GRIEF IS AN ELEPHANT
By: Tamara Ellis Smith
Illustrated by: Nancy Whitesides
Published: October 24, 2023
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Grief is heavy, heavy as an elephant when it first hits. There can’t be a great loss without great love. So, when someone leaves our life, they don’t leave our hearts. Grief can be a tough emotion for kids to manage and understand but this new children’s book handles this topic delicately and in a way that kids can visualize and understand.
From the heaviness of an elephant when grief first hits to the stillness of a deer to the quietness of a fox, and the curiousness of a mouse, grief slowly becomes lighter and easier to talk about. Finally, the grief lightens after a time until it becomes as small as a firefly and you’ll be able to remember your loved one with a bit of wonder.
It can be so difficult to explain loss to a child especially when as adults, we are also hurting. Smith’s simple explanations combined with Whitesides’s calming watercolored illustrations allow both adults and kids to grieve together and share their feelings or just sit in the quiet space until the heaviness lightens.
Tamara Ellis Smith earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Richmond, Vermont, with her family. You can visit her website, HERE.
Nancy Whitesides is an author and self-taught illustrator specializing in digital and traditional techniques, including watercolor and gouache. Born and raised in the Philippines, she now lives in California. You can visit her website, HERE.