No Longer Alone

No Longer Alone
Joseph Coelho and Robyn Wilson-Owen
Egmont

My heart really went out to the so-called shy, quiet little girl narrator of this beautiful story.
Actually however, those who’ve called her either of these are wrong; it’s just that due to events that have gone before she just doesn’t feel like talking or being noisy.

Nor does she feel like running around in the park with her siblings;

instead she wants to be alone, even though her loving, understanding Dad encourages her to try and find the “old you, the get-up-and-go you. The loud –and-active you, the happy you, the you, you used to be,”

Dad’s comments open the floodgates  for an outpouring of feelings as his little daughter opens up about the things that worry her, upset her and make her feel alone.

As the two sit together something shifts inside our narrator and things begin to feel a bit different.

Then slowly, slowly she finds that she can be that chatty self with others as well as when she’s alone; and she can play with her sisters again, sharing feelings and imaginings, alone no more.

Joseph’s beautiful heartfelt, poetic telling is full of poignancy and Robyn Wilson-Owen captures the inherent turmoil and tenderness in the tale with her beautifully textured illustrations of a family whose loss is palpable.

Stewart’s Tree

Stewart’s Tree
Cathy Campbell
Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Subtitled ‘A book for Brothers and Sisters When a Baby Dies Shortly after Birth’, this little picture book is intended to help explain sibling loss to young children.

Ellen has been waiting for a new baby – ‘something special’ but her new brother Stewart is very weak and never makes it back home. He’s been ‘lost’ is how her Granny puts it.

Ellen searches all over the house for Stewart even in the washing machine,

wondering perhaps, if he’s gone to the moon in his spaceship.

Her parents then help her to understand the new baby has died and isn’t going to come back.

Together they plant a cherry tree for Stewart, so they will always have a special place to remember him.

The book concludes with a guide to bereavement aimed at adults, written by qualified clinicians; this includes some suggested activities.

Sensitively told and illustrated, with gentle touches of humour, this is a book that one hopes few people will have need of, but it could prove invaluable to those families unfortunate enough to suffer such a bereavement. Schools, nurseries and children’s centres should certainly keep a copy on their shelves.