The Heavy Bag


One Girl’s Journey Through Grief

By: Sarah Surgey

Illustrated by: Larisa Ivankovic

Published: April 1, 2024

Publisher: Cardinal Rule Press


For more Cardinal Rule Press titles, be sure to visit their bookshelf.

Enid’s grandpa has died and she is very sad. Enid filled her backpack with the special things she and her grandpa had shared like a telescope, a wooden boat, some biscuits she made for him, and more. All these things made her bag heavy. With each step her legs grew wobbly and her bag got heavier.

Along the way, Enid came across some friends who offered to lighten her load. As she decided to let them hold the things in her bag, she felt lighter. The metaphor of this heavy bag is such a great example of how someone feels after losing someone they love.

The Heavy Bag Pagespread

Grief is a process and the author shares the Five Stages of Grief at the end of the book. It’s hard to grieve alone; no matter who you are missing, sharing your feelings with someone is nice. This is such an important skill for kids to learn early. Even if they haven’t lost a loved one to death, maybe there has been a move and they said goodbye to a best friend, or maybe there has been a divorce or separation, it is important for kids (and adults) to learn how to handle those heavy feelings. And maybe someday, they’ll be able to take the weight off for someone else.

I appreciate this story so much as someone walking through grief right now. The load can be heavy and it’s natural to want to hold on to all of it yourself, but by sharing stories, enjoying the memories, and knowing it’s okay to miss that person, those feelings of sadness won’t weigh you down as much.

The author shares tips and discussion items to talk to your kids about before, during, and after reading the book. She also includes an activity to try while reading this book. I love the color scheme of the illustrations using blues and yellows and the simple sketches mixed with watercolors. This is a great book to have on hand for sad moments.

Click HERE for Downloadable Activities

Check out the book trailer:

“During the pandemic, there was a lot of talk about grief and one friend commented how heavy it all felt. This, in an instant, took me back to my childhood when I lost my grandpa. In that moment, I knew that I had to write a book for children that I wish I had had.”

-Sarah Surgey

Sarah Surgey is not just an author; she is a storyteller, creator, and a member of the SCBWI. Her books have gained recognition for initiating conversations and promoting emotional literacy. Sarah’s works can be found proudly displayed in major and indie bookstores across the UK, Europe, and beyond.

With over 14 languages in print, Sarah Surgey’s books have touched the hearts of readers worldwide, thanks to her wonderful foreign publishers. Her commitment to crafting stories that resonate with diverse audiences ensures that there’s a book for everyone.

Larisa Ivanković is a freelance illustrator who presents her work under the name Little Witch Factory illustrations. While appreciating various illustrating styles, children’s illustrations hold a special place in her heart, as they keep her optimistic, sincere, and creative. Larisa enjoys bringing stories to life from different authors, considering it a creation of new worlds. Larisa believes that through vibrant colors and engaging stories, children’s imaginations and intelligence can be nurtured.

To purchase a copy of THE HEAVY BAG, click HERE.

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

Check out my review policy, HERE.

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