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Rohan Bullkin is haunted by sinister Shadows that fuel his fear of reading. He hates books so much that he often rips their pages. But when the Shadows become intolerable, Rohan accepts an offer of friendship from a special book. This marks the beginning of a remarkable journey during which he not only learns how to conquer Shadows but also develops a love of books and life.
Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows highlights connections between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), toxic stress and many children’s academic weaknesses and disruptive behaviours. It shows how supportive environments and the ability to read well significantly improve children’s odds of overcoming trauma and becoming successful. In addition to providing a medium for children and adults to explore their ACEs, this book aims to help others develop a deeper understanding of the symptoms of toxic stress and ways in which they can be allies to those who need support.
Enjoyed by all ages.
Listen to the Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows’ song.
Click here to experience interviews and feature articles with the author about ACEs and the book.
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Whether you are six or sixty (or older), this enchanting book tells a story of hope for all kids and adults. It will help them understand why childhoods can be difficult and how, with the help of caring people, to heal. It will help them understand themselves and others better.
—Jane Stevens, Founder of PACEs Connection
Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows demystifies the emotional turmoil and anguish many children endure, but are unable to describe. An empowering story and a remarkable accomplishment.
—Benjamin Perks, International Campaigner for ACEs Awareness and Senior Advisor at UNICEF HQ
Reading Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows brought me to tears. Tears of reflection, tears of empathy, tears of relief – that we are having these conversations more openly across humanity. As a survivor of ACEs and an advocate for universal knowledge of their impacts on the comprehensive healthy development of children, I’m delighted to see such a lovely, touching, well-written, and hopeful book added to the mix. Keeping Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows at hand in our homes and libraries will help all children – grown and growing.
—Elizabeth Perry, ECE, MEd, Founder of ACEs Canada
An exceptionally illustrated, wonderful, therapeutic book that encourages reading and provides a safe emotional and intellectual platform for young people to deal with personal stress and environmental trauma.
—Julius Garvey, MD, Surgeon and son of The Honourable Marcus Garvey
Juleus Ghunta’s empowering book, Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows, vibrantly illustrated by Rachel Moss, is a much-needed story and a vital new resource for professionals and others.
—Veronique Mead, MD, MA, Somatic Trauma Therapist and Founder of Chronic Illness Trauma Studies.com
A compelling and relatable children’s book that illustrates the magical powers of stories to fight off Shadows and to help us heal.
—Stephanie Guthman, PhD, Psychologist and PACEs Specialist
Juleus has written a beautiful, haunting, unique, dynamic and multi-functional book. It achieves a brilliant target of addressing two types of readers: one is a young person who may feel comforted, seen and hopeful by reading this book. They may see themselves in the troubled main character, but they may also feel inspired about the future. For the adult reader, they may see themselves in the young character who experiences ACEs, and they may also see alternative ways of reaching these young people who desperately need specialised attention.
—Kate Chappell, Journalist
In Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows, Juleus Ghunta has created a lifeline for children who live with trauma and stress. This ambitious, vividly illustrated book is an imaginative intervention into the universal quest for literacy, knowledge and healing.
—Annie Paul, Editor-in-Chief of PREE Magazine
Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows is a must-read. Written from the viewpoint of a child, it describes how Rohan overcomes trauma and succeeds. It is a wonderful story about the best in human nature and the power of positive relationships to create change. A powerful and easy to read narrative.
—Richard Honigman, MD, FAAP, Chair of Research and Education at Reach Within
Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows is a tender and compassionate work that introduces both children and adults to the causes and impacts of ACEs and reminds us of the immense hope and possibility contained in reading and books. Ghunta presents Rohan’s internal journey towards reading as one full of wonder and magic, and the book itself is indeed magical, living vibrantly through Rachel Moss’ illustrations.
—Richard Georges, PhD, Poet Laureate of the British Virgin Islands
Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows is informative, well-written, and beautifully illustrated. It highlights various adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their impacts in a manner that children, parents, teachers, and others can easily understand. This book should be required reading in all schools.
—Michael Abrahams, MD, Obstetrician and Columnist
Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows is illustrated with beautiful, imaginative art that brings to life the story of Rohan Bullkin – a boy who struggles with Shadows that prevent him from learning. Ghunta thoroughly explores the impacts of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on children and offers solutions that are practical and manageable. Rohan’s story is one of triumph over adversity. I highly recommend this book.
—MJ Fievre, author of Young Trailblazers: The Book of Black Inventors and Scientists
From this beautifully written book, survivors, mentors, parents, and support practitioners can discover or remind themselves of the journeys and prospects of those who have experienced ACEs. Juleus must be commended for producing this age-friendly book that helps him achieve the highest frame of therapy – helping others escape.
—Herbert Gayle, PhD, Anthropologist of social violence
Reading is a great tool for regulating emotions. It helps us blaze new trails through our jungle of neurons instead of just repeating old trails. Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows can help every child access the benefits of reading.
—Loretta Breuning, PhD, author of Habits of a Happy Brain
A young creative mind shows us how to interpret and represent Garvey’s lessons on reading for our youth in troubled times. This is a brilliant book and is wonderfully illustrated.
—Rupert Lewis, PhD, author of Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion
The story describes how Rohan finds his way through adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and emerges with tools to become a more resilient and focused student. This book is sensitive and forward-looking and provides encouraging guidance for adults who spend time with children.
—Dionne Clabaugh, EdD, Professor of Human Development at Pacific Oaks College
Bringing a non-reading child to the written word is a difficult task. In this impressive collaboration with illustrator Rachel Moss, Ghunta takes a unique approach to this challenge by having a book become the hero that convinces young Rohan that reading can indeed be a way out of toxic stress.
—Mervyn Taylor, author of Country of Warm Snow
Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows is not just another book. It is a wonderful therapeutic tool for survivors of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and should be read by parents, teachers and all child care practitioners.
—Toney Olton, Founder of EQ Barbados
Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows is an extremely valuable resource for children, parents, and all professionals who work with children. The content is easy to understand and is relevant across different countries and cultures. I highly recommend this book.
—Adriana van Altvorst, Community Manager of New Zealand’s PACES Connections
Juleus Ghunta has found a significant purpose for his creative talent: his gift of a world made clearer to a child through reading. Ghunta’s is not just an ability to tell a story. It is a calling.
—Esther Phillips, Poet Laureate of Barbados
This is a heartfelt and inspiring work that illuminates an often-invisible issue in the Caribbean classroom. Like the magical book that transforms young Rohan Bullkin’s life, Juleus Ghunta’s story will open new doors by edifying many – both young and old – who fall prey to Shadows.
—Andre Bagoo, author of The Undiscovered Country
About the Author
Juleus Ghunta is a Chevening Scholar, poet, and an advocate in the Caribbean’s adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) movement. He holds a BA in Media from The University of the West Indies, Mona, and an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford.
Juleus’ work explores the links between toxic stress and academic underachievement, and the varied effects of false positivity and emotional invalidation on the choices and hopes of survivors of complex trauma. His poems and essays on ACEs have appeared in 30+ journals across 15 countries. His picture book, Tata and the Big Bad Bull, was published by CaribbeanReads in 2018 and he is the co-editor of the December 2019 and March 2020 issues of Interviewing the Caribbean Journal (The UWI Press), which are focused on children’s literature and ACEs in the Caribbean.
About the Illustrator
Rachel Moss is a Jamaican illustrator who loves the vibrant energies of the Caribbean. She studied Animation in England at the University of the Creative Arts and has illustrated several books including: I Am a Promise by Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce; African with lyrics by Peter Tosh; Respect with lyrics by Otis Redding; and These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ by Lee Hazlewood. A wife and mum of two, Rachel wants her work to help build strong and healthy families in the Caribbean and across the world.