Luna's Red Hat
Author: Emmi Smid
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley
DISCLOSURE: Unlike the majority of reviews in this blog, I've neither bought this book nor borrowed it from the library. This is a "galley" copy ebook, supplied by Net Galley. I'm not receiving (nor will I expect to receive or accept) remuneration for this review. The chance to read a new book is often enough reward aplenty!
The author is a bereavement specialist from the Netherlands. She has written this book to help parents talk to children about suicide, to help children understand what happened and that it's no one's fault, especially not theirs, and that life will have to go on without the loved one because death is final.
It's the beginning of spring, and Luna is in the park with her dad and baby brother for a picnic, but she's not feeling very sunny. There's one person missing: her mom. Mom killed herself (perhaps from post-partum depression) and Luna, who is wearing her mother's hat, is very angry that her own mom should voluntarily choose to leave her like that.
Dad honestly tries to understand exactly what's on Luna's mind. He takes her seriously and listens to what she has to say. He doesn't talk down to her or try to belittle what she says or is feeling. He doesn't get too deep or into too much detail. He lets Luna ventilate all she wants, and he comments where he thinks she needs to hear his voice.
Carefully choosing his words, he explains what happened and that sometimes, in a situation like this, there's nothing anyone can do no matter how much they feel they should have done something or known something.
There's a section in back where Dr Fiddelaers-jaspers discusses bereavement where it affects young children and offers sensible and useful advice about what to do. I sincerely hope no one reading this will ever need a book like this, but if you do, or if someone you know might benefit from it, it's there, and I think it's does a great job. The illustrations are suitably child-like and colorful, and the text is brief and simple - easy to understand, easy to read, easy to share with a child.