[Book Review] Of Separation, Coping with Loss and Homelessness

This is a monthly post on 'Book or Web/Mobile Application for Children'. Every 3rd week of the month I will post on a review on books that AJ has read or web/mobile application that he has tried on.

Jan - Sherlock Sam & the Missing Heirloom in Katong
Feb - UpToTen (Boowa & Koala) Online Educational Website for Pre-Schoolers
Mar - Sherlock Sam & the Vanished Robot in Penang
Apr - How To Think Like A Scientist
May - The Rock & The Bird
June - 君伟上小学
July - Young Scientists Reader - Integrated Thematic Science Series
Aug - JJ's Science Adventure: Magnets
Sep - Bangkok Guide For Kids By Kids
Oct - Computer Coding for Kids

[Review & Giveaway]

What went through your mind when you see this painting?

If I tell you that this painting was painted by a 12YO, what would have gone through your mind now?  I went to AJ's school few days ago and I saw that the school was exhibiting their students' painting so I went to take a look too.  There was a painting which left me with a very deep impression.  It was painted by a 12YO (not this painting above, I didn't take a picture of it), beautifully coloured with crayons, but the image caused my heart to sink.  It was a weeping lady (as labelled).  Surely, this little girl (name was shown) must have been going through some hardship or sorrowful period that had caused her to paint that.  If her difficulties are not dealt with, I'm afraid that she might sink into depression or something more serious might happen.

Sensitive issues like parents' separation/divorce, loss of loved ones, fall in one's financial status, etc. are often not properly dealt with at child-level because the adults are too busy handling the grief or mending the broken pieces. These issues are rarely mentioned in children's storybooks too.

If there is any medium that could better help children cope with the emotional roller coaster caused by such events, I guess it would either be books or meaningful shows.  I mean, these things rarely happen, but if they do, reading of books or watching meaningful shows on these issues,  coupled with proper counselling, would be helpful for the children to better understand the difficulties and how they may handle them.

I have the chance to review the Blue Sun series published by the Wild Crane Press recently.  The Blue Sun series is targeted at slightly older readers (9 and above; depending on the child's mental maturity) due to the sensitive topics inside. They may be a little advanced but they sure stirred my heart a lot.  The books give us, as parents, a rare opportunity to share the deeper meaning behind each story with AJ.  Circumstances like separation, loss of loved ones and homelessness are not common for us to even thought of bringing them up. But this series was certainly helpful for us to bring to him more awareness of such issues.  The books are able to help children to confront the fears which they may not have dared to mention to others.

The Two Homes of Alice
This book deals with separation or divorce.  It is about a girl named Alice, whose father left home.  Alice harboured onto a hope, a hope that her father will come back again.  There was nothing else she could do, except to wait.  Finally, her father came back one day to bring her to his new home.  Since then, she had two homes.  Life was not the same as before anymore.  Some days she would stay in her father's home, some days she would stay in her mother's home.  But, she was constantly being assured that both parents love her just as much as ever.

Separation or divorce is not permitted in my faith, unless under very special circumstances as mentioned specifically in the Bible.  So when reading this book with AJ, we have highlighted this point to him.  We have also brought to his attention that people who are not of the same faith as us may choose to end a marriage this way.  It is not an ideal way to solve a problem but some people do think that this is the only way out.  We told him that when separation or divorce happens, not only are the couple hurt, so will their children and the families of both sides.

The Taste of Happiness
This book is about a little boy named Leo who came to realise that his mother had not been smiling for many days.  He wondered what had happened (because he was not told) and was eager to find ways to cheer her up.  Finally, he did something that brought smiles to his mother's face again.

When reading this book with AJ, I set him to think what kind of incident might have happened to cause someone to be so sorrowful for many days.  Certainly, it has to be a major incident.  It could be a loss of someone they loved or sudden loss of financial wealth, or something like that.  I asked him to look carefully at one of the pictures, and we managed to pick up cues on what could have caused the mother to be so sorrowful.

I like the poetic expression of this book

Managing grief requires great care.  What this little boy did was great from his perspective.  He tried very hard to cheer his mom up, I told AJ.  He cared very much for his mom, he loved his mom very much, so he did the extra mile to bring smile to his mom.

But why the mom smiled was not really because of the nice cake her child has baked for her.  It was probably because the mom realised that she should not dwell on the loss at the expense of her motherly duty towards her child.  She was also touched by the love that her son has showered on her and she probably decided to focus on the living than the loss.

The Cardboard Man
This book talks about a homeless man who 'lived' near this boy's home.  This little boy would see him everyday, but he was afraid of him because the homeless man was dirty and smelly.  Then one day he decided to give a little gift to that homeless man, and soon he was no longer afraid of him.

This book teaches empathy, which we are so lacking of these days.  The book gave us an opportunity to discuss with AJ about inequalities in life and how one who is better off could help someone who is not.

The Blue Sun series handled sensitive and complex issues and because of this, I strongly recommend that parents read the books with their children.  By doing so, it will give the parents the opportunities to discuss difficulties in life and how one may handle such situations.  Though all the stories ended with positive affirmation, much in-depth discussion on the flip side of the coin needs to be present (in my opinion).  The books bring a different perspective of life to the children, which I think is important. Life is not a bed of roses, our children must be aware of that.  Parental guidance is strongly encouraged.

If you would like to get hold of these books, here's a great news for you! The publisher of Blue Sun series has kindly offered 3 sets of these books (each set is worth $40) to 3 families. All you have to do is:

1) 'Like' Mylilbookworm in Facebook;
2) 'Like' Wild Crane Press in Facebook; and
3) Tag 2 persons on my post about this giveaway in Mylilbookworm Facebook Fanpage.

Conditions of Giveaway
1) Each family is only entitled to 1 draw;
2) Giveaway is opened to local residents only;
3) Last day of participation is 30th Nov (Sun) 2359;
4) Winners will have to self-collect the books from Wild Crane Press at 33 Ubi Ave 3 #06-37 (Vertex Tower A) S'pore 408868, between 8am to 5pm on weekdays or 8am to 12nn on alternate Saturdays.

You may also like to know that Wild Crane Press is currently having a promotion on their webstore.  There is a storewide sale (10% off total bill) and a further member’s discount of 15%. To be a member, you only need to create an account on their site.

And if you spend more than S$50 in total (nett), Wild Crane Press will also provide free shipping to your local address.  All you need to do is to key in the code ‘WILDCRANEPRESS’ on the order form which summarises the item prices and shipping price.

Books are lovely presents to give this Christmas. So, shop now!  :)


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