We are really excited to be part of the blog tour for the fantastic ‘My Pet Star‘ by Corrinne Averiss and Rosalind Beardshaw. In this exclusive piece, Corrinne reflects on her favourite children’s books which feature goodbyes…
I wanted to write a bit about books with ‘goodbyes’ in. If you’ve read My Pet Star you’ll know that once the little girl nurses her star back to health, he’s well enough to return to his home in the night sky and so, the two friends must say ‘goodbye’ as he takes his final flight from her bedroom window.
A ‘goodbye’ is often a sad event, so as parents keen to see smiles on our children’s faces – it’s likely we won’t deliberately seek out a book which features separation and farewell. Or, we seek it out only at a time when it can help us talk about a very specific or serious loss experienced by the child.
As parents we naturally want to shield our children from sadness but it’s an important topic to touch on if we want to raise resilient future adults. There are now lots of titles on the market which feature loss or difficult goodbyes, but all too often we only seek them out in times of need. This beautiful book from Corrinne Averiss is an excellent addition to a child’s bookshelf as it gently weaves the subject in to a wonderful bedtime story.
A little girl finds a fallen star and gently nurses him back to health. She cleans him, feeds him and takes the time to learn all about her new friend. When he starts to get better she wants him to play but understands that he is a little different to her. He sleeps in the day and isn’t interested in toys but they soon find ways to just enjoy each others company.
We are big fans of this brightly-coloured book which introduces the concept of a metaphorical ‘love umbrella’.
The neon images throughout the story show a diverse group of children encountering situations out in the world which may make them feel sad or uncomfortable – like being afraid of the dark, feeling shy around other children, moving house or starting a new school.
The lovely rhyming text explains that even if the child is on their own, their loved one is always with them ‘under their love umbrella’. They may not always be physically present but they are right there with them in spirit to help them through, because of the strength of their love.
This is a really comforting read and it’s definitely a good one to snuggle up with before bed. There are so many scenarios in which this book could be helpful to a small child – from being worried about being left at nursery for the first time right through to the loss of a loved one.
We discovered this gem in our local library about 18 months ago and Ivy loved it so much that I bought us a copy that same week. The story is beautiful and I’m not ashamed to say that I bawled my eyes out the first time I read it!
This lovely book is about a little girl whose Mummy makes her a set of 5 paper dolls. She gives them names, plays with them constantly and invents a little song for the dolls to sing about their friendship.
In the girl’s vivid imagination the paper dolls do battle with dinosaurs, tigers and crocodiles. They explore magical islands (on the breakfast table) and dance through forests (in the garden).
Together they come through every adventure unscathed. Until one day they encounter a little boy with a pair of scissors and suddenly the dolls are no more.
There’s something incredibly special about Oliver Jeffers. All of his books seem to work on two levels. Children love them because the stories are simple and the illustrations are beautiful – but there is something deep in each story which really resonates with adults too. When I pick up one of his books and read it for the first time, I know that it’s probably going to make me feel a bit weepy and this one affected me more than any of the others.
The story is about a little girl who loves life. She loves to explore, she loves to learn and she sees wonder everywhere she turns. Pictured beside her (but not mentioned in the text) is her grandfather. Then one day she discovers an empty chair in her house, and the grandfather is no longer there.
In the last few months we’ve read some fantastic self-published books and ‘Lauren Koala’ (which was recommended to us by one of our Facebook followers) is one of our faves.
The story is about a little koala called Lauren who loves to make people feel better by giving them a hug. All of the animals in the jungle know that if they feel sad Lauren will be there to comfort them. As a result, it’s a happy, joyful place filled with love.
One day, Lauren Koala hears about a rhino who is very sad because his mummy died when he was little. Determined to help, she sets off on a long journey to find him, cuddling lots of other animals along the way.
I’m breaking my own rules with this book as I confess it isn’t one which I have read with Ivy. It’s a tiny bit old for her just yet (the recommended age range is 3-8) but it’s an important book covering a difficult topic so I am sharing it in the hope it may be helpful to you, our followers.
The Magical Wood was written to help small children deal with the emotions they may feel around bereavement, particularly the death of a close family member.
The wood is a beautiful place which is home to a family of trees. It’s a happy place visited by lots of little animals who love to play and splash in the river. One night there is a terrible storm and when the tree family wake up they discover that the Strongest Tree (one of the oldest trees in the wood) has fallen in the night and is no longer alive. The trees know that their lives have now changed forever and many tears are shed. How can they continue without the Strongest Tree?
Grandad’s Island is one of those books that I think every child should read. It covers the sensitive topic of bereavement but in a really smart and beautiful way which helps the child grasp the concept as best they can at a young age.
The story is about a little a little boy called Syd whose beloved Grandad lives in a house at the bottom of the garden. One day Syd pops around but he can’t find his Grandad anywhere. He searches the house and eventually finds him up in the attic where he has prepared an adventure.
They go through a magical door which takes them to a ship and then sail the oceans until they reach a tropical island. Look closely at the illustrations and you can see that the wonderful treasures on the island echo the pictures and keepsakes you see in Grandad’s house in the first few pages. On this island Grandad is surrounded by all of his favourite things – and he doesn’t need to use his walking stick to get around anymore! They build a shack, swim together in the waterfall and play with all of the exciting animals they find.
Stanley the Spider finds the perfect spot for a new web and sets about weaving himself a home. When it’s finished he decorates it with lovely things which he has collected, like leaves and flowers, buttons and bottle tops. He’s very proud of his new creation but then the rain washes it away.
Stanley is very upset and tries to fix it but then the wind comes along and makes it worse. Just when he thinks all is lost he has an idea. Can he pull it off?
This is a beautifully illustrated book which teaches an importance message about resilience and dealing with loss. Nothing you love can ever truly be lost as you always carry it with you in your heart.
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2smXTO6