Illustrated by Tracy Nishimura Bishop
Publisher: Magination Press (April 2020)
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Sarah misses her big brother Ethan with all her heart. Ever since he died, Mommy and Daddy have been too sad to talk about him. But Sarah wants to say his name and tell stories about him and remember all the good times they had together, like going for piggyback rides and eating eggs “funny side up.” How can she convince her parents that talking about Ethan is the best way to remember him?
Why I wrote this book:
Some people have asked me why I wrote Remembering Ethan, a book so full of sadness. Many years ago, I saw a wish list, compiled by librarians, of children’s books they longed to have on their library shelves. One item on this list was “a book for children about the death of a sibling.” Truthfully, I wish I hadn’t had to write such a book. But the world is full of sorrow, and many children, like Sarah, go through the painful experience of losing a sister or brother. I personally know two families who have been in this situation. The parents told me that one of the hardest things (among many hard things) was having to tell a young child that their sibling had died.
Often, a book can offer comfort, help children express their feelings, and let them know they are not alone. It is my hope that Remembering Ethan will help grieving families begin to heal.
My big brother Ethan was so tall he had to duck his head when he walked through the front door. My big brother Ethan was so handsome, somebody once thought he wad a movie star and asked for his autograph. My big brother Ethan was so strong, he could carry me under one arm and Buttons under the other arm like we were two big bags of groceries.
But that was before Ethan went away. That was before Ethan died…
“A family begins healing following a devastating loss. Sarah lovingly remembers big brother Ethan, who has died. Mommy and Daddy won’t talk or reminisce about him; neither wants to hear his name. Small acts offer solace: saying Ethan’s name aloud, writing his name, drawing his picture. When Sarah hangs the drawing on the refrigerator, Mommy and Daddy, distraught, leave the room. When Sarah angrily shouts that no one else seems to miss or remember Ethan, Mommy and Daddy must finally confront their pain. In doing so, they rehang the drawing in a more prominent location and gently explain that it’s grief that’s made them seem unfeeling….Sarah effects change in the family dynamic that leads to cathartic healing…..Useful psychologist’s tips in the backmatter guide adults in helping children discuss the death of a family member. Gentle, comforting bibliotherapy. (Picture book. 4-8)”