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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Drug Prevention Education Programs for Elementary School

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The Courage to Speak® Drug Prevention Education Programs and Curriculum for Elementary School (grades 4-6) is an evidence based program that teaches students age appropriate social and emotional skills on living a healthy lifestyle, how and why to avoid drugs, communication and decision making strategies, and how to identify and avoid risky behaviors. The program incorporates the book Sunny’s Story, a tale of family love and tragedy told through the eyes, ears, and mind of Sunny, the pet beagle, as a tool for the program.


drug prevention education programs for elementary schoolThe reading of Sunny’s Story is followed by an 9-lesson user friendly curriculum developed by teams of experts in the drug prevention field. The lessons support children in avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, taught by classroom teachers trained by the Courage to Speak® Foundation. Students take part in skill and asset building activities through:

  • Creative writing
  • Art
  • Journaling
  • Group Discussion
  • Scientific Demonstration

A recent Yale University evaluation reported among the key findings, that the Program increased:

  • Knowledge and perceptions of harm regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
  • Parent-child communication about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
  • Coping strategies and assets to avoid use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs

Given the cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation for schools, this study demonstrates the program’s effectiveness at positively changing attitudes and behavior for students in grades 4th– 6th regarding substance abuse.

Madison School 6th Grade Class Yearbook (Bridgeport, CT):

6th Grade Class Favorite Book: Sunny’s Story

A Favorite Lesson: When we read Sunny’s Story … -Brenda

Best Book I Read: Sunny’s Story -Derek 

drug prevention book

Sunny’s Story (written by Ginger Katz), is a drug prevention book told from the perspective of Sunny , the family beagle, and it tells of joyful times and sad times and how his young master’s life was needlessly lost to addiction. Sunny’s Story opens a dialogue around drug use and is read by people of all ages, in schools and homes nationwide and is part of the Courage to Speak® Drug Prevention Programs and Curriculum.

“This book is an important and unique addition to the list of preventative tools so necessary for children in today’s world. Sunny’s Story masterfully opens a dialogue and introduces complex issues to a young audience. Teachers, parents and children will benefit from the dialogue.”  Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, Professor of Practice and Associate Dean, Harvard School of Public Health

“Sunny’s story is a perfect way to introduce the sensitive topic of substance abuse to children in elementary, middle, and high school. It engages the students at the outset and keeps their attention throughout.”   Dominic Splendorio, Health Educator

“Educators and parents need to be as strong in voice as Sunny is in the story. This story has to be told, and it will save lives.”  David Hay, Brookside Elementary School Principal

Courage to Speak Drug Prevention Education Programs for grades 4-12 are available nationwide.

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