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Harriet (2019) – Discussion Guide

It’s Your Turn:

  1. Minty/Harriet’s father gives her a small carved figurine when she first runs away. She carries this totem with her throughout all of her travels and it is always the first thing she checks for when she’s had something happen. Do you have a special item you like to always have with you? How does it make you feel? Did someone important give it to you?
    [Caregiver Note: It is common for children to have a ‘security blanket’ such as a stuffed animal, favorite toy, or even literal blanket when they are young. This item offers them something tangible to hold onto when they are frightened, such as in the dark or times when they may not be with their caregiver. Often in foster care, children are forced to leave many belongings behind when they move from one place to the next, so having one special item, even something small, that they are able to keep with them may have been even more important to them, especially if it was given to them by a loved one. Talking about this gives the child the opportunity to share with you what that item may be and any story behind it about why it was important to them or who it came from. If the child doesn’t already have something like this, it may be worth asking them if they would like to have a special totem to keep with them. It could even be something very small like a keychain that can go in their pocket and no one else has to know it’s there.]
  2. Minty has flashback episodes throughout the film which she and other characters call ‘spells’. At one point her husband argues that he needs to run away with her so he can help her if one of these spells happens. Do you ever have similar experiences to Minty? Who/What helps you during/after when they do happen?
    [Caregiver Note: PTSD and flashbacks can be common occurrences in children and…

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About the Author: Jenn Ehlers

Jenn is a central Virginia native who received her BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2012. Since then she has worked for a local mental health agency and the Department of Social Services in various capacities and has been involved in her community’s efforts to create a Trauma Informed Network. Currently Jenn works in vocational rehab and mentors youth in foster care. When she isn’t working, Jenn enjoys writing stories, anything and everything Harry Potter, and spending time with her niece and nephew.


**Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its review to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.

Written by
Co-founder and Program Director of Transfiguring Adoption. Darren is a graduate of Illinois State University where he studied fine art. He offers foster and adoptive parents over a decade of experience in parenting foster and adoptive children, as well as his introductory to counseling training. Darren enjoys visiting amusement parks with his family. darren@transfiguringadoption.com LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/darrenfink Facebook: www.facebook.com/darrenfink

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