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… the child has real agency; Sarah effects change in the family dynamic that leads to cathartic healing. The delicate illustrations are expressive and effective. Useful psychologist’s tips in the backmatter guide adults in helping children discuss the death of a family member. Gentle, comforting bibliotherapy.”
“Broaching a difficult but important topic, this heartbreaking story takes on a family’s loss in a delicate and relatable way… the work encourages communication and connection in desperate times…. This is an important work on mental health, for any collection aimed at early childhood audiences.”
“A heartfelt and tender book about a family dealing with the loss of a child…. This book is a great resource for families to help their child deal with grief.”
“Remembering Ethan is a timely story concerning the loss of a loved one and the grief a young child and her parents inevitably experience. It is a valuable contribution to the seemingly limited body of children’s literature on the topic….The warm illustrations throughout this poignant text bring it to life, adding emotion and realism to the contents.”
“I have yet to read a book that deals with a sibling death in this way, and it is incredible.”