tummy ache, monkey clings, dog barks, and elephant doesn’t like to talk about it. They need help, and they get help from grown-ups who help them feel safe and learn ways to cope with difficult feelings.

This story was written to help children and grown-ups (parents, teachers, and other important adults) understand how stress can affect children and ways to help them. 

Squirrel would love to hear what you think.  Please share your feedback.  Also, if you are willing, a great way to support us and our book is to add a review on Amazon. Thank you.

To Obtain the Book

Downloading this PDF or linking to it from another page means that you understand and agree to follow the use guidelines. Please read the copyright page to understand how you may use this story and PDF.

Click image to purchase on Amazon. Visit our shop for information about other retailers and wholesale purchases.

Video Resources

Listen to the story as read by the author

Using story,  this webinar shares common reactions to stress and begins to talk about ways we can support healing and recovery.

Other Resources

Check out our resource page for free finger puppets and handouts
Check out our store for posters, phone cases, mugs, and much more.

Using the Books in Trainings

You may use the book in trainings if you follow these guidelines.
  • Ensure the full PDF is not included in materials. People are welcome to obtain the PDF, but we are tracking downloads, and they should obtain the PDF from this website.
  • Include on of the images below as either a slide or handout as part of your training materials. Click the image to obtain a downloadable version.

Linking to the Book on Other Websites

We are happy to have you share this page as a resource. Please do not link directly to the PDF as we may make changes to the PDF, which may affect that link. To share this story as a resource, please share the link to this page: piploproductions.com/stories/once/ Thank you!

Praise for Once I Was Very Very Scared

"This wonderful book is unique in its sensitive portrayal of how we respond to fear and how supportive relationships can help. Children of all ages will relate to the beautiful words and expressive pictures. The compelling story offers children and the adults that care for them the perfect medium to explore the universal feeling of being afraid and the gift of creating safety together."

Alicia F. Lieberman

Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair of Infant Mental Health,

Professor, UCSF Department of Psychiatry
Author: Emotional Life of the Toddler, Don't Hit My Mommy,

Psychotherapy with Infants and Young

"This beautifully illustrated book will undoubtedly help children to find the presence of mind necessary to put their feelings into language, and to help them by-pass the universal experience of hurt kids: to blame themselves and to carry the scars inside. A wonderful tool to help hurt kids heal!"

Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Medical Director Trauma Center at JRI, Professor of Psychiatry, 

Boston University School of Medicine
New York Time Best Seller: The Body Keeps the Score:

Mind, Brain, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Our book is now being shared and used all over the world. Learn more about some of the sites and groups that are using our book.

Your Feedback

We appreciate hearing from you. We love knowing whether our stories were helpful, ways they may have helped you, and how we might improve them. You can let us know what you thought in a couple different ways.

  1. Complete a confidential brief survey. This allows us to gather information and data about whether our stories are useful. This helps us spread our stories.
  2. Post a comment to our Piplo Productions Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/piploproductions

Receive Updates

We plan to continue to develop materials connected to this book including free parent guides and free measures for assessing: 1) exposure to stressful and traumatic events; 2) symptoms; 3) positive coping skills. If you would like to receive updates, you can do so in a few ways.

1. Sign up to receive updates. We do not share your email with anyone, and we only contact the list when we have new products or materials.

2. Like our Facebook page, follow the page, and sign up to receive notifications (Facebook controls your feed, so if you do not follow the page, you may or may not receive updates. We are an organizational page, so if you like or follow us, we do not see your personal information. Click here to see more information from Facebook about this.

3. Check our web page periodically and see what we've developed.