Sunny’s Story

A drug prevention book written by a mother who lost her son to a drug overdose from the viewpoint of the family beagle, Sunny. It's a great learning tool for kids, parents, teachers, and others.

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Educational Programs & Curriculum

Learn more about Courage to Speak® substance use prevention education programs for Elementary, Middle, and High School students.

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The Courage to Speak® Foundation’s Curriculum for After School Programs is based on the book Sunny’s Story. This innovative after school program targets the 4th through 8th grade. This program is adapted from the scientifically proven Courage to Speak® Drug Prevention Curriculum for Grades 4-7. After reading Sunny’s Story, students take part in art and creative writing activities that support children in avoiding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.


Targeting children of all ages and parents, Sunny’s Story tells the story of joyful and sad times, and of how a dog’s best friend was needlessly lost. Sunny’s Story is a compelling read for children, teenagers, parents, grandparents and teachers. Through this universal story of love, compassion, caring and understanding, Ms. Katz has brought new life to her message of empowering youth to be drug free. The family dog and narrator, Sunny, is a keen and intelligent observer of damage done by alcohol and other drug use to his master, Ian. He tells a heart-warming, but tragic story that will make readers, young and old, think twice about choices being made every day.

Learn more about Sunny’s Story

History of the Drug Prevention Curricula

“Mom, I want to get help.” Ian had decided that he was going to go to rehab the next morning. Those were some of his last spoken words to her. That night, Ian’s dog, Sunny, climbed four flights of stairs to try and wake Ginger, to let her know that something was terribly wrong with Ian. Sunny’s message was undelivered. Ian’s words and promise to get help in the morning rocked Ginger into a deep sleep. It was the best night’s sleep she’d had since first receiving the call that Ian was using heroin. Never did she think Ian would go downstairs and do the drug one more time. He did not have a second chance.

The Drug Prevention Book

Through the years, as Ginger recalled that moment over and over, she realized that if Sunny could talk, he would have had a lot to say. Sunny’s undelivered message tugged at Ginger. Sunny had been trying to tell her something important that night- he wanted and needed her help. In 2004, 8 years after Ian’s death, Ginger decided she would write a drug prevention book about Ian’s life and loss from Sunny’s perspective. The family beagle tells the story.

Sunny’s Story has inspired thousands of children all over the country to vow “Not to do drugs.” It is part of The Courage to Speak® Drug Prevention Program at every level and is read at dinner tables across the country.

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