By: Jayne Pillemer
Illustrated by: Sheryl Murray
Published: January 18, 2022
Today is Children’s Grief Awareness Day. This day helps us notice the needs of grieving children and ways that we can offer them support through resources like the book I am about to share with you today.
Children, just like adults, grieve differently. Some show their grief in outward ways like crying or through anger. Others are more internal grievers and become silent and remove themselves from others. Plus, there are those that do all of these at different times and everything in between. Grief is hard for adults and when children suffer the loss of someone close to them, it is hard to put into words what the future will look like and how to handle missing the person they loved so much.
There are very few children’s books that handle the idea of grief, especially for younger children. Jayne Pillemer and Sheryl Murray have joined together to share a special story of a child and a loved one. The story isn’t set to the loss of someone specific. It could be a grandparent, parent, sibling, friend, or even a pet. Instead, it focuses on the special moments shared with someone they loved and the memories they have when they visit the park or when it is sunny or rainy.
The child is encouraged to enjoy those memories because that is what will keep them close to their loved one even when they can’t see them or hug them. The idea of being “still mine” is the main theme of the story, which is an important thought. Even if their mom or grandma or favorite uncle has died, they are “still theirs” still their granddaughter or nephew or friend. That doesn’t change.
Dealing with death isn’t easy for anyone, but children have an especially hard time understanding the idea. In the book, lighted paper lanterns are sent up in the sky which is a nice way to honor the loved one and feel a connection when they can no longer be with them.
As a senior in college, I wrote my thesis on children with grief, and nearly 30 years later, it is still hard to find quality picture books for children struggling with their grief. This is one I can heartily recommend. I appreciated the soft colors and how the illustrator chose to showcase various relationships in the story so any child can feel like they are being heard.