Although grief and loss are as much a part of life as eating and breathing, no one wants to face them. But sooner or later we have to, and that’s why it’s so wonderful to have a picture book like The Memory Box: A Book About Grief, to help us through.

Penned by author Joanna Rowland, The Memory Box is filled with soft words, cottony memories, and enough understanding to help any reader experiencing grief and loss feel like they have someone who knows just what they are going through. In this “girl” book, a young girl is thinking out loud as she talks to someone who is no longer with her. The girl tells her lost companion that all she wants is to remember him/her and never forget; she wants to do the things they used to do, go the places they used to go, and even do the things they had planned to do before he/she went away forever. To do this, she turns a box into a memory album, filling it with photos and keepsakes. She even interviews other loved ones and listens as they share their own sweet or funny memories about the loved one.

Ms. Rowland’s prose will have readers teary-eyed one moment, and full of smiles the next. The illustrations, by Thea Baker, are the perfect companion to the prose, because they warm and soothing in a time of trouble. One very clever feature about the book is that the lost loved one is never identified in the prose or in the illustrations, thus leaving room for the grieving child to insert the man, woman, child, brother, sister or grandparent that has been taken away.

Use this book to help your young reader or your entire family process loss and grief. The book even has a companion, The Memory Book: A Grief Journal for Children and Families, to help grieving families document their feelings and compile the memories to remember their loved one by. It should do well in a social studies or language arts curriculum, or as supplemental reading during.

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