Monday, November 9, 2009

Review/Giveaway: Always My Brother

Esmé's Mommy here, reviewing Esmé's book...

Always My Brother is written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Phyllis Pollema-Cahill. A beautiful hardcover, 32-page book, it is geared towards children in grades 3-6. Listed price is $16.95.

Here's what the publisher has to say about the book: "Becky and her brother John were best buddies, telling jokes, caring for their dog Toby, and playing soccer. John was always there to cheer her up and help her out—until he died. Becky wishes everything could go back to the way it was. When she is surprised and feels guilty about enjoying a friend's birthday party, her mom wraps reassuring arms around her and says, "Don't you think he'd want you to laugh, even now?" She gradually realizes that she can still enjoy the things that they used to do together and that the memories of John continue to make him part of their family. Always My Brother is a sensitive, realistic story about the process of grief, acceptance, and recovery. Phyllis Pollema-Cahill's lovely illustrations bring readers right into the heart of Becky's family as they struggle to move forward."

Mommy's Notes

The author wrote this book in part for her daughter as she dealt with the death of her son, and you can feel the first-hand knowledge as you read. You can read the story behind the story at Jean Reagan's website.

One of the things I appreciate most about this book is its diplomatic approach in dealing not so much with what happens to a person after he dies, but with what happens to the family that is left behind.

I'm a Christian and believe in resurrection and eternal life, yet many books on death leave me uncomfortable because they don't match my beliefs of life after death. This book doesn't go there at all. It would be perfect to give to a grieving family regardless of their religious background.

This book lets children know it's okay to cry. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to not know what to say. And others won't know what to say, either. The death of a sibling hurts. It hurts each person in the family.

It's also okay to laugh and have fun, too, when the time is right. It's okay to move on with life. But as Becky learns, her brother will always have an impact on her life, even though he's gone. He will always be her brother.

The soft watercolor illustrations tie in and add to the storyline perfectly.

Esmé was quite happy to let me read through the book with her, though she didn't really understand the subject matter. Fortunately, the death of a sibling is not something she's experienced, and and the book is written for an older audience. So she doesn't have much to say about it just yet. But it's nice to have on the shelf for a time when we need to deal with the topic of death more thoroughly.

For more information about the book, visit Tilbury House. There is also a helpful Teachers Take Note section, useful for anyone, in what to say and how to respond to children who have lost siblings.

Thanks to Sarah McGinnis and Tilbury House for the review copy of this book.

Giveaway

As this is a stop on the official tour for this book, leave a comment HERE for a chance to win! The publisher will draw 7 lucky winners from all of those who leave comments on the participating tour posts (Nov.1-13) to win one of the following prizes:
  • A copy of Always My Brother signed by author Jean Reagan (5 available)*
  • A set of 10 winter notecards with art by illustrator Phyllis Pollema-Cahill (2 available)
*Winners are welcome to designate a grief center, school, or library to receive their signed copy in their place.

All winners will be announced after the tour. US/Canada addresses only, please.

Twitter Prize

There's a Twitter prize, too! Everyone who tweets about the tour using the hashtag #AlwaysTour from November 1-13 will be entered to win a set of three children's books from Tilbury House — your choice! Winners will be announced after the tour, US/Canada addresses only, please.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Click here to see the entire Blog Hop List....

30 comments:

ShEiLa said...

I think that grief is something anyone could learn more on how to cope when it happens.

It is especially sad when a child has to figure it all out.

When my Mother died... my oldest daughter ended up in respiratory distress that involved an ambulance ride and a trip to the ER. Stress can be hard to tackle when you lose a loved one... no matter your age.

I also believe in life after death and hope to be reunited with my loved ones that have gone on before me.

ToOdLeS.

Jennifer said...

I hope my daughter's never experience this and if I win, I would donate this to my church library to share with our GriefShare program. (Thanks for that idea!)

Ticia said...

I'm praying my children won't need this book, but we may need it sometime soon, we have sick great-grandparents and friends.

Healthy & Happy said...

Sounds like a great book for kids having to deal with death in the family. One of my little friends here has asked lots of questions as our nephew also did long ago...

jeanreagan said...

Thanks so much for hosting ALWAYS MY BROTHER! Getting my book into the hands of children who need it (and the adults who care for them) is my deepest desire. Thanks for helping to get the word out.
Jean Reagan

MoziEsmé said...

"What a wonderful book on grief. Would love to win it to read to my kids when they're older." --Leri on FB

wmmahaney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wmmahaney said...

This would be a great book for my son. With my Dad just passing away in September, dealing with a death in the family has been very difficult.
wmmahaney(at)att(dot)net

Julie said...

I wish I had had this book when my dad/my father in law passed for my children

aunteegem@yahoo.com

mverno said...

this book has alot of value mverno@roadrunner.com

Qwill said...

We dealt with the death of a student's parent in my classroom last year.This would have been very helpful.

Qwill said...

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/qwills2cats/status/5623445483

souldolphindream said...

What a wonderful book for children about the grief of losing someone that you care about. My children have been taught about death by listening to my mom and I talk about patients that we have lost. I dont think it is something that you should hide from children. this book could also be good for children that who have also lost a pet. Thank so much for letting me know about this book

souldolphindream@aol.com

roxxyroller said...

I would love to win this! Please enter me into the giveaway, thanks!!!!!

roxxyroller(at)hotmail(dot)com

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wendy said...

This is a hard topic for anyone to deal with, especially a child. Well done!

madamerkf at aol dot com

Carol EL said...

This book would be great to have,with 15 grandkids I am sure that they may have to deal with this matter at some time. jelly15301@gmail.com

erma said...

This looks very interesting.
erma.hurtt@sbcglobal.net

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I heart my brother!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I heart my brother!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

Brittany said...

This book sounds like a good way to teach children about such a major and difficult event.

sweetheartofpinkperfection7@yahoo.com

cherdon said...

I would love to win this wonderful book. What better way to help a child deal with the loss of a loved one.

Please enter me. Thanks

cherdon@sympatico.ca

Tiffany819 said...

I would love to have this book. I think death and grief is a subject that doesn't get touched on enough and when someone passes, it is often difficult to deal with. I wish I had something like this when my dad passed. I was young and had no idea how to deal. Thank you.

Tiffanys819 at gmail dot com

susan1215 said...

Sounds like a great book for kids having to deal with death in the family. My kids have experienced a death in the family and it can be hard to talk to them about the subject.

demmi said...

wonderful book please enter me
con5459(at)gmail(dot)com

Bombtastic Belle said...

I think this is a great book to explain death to children.
eod_army_wife04(at)yahoo(dot)com

FDP 4 Life said...

death is a really hard experience, this book may help us get through it!

memetu2 said...

I need a new angle on the grieving process. I remain in mourning for my brother...probably forever.
memetu AT go DOT com

Donna said...

It sounds interesting.
donna444444@yahoo.com

Gianna said...

Please enter me :)