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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Losing a loved one is hard. You can’t imagine what it’ll be like once they’re gone. You can’t imagine not feeling their hugs, not sharing stories on the couch, not laughing at silly things or sharing special songs. It feels like there’s a big hole in your heart and the ache just won’t go away. But, did you know, that the loved one you miss is still with you? Loved ones are always in your heart, watching what you do, enjoying the memories of things you once shared.
Deb Wade’s picture book story, Always in Your Heart: A Picture Book on Coping with Grief and Loss, is a heartwarming, compassionate guide to help young readers deal with the loss of a loved one. The plot begins with the loss and how children first respond with tears and sadness. Then the story becomes more hopeful as the author encourages young readers to cherish their memories. “You don’t have to see them to feel them with you. They’re happy you are finding ways to remember them.” A poignant thought. The language is simple so young readers can follow along and the illustrations are subtle and sweet in their representation of the ideas shared in the text. At the end of the book is an interactive exercise where the young reader can share what they learned in the story and perhaps even share some of their own sad stories about the loss of a loved one. The story is beautifully presented with care and attention to detail.