Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Spider Sparrow by Dick King-Smith

This beautiful and simple story touched my heart.  The boy in the story is an abandoned child left to a shepherd and his wife who have wanted children for many years. They love this small boy who they quickly realize is not going to be like other children.  They raise him and repeat over and over that they hope their son will be happy.  I loved the story because for most parents we just want our children to be happy no matter their circumstances.  As a parent I care very little if my child is the best at something and my concern is for their growth and development, whatever that level might be.  In this story, the parents help Spider reach his full potential and they are satisfied with the moments they have with their unique son. 

The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

This is a wonderful story that I found in a neighbor’s free library. (If you don’t know what a free library is, google it and then put one outside your house.)  This story is about a boy whose mother passes away from cancer. His dad, drowning in his own grief cannot cope with the pain of losing his wife and the sorrow that his child is feeling. The dad teaches his son that crying will not bring back his mom so it is unnecessary.  The boy in the story, Rob, decides that he will store all his emotions in a mental suitcase and not take them out because according to his dad that will do no good.  Rob meets Sistine who lets all her emotions out in the extreme.  Eventually these two with the help of a real tiger find a way to temper both the holding and release of emotions. 

This story dropped into my lap at a perfect moment. My children and I are experiencing our own grief. My husband committed suicide on Oct. 21, 2014 and we will never be the same. We each carry grief with us but unlike the father in the story, I have encouraged my children to release their emotions. It takes time to allow this release but as every article in our suitcase is released our lives begin to change and we move forward.  Always the love and hurt from our loss will be a part of our story but it doesn’t have to hold us back.  This analogy is good for children grieving because they will recognize themselves and their grieving adult in the story.  Grieving is difficult work.  This book would most definitely open the door for conversations and if grief hasn’t hit your family yet, would open the door to how to help others struggling through their own grief. I like Sistine in this story because she forces Rob to face his pain.