Bastian Adventure Series: Spotlight and Giveaway

I am so excited to kick off his week with a guest spotlight on Sofie Berga and her amazing resource for kids. I met Sofie at the Child Life Council Conference and was delighted to see her products in the exhibit hall. She is the author and creator of Bastian Adventure books, a series to help children prepare and cope with medical procedures. We obviously had a lot in common and I wanted to share her passion in helping others with you.

Meet Sofie


Sofie Berga is a pediatric registered nurse, a skilled author, creative thinker and mother of two. She has 16 years of hospital experience working with children during diagnosis, treatment and in critical care.

Sofie was born and educated in Copenhagen, Denmark where she lived the first 26 years of her life. She graduated with a bachelors in nursing from Denmark in 1996 and has since become a Certified Pediatric Nurse.

As a mother of two and coming from the land of H.C. Andersen, Sofie is familiar with the imaginary world of children and loves involving them in the treatment process. She currently lives in California with her 2 kids, Sebastian and Natalia.

In 2000, Sofie started a labor of love with her Bastian Adventure books, named after her son Sebastian. The initial inspiration came after taking her son to a simple chest x-ray when he was 2 years old. “He was strapped down with leather belts to his arms and sandbags to his legs, arching and screaming, all because he didn’t know what was happening.”

Medical procedures such as IVs and x-rays can be quite traumatic for small children, and a story book is the perfect tool for parents to bond with and prepare their 2-8 year old child for upcoming procedures. Just as adults receive preparatory materials for procedures, so should children.

It is my intention to do my best to decrease anxiety and stress in the medical setting. These books were developed for all medical professionals and parents to use, especially when we cannot get the help of a child life specialist.

Bastian's Collage

The Bastian Adventure Series has become well known and used within several Children’s Hospitals and just recently the series won the Mom’s Choice Award for being among the best in family centered products and services.

The story format allows for the books to be used in preparation, as a therapeutic communication tool after the procedures or to read with siblings. They are as true to reality as possible and include a parent advice page with tips to parents on how to best help their child or how the procedure might be different in their case.

“I have found that having the parents read the book while calming and bonding with their child, it lessens the anxiety in both parent and child, gives parents a tool to help their child and makes the procedures less traumatic for all involved.” – Sofie Berga

Sofie now has 5 books published covering topics on preparation of an IV, x-ray, CT scan, cast and surgery. They are available as e-books for the Nook, iPad and Kindle. Four of them can also be purchased in print on her publishing website or Amazon.

Contact Sofie to learn more and be sure to follow Bastian Adventure Series on Facebook


We will be giving away a bundle package of Bastian Adventure books to one lucky winner.

Choose one or more ways to enter:

1. Sign up for email notifications at and leave comment below

2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy and leave a comment on post

3. Facebook: Follow Bastian Adventure Series and leave a comment about the giveaway

4. Twitter: Follow, Like and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy

5. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy, Like and tag a friend in the post

Good Luck! Winner will be chosen 7/2/15

Child Life Helping to Create Smiles

Have you ever thought about using your child life skills in an alternative setting? A place that can have a life changing impact on both the child and the specialist? My dear friend and colleague of mine took that adventure through Operation Smile.

Here is Erin’s Story: 

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Every child deserves a smile. It seems like an obvious statement but for a child born with facial deformities a smile is a big deal. This is the driving force behind Operation Smile. Operation Smile is a volunteer medical organization that travels the world to perform left lip, cleft palate and facial deformities surgery for those who would otherwise be unable to obtain those services. In many countries and cultures there are serious stigmas around facial deformities.

The organization and child life’s role within it was brought to my attention by Cindy Rodriguez, the coordinator of the child life department where I work at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. While I love the department, unit and hospital in which I work I was excited about the opportunity to use my skills to give back. It also was an opportunity for me to hone my core child life skills of therapeutic play, preparation and support minus all the bells and whistles of a modern American hospital.

Almost all missions have a child life specialist as a member of the approximately 75 person team. The first few days are the screening days. Patients are assessed by all facets of the team to see if they are appropriate for surgery. Some families wait at the hospital for days to be seen by the team. So while I did a lot of medical play I also did distraction/normalization play to help reduce the anxiety and make the wait more comfortable.

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There are then about five OR days where my responsibility was to run the playroom, prep the kids for surgery, accompany some of the teens into surgery when they were having a procedure under local anesthetics and use play as distraction post procedurally since pain medication is not readily available.

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There were American and Kenyan high school students on the mission who help run the playroom. Thank goodness for them! We also had local high school students translating for us but I tried to use my tools and play because you never quite sure how things are getting translated.

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At the end of the ten days I was so thankful for the amazing experience Operation Smile provided me. I was fortunate to volunteer with a mainly Kenyan team and learned so much about the culture.

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Can you see yourself volunteering through Operation Smile or a similar organization?

Related Articles:

Reflections from a Heart-Melting Experience

A student finds her passion on a medical mission

Operation Smile