Emily and Ben, with the help of their father, work through their grief after their mother dies from cancer.
Emily and Ben struggle with all the emotions that follow a devastating loss. Emily shows signs of depression, even snapping at 7-year-old Ben, who is having his own struggles. It’s Emily’s 10th birthday, and she is angry that her mother is not there to celebrate. Emily’s father calmly responds to the mood swings and emotions that his children are experiencing, gently reminding them that the memories they have of their mother will never die. He tries to explain the well-meaning comments of friends and neighbors, responds calmly to his children’s many questions, and tries to help both kids understand the complicated emotions their friends might be feeling. “Some kids might be scared and confused. They might worry that what happened to Mom will happen to someone they love.” Children facing the challenging year following the death of a parent will not feel so alone knowing that Ben, Emily and their father get through it. Occasional full-page portraits show this strong family working together.
The strength of this lengthy, overtly didactic story is that it gives teachers and surviving parents a working vocabulary to use with grieving children and will help when they need to be nudged to talk. (Fiction/bibliotherapy. 9 & up)