Learn more about ACES and Resilience

Selected print and digital media on the topic of Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) and resilience are described below.  

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The Future of Healing: Shifting from Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centered Engagement (May 2018).  Defines an approach that moves trauma informed care from the presumption that trauma is an individual experience to a collective one.  “A healing-centered approach is holistic, involving culture, spirituality, civic action, and collective healing.”

The Opposite of Addiction is Connection (July 2015) Exploration of connection as a key antidote to trauma and its expression as addiction.

Community Loss Index: A New Social Indicator (December 2013), Social Science Review, Abramovitz and Albrecht.

BOOKS (Selected suggested reads, by title)

Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health (c2018, Kati Morgan) offers accessible advice from a licensed family therapist and You Tube personality to answer commonly asked questions about mental health, including when to get help , where to find it, and how to evaluate it.

Change-able: How Collaborative Problem-Solving Changes Lives at Home, at School and at Work (c2019, J. Stuart Ablon, PhD) presents an approach to problem-solving that asks for this perspective shift: What if people don’t misbehave because they want to, but because they lack the skills to do better? Based on more than twenty-five years of clinical work with juvenile offenders as well training parents, teachers, counselors and law enforcement, and supported by research in neuroscience, Changeable presents a radical new way of thinking about challenging and unwanted behavior — Collaborative Problem Solving — that builds empathy, helps others reach their full potential, and most of all really works.

The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog (c2006, Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D. and Maia Szalavitz) takes you through a psychiatrist’s journey of discovery of the impact of trauma on the developing brain using unforgettable examples from his practice.

The Deepest Well (c2017, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris) explains the research behind ACES,  her own experience using ACES to guide her practice in California, and a review of ways in which this information can guide services to children and adults.  

The Telomere Effect (c2017, Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD and Elissa Epel, PhD) is an account of Dr. Blackburn’s Nobel Prize winning science on how stress impacts our chromosomes blended with a variety of actionable advice on how to manage stress to improve health.

Trauma Books for younger children

Trauma Books for older children


Once you begin to see through the lens of trauma, there are many films that portray its occurrence and impact. A few recent films are listed below. These might be helpful in prompting community/group discussion.

  • Paper Tigers (2015). This film chronicles a year in the life of Lincoln High School in the community of Walla Walla, Washington. The kids who come to Lincoln have a history of truancy, behavioral problems and substance abuse. After Lincoln’s principal is exposed to research about the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), he decides to radically change the school’s approach to discipline. With the aid of diary camera footage, the film follows six students. From getting into fights, grappling with traumatic events in their lives, and on the cusp of dropping out, they find healing, support and academic promise at Lincoln High. Note that the KPJR website (https://kpjrfilms.co/films/) offers additional resources to support further research and group discussion. Individuals can this film on Amazon Prime.
  • Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope (2016). This documentary explains how toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death. While the broader impacts of poverty worsen the risk, no segment of society is immune. The film chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to fight back. Note that the KPJR website (https://kpjrfilms.co/films/) offers additional resources to support further research and group discussion.
  • Wrestling Ghosts, (2018). This documentary follows the epic inner journey of Kim, a young mother who, over two heart-breaking and inspiring years, battles the traumas from her past to create a new present and future for her and her family. With counseling, Kim opens up to new ways of thinking and uncovers what has blocked her from experiencing the joy and connection she most desires. She learns about the impact of childhood trauma on her brain, and how, tragically, this very damage causes the trauma to be passed on to her own children. Armed with knowledge and compassion, she pursues new strategies to heal herself, including counseling, Neurofeedback, and EFT (tapping). Note the resources for individual and group exploration available at the films website: https://www.wrestlingghosts.com/. Available for individuals to view on Kanopy for those with a Westchester Library System card.


The Trauma of Racism (NYU’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research). This 2015 report explores the impact of racism on children and communities. Several tools and approaches for understanding and action are reviewed.

A February 2018 research report by Child Trends details the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences, nationally, by state, and by race/ethnicity.  The report also provides a clear statement of the impact of ACEs.  Key findings:

  • Just under half (45 percent) of children in the United States have experienced at least one ACE…
  • Children of different races and ethnicities do not experience ACEs equally. Nationally, 61 percent of black non-Hispanic children and 51 percent of Hispanic children have experienced at least one ACE, compared with 40 percent of white non-Hispanic children and only 23 percent of Asian non-Hispanic children.
  • One in ten children nationally has experienced three or more ACEs, placing them in a category of especially high risk.
  • Economic hardship and divorce or separation of a parent or guardian are the most common ACEs reported nationally, and in all states.


ACES in the News:  The importance of this topic is communicated quickly in this 14 minute 60 Minutes broadcast (March 2018) hosted by Oprah Winfrey (you need CBS AllAcess to view.  Accessible to all is this  5 min interview with Oprah about the segment, which she called “life-changing”.   

Author of the Deepest Well, Ms. Harris’ did this 2015 Ted Talk, which provides a passionate summary of her experience.

Three core-concepts in early childhood development are explained in this three-part video series from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child.

MOVIES: Several documentary films are available that convey the challenges of trauma and the opportunities to foster resilience. A short list TK.

WEB SITES (selected)

Take a look at our handouts for a sense of what you can do now to promote your own resilience.  See Actions for Resilience and Wellness and Hacking Your Vagus Nerve: Some Simple Ways to Shift into States of Social Engagement, Safety, and Self-Regulation.