Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The important things by Peter Carnavas

Helping young children cope with the death of a loved one, particularly a parent, is never easy.  Reading and sharing picture books and novels about losing a loved one can help, but too often those stories come across as fake or condescending.  The important things is a real treasure, a book that appeals for lots of different reasons.

Christopher and his mother have a strong relationship, with Christopher's mother almost seeming like superwoman with all the different things that she does - watering the garden, cooking breakfast, painting the house, building things out of blocks - all because Christopher's father has died.  One day his mother cleans up the small, old, and unimportant things that had belonged to his father and packs them into a box which they take to a second-hand store in the city.  Over the next few days and week the things begin to reappear - and one night Chrisopher's mother finds out why.

This is a charming book that is lovely to share, even with children who have not lost a loved one.  It neatly sidesteps the usual pitfalls of being too emotional, or too much "it will be alright", or "we know exactly how you feel".  I loved this book and hope that it will bring comfort to children who have lost someone dear to them.

If you liked this book then try:
  • The sunshine cat by Miriam Moss & illustrated by Lisa Flather
  • Always and forever by Alan Durant & illustrated by Debi Gliori
  • Old Hu-Hu by Kyle Mewburn & illustrated by Rachel Driscoll
  • The grandad tree by Trish Cooke & illustrated by Sharon Wilson
Reviewed by Brilla

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