"I write the books I needed as a teen and couldn't find."
Cheryl Rainfield has been said to write with “great empathy and compassion” (VOYA)
and to write stories that “can, perhaps, save a life.” (CM Magazine)
SLJ said of her work: “[Readers] will be on the edge of their seats.”
SCARS has been banned in Texas
SCARS has been banned in some Texas schools, along with hundreds of other YA books, even though it has saved lives. Banning books causes harm. Kids and teens need to see themselves in books to know they’re not alone, especially traumatized & marginalized teens. Books can save lives. If you don’t like a book you have the right to keep your kid from reading it but not all the other kids & teens who need it.
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I write the books I needed as a teen and couldn’t find. I draw on my abuse and trauma experience for every book I write–it’s important to me to encourage healing and hope, and to break silence–but I also write to entertain and to move people. I put strong-girl and LGBTQ characters into every book I write.
I still get reader messages every week telling me how SCARS helped them stop cutting; get help; talk to someone for the first time; know that they’re not alone about being a survivor, being queer, or using self-harm to cope; and even keep from killing themselves. That is a HUGE part of why I write. I also hear from readers who tell me that they don’t have any of those experiences, but that my books helped them have greater compassion for others who have. And I hear from readers that STAINED helped them feel stronger or braver, like they could get through anything that comes at them. I delight in all the letters and messages and read every one, and I try to answer them all, though some slip past.
And yes, it is my own arm on the cover of SCARS. You are not alone–and it does get better.
We all need positive reminders, so this is mine for you:
I hope you always remember that you don’t deserve to be hurt, not ever–not even by yourself.
You do deserve to be treated with compassion, empathy, and love by others and by yourself.
I hope you take good care of yourself. And I hope you keep connecting with others. We need those connections. And we need to treat ourselves gently and kindly, as kindly and gently as we would a friend.
P. S. Feel free to download this video and play it whenever you need to. I mean every word.
Want more positive-message videos? See them here.
I am honored that YA author Jennifer Brown calls me “a hero for girls,” saying “When it comes to using past experiences as power, there is no greater female voice in YA than that of Cheryl Rainfield.”
Edgy YA that talks about real, painful issues can help teens know they are not alone, and help them heal. My response to the WSJ article that slammed Scars remains the same. I could not have survived my child- and teenhood without books. YA saves!
It shouldn’t need to be said, but self-harm is NOT trendy.
The sadness of banned books – a poem by Cheryl Rainfield.