We are seeing days like no other these days. It’s got to be confusing, scary, and altogether awful for our kids, who may be experiencing loss and who see news about loss and grief all over the news. Kindergarten teacher and author Joanna Rowland has created a quietly soothing picture book and companion workbook that may provide some comfort to you and the little ones during this time.
The Memory Box: A Book About Grief, by Joanna Rowland/Illustrated by Thea Baker, (Sept. 2017, Beaming Books), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1-5064-2672-3
Written as a letter from a child to someone in the child’s life who has passed, The Memory Book is a child’s-eye view of grief and loss. Opening with the analogy of losing a balloon – “I can always get another balloon. / But I can never have another you. / I miss you.” – the book goes through questions and wishes, and the understanding that some days are okay, and some days are hard, that come to kids when experiencing a loss. The narrator then creates a box of memories, and a journal, so that she will never forget her loved one. A grief consultant writes an end note about helping children process grief, and provides some help in answering some tough questions kids ask us. Mixed media illustrations provide texture and warmth, and the colors are calming and soft, and the overall look and feel of the book feels like we have opened the child’s own Memory Box and Memory Book.
The Memory Box is a Midwest Book Award Finalist, a Mom’s Choice Award winner, and a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award winner.
The Memory Book, by Joanna Rowland/Illustrated by Thea Baker, (Jan. 2020, Beaming Books), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-5064-5781-9
A companion to The Memory Box, The Memory Book is a journal for children and families going through their grief. Beginning with a note on how to approach journaling, the book continues with writing prompts similar to the narrator’s dialogue in The Memory Box, with space for photos, memories, and artwork. Families are encouraged to talk about their memories and feelings, with journaling space available to capture these moments. Not meant to be filled up at once, The Memory Book allows an entire family to capture their feelings, emotions, and memories in one place over the course of time, as they come up. Color illustrations from The Memory Box and newer illustrations throughout help ease readers and writers into prompts and discussion, and the book is set up, journal-style, with plenty of writing and drawing space.
Sensitive and soothing, The Memory Box and The Memory Book are good choices to have on hand for kids and families dealing with grief.