Heart Uplifted

An illustrated Christian Book for Kids Overcoming Loss and Grief

Children - Christian
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 05/30/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

I must have been about 8 at the time: a close childhood friend suddenly disappeared from my life. I learned later that he died of leukemia, but I never understood why or where he’d gone. I was sad and missed him, but in the 1960s, there was no outlet to help young people deal with grief. In Debbie Austin’s Heart Uplifted, Ellie shares her story of grief. She’s a woodland fairy; her name means "beloved" and she definitely is loved. But she’s lost her home and someone she loves in a storm that tore through the woods. She is burdened with grief and wonders what her purpose is in life. “I am wondering what this life is all about,” she cries. She knows that the one she loves is in heaven, but she needs them with her and that makes her sad. She is told: “When you lose someone you love, so many things can change./ You long for them to be with you each and every day.” Grief is a difficult journey, but with God’s love and guidance, we can find a way.

Debbie Austin’s picture book, Heart Uplifted, provides young readers with a caring look at the difficult issue of grief. The story is told like a fantasy, with the main character being a fairy. It’s written in rhyming verse, giving it a lyrical lilt that will soothe the young reader. The language is simple to help young readers improve their reading skills. The illustrations are superb: bright, bold, colorful, and full of life. Young readers will be entranced by the story and learn, as I finally did, that losing a loved one is a part of life, albeit a difficult part to be sure. The author used powerful messages from the Bible, strengthening the Christian faith in young readers. Love, faith, and the power of helping others helped Ellie through her trauma and loss, and it’ll help young readers, too.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Heart Uplifted by Debbie Austin is 'An illustrated Christian Book for Kids Overcoming Loss and Grief.' Ellie is a woodland fairy, and big storms have destroyed her enchanted forest. She is heartbroken, but she wants to restore things and bring peace to the forest once more. Along the way, she learns much about how faith can ease her pain and how good it feels to help others. Come join Ellie and her friends as they navigate the difficulties ahead of them and as they work together and transform their beautiful forest back to how it should be, all with God’s help.

Heart Uplifted by Debbie Austin is an amazing story that teaches young readers about the power of faith. The illustrations are stunning, almost 3D, and they jump out at you on every page, bringing the story to life before your eyes. This is a story about how heartbreak doesn’t have to be the end, about putting things right and lifting yourself up with the help of others, and by helping others to overcome their difficulties. If your kids are struggling with something or with their emotions, this is the perfect book for them to read. It will help them see that there is always an answer and that having faith will help them turn things around. It’s about facing adversity in life, overcoming it, and believing in God. This a book that all kids will love, especially those who have suffered loss or tragedy in their young lives. Highly recommended reading for all children, and it may even help non-believers find some faith.

Alex Ndirangu

Heart Uplifted: An Illustrated Christian Book for Kids Overcoming Loss and Grief by Debbie Austin is a lyrical and soothing picture book ideal for children as well as adults who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Here, we meet Ellie, a woodland fairy who lost a loved one when a massive night storm hit her home. The loss left her heart aching so much. But maybe you can help! In a stunningly illustrated tour, Ellie leads us through her home and all that she adores as she goes through the woods in search of her enchanted friends. But she's far too small to fix everything that has been destroyed or taken down all on her own. Will you join the quest to help her find the way so she won't be alone?

Heart Uplifted reminds us that it's okay to be angry and sad, and it tenderly helps to explore the emotions that come with a loss. Debbie Austin's economic use of words allows the reader to reflect and draw connections to their situation. Her capture of the face of grief and the very engulfing nature of sadness will resonate with anyone who has suffered grief recently or has borne it for years. The descriptions paint a clear picture of the woodland, and with the help of sensory art, you can almost hear the waterfall from across the mountain trails, sense the misty spray dancing into the air, and feel the canopy light warm your face. The illustrations are as peaceful and tranquil as they are evocative and comforting. Readers, young and old alike, will find them a marvel. The rich atmospheric prose is unlike any I've come across in a long time. I am so grateful I experienced it together with my seven-year-old. We took turns at it (I did help with the big words), and he really enjoyed finding and counting the little forest dwellers lurking in the background. Heart Uplifted is an intriguing and deeply moving depiction of how nature is a gift from above that can truly soothe an aching heart. God always makes a way!