Frank, warm, unflinching, and compassionate—a heartfelt work that explores sorrow and healing.




Survivors describe their grieving processes and how they found strength in the face of death in this volume about spiritual growth.

Ensign (Traveling Spirit: Daily Tools for Your Life’s Journey, 2013) begins her second book with a dedication to all of the lost loved ones whose tales are told in these personal interviews. Her introduction describes how she sought out grieving people, ages 19 to 89, of diverse faiths, secular backgrounds, races, and socio-economic levels. She asked them to share not only their stories, but also what helped them and what they would want others to know about their journeys. Her prologue urges readers to view the healing process as individual “heart knowledge” and includes a tale of loss that will be retold by a different family member later in the volume. Seven chapters with inspirational quotes describe the heartache and shock as well as the guilt, confusion, and secrecy (especially with a suicide or drug overdose) that surrounded the experiences. The author’s themes address the disorientation of sudden accidents, the challenges of caregiving, and the dangers of interrupted grieving—due to personal misconceptions or others’ exhortations to “Get over it.” Conversely, the book examines feelings of peace in fond memories; a sense of a deeper faith, purpose, or transcendence; and the empowerment to make a positive change in the world. Ensign returns to one of her interviewees in a deft epilogue and shares her own tragic loss. Told in the survivors’ own words and laced with the author’s insights, this honest work does not shrink from uncomfortable subjects. The survivors—who include Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Santería practitioners, and New Age believers—differ in their methods but agree that self-care is crucial. Each stresses that a person’s healing comes in its own time. Ensign’s mature and tolerant approach uncovers humor, anger, and disgust that are often self-censored in conversations at the funeral home, gravesite, or memorial service. (Interestingly, even devoutly religious survivors resented the well-meaning “a better place” and “see them again” sentiments.)

Frank, warm, unflinching, and compassionate—a heartfelt work that explores sorrow and healing.

Pub Date: July 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9883320-0-3

Page Count: 300

Publisher: SpiritHawk Life Publications

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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