In What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, Oprah Winfrey and neuroscientist Dr. Bruce Perry use storytelling, personal experiences, and science to help people understand the relationship between how what happens to us in early childhood impacts who we become. Trauma, brain development and stress response systems are complex topics and can be challenging to understand. Dr. Perry and Oprah share stories about experiences of trauma followed by making connections to the science to help understand people’s behavior, all within a conversation format. For me, the conversational approach and use of storytelling made a complex topic easier to process and understand. At times, it almost felt like I was in their presence listening to the conversation. The book also includes a variety of figures which are very helpful for people like me who are visual learners. Dr. Perry also points out the misconception that children are born resilient and advocates and shares strategies for adults and educators to teach resilience, so people who have experienced trauma can begin to heal. I highly recommend this book for all educators. It has the potential to transform the way you think about teaching and how you perceive and respond to behavior.
Reviewed By: Emily Reilly