It's Ok To Be Happy

A Child's Journey Through Grief, Book 2

Children - Picture Book
32 Pages
Reviewed on 09/25/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ta’Shay Mason, a Texas native, served sixteen years in the U.S. Army. She currently works as a social worker helping Veterans with mental health and substance use issues. She is also a volunteer group facilitator at a grief counseling center for children whose parent(s) has died.

Ta’Shay started writing to share inspirational stories with others and she began with the most painful event in her life, the death of her father. She was 9 years old when her father died in a car accident and has firsthand experience navigating the myriad of emotions and struggles that accompany such a profound loss. With the help of her family (including her military family), going to therapy, volunteering, and dealing with her emotions, Ta’Shay was finally able to say goodbye and write her first children’s book, But I don’t want to say GOODBYE! (the first book in A Child’s Journey Through Grief Series) which was released November 2020.

Ta’Shay’s hobbies include, hiking, listening to music, reading, writing, travelling, watching movies and cartoons. She also enjoys spending time with her furbaby, Bella (an Old English Bulldog), and her family.

In sharing her message of overcoming grief, Ta’Shay hopes that readers with a similar experience can identify with the story’s family, learn a creative way of memorializing a loved one, that grief is a process and takes time, and that having a healthy and open conversation about death is helpful to that process.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Jazmine is very sad. She misses her Daddy. She misses all the things they used to do together: the books they read, the fun things they did at the park. It's not easy losing a loved one, and Jazmine is having difficulty understanding why her Daddy had to die. None of her friends at school understand, and sometimes Jazmine feels mad when she sees them having fun with their Daddy. Mommy realizes Jazmine is having a difficult time. She arranges for her daughter to attend a grief support group for children. Jazmine's not too sure, but after listening to other children her age talk about losing their Mommy or Daddy, she finds it easier to open up about her feelings.

Ta'Shay Mason's picture book story, It's Ok To Be Happy: A Child's Journey Through Grief, Book 2, is a tender and compassionate presentation of grief and the pain and sorrow losing a loved one leaves behind. The plot follows a little girl, Jazmine, as she shares her feelings from sadness to brief moments of happiness and anger until she meets others facing the same feelings of loss. She can come to terms with her life without her Daddy. It's not easy for Jazmine, but with a positive and loving support group: her Mommy, her Cousin Jimmy and the new friends she makes at the grief support group, Jazmine can resolve her emotions. Grief and loss of a loved one are difficult to discuss for any age group, but this compassionate presentation, complete with beautiful, colorful illustrations, will certainly help young readers dealing with the same issues as Jazmine. As Jazmine learns and shares with young readers, losing a loved one might be difficult to accept, but life still goes on.

Edith Wairimu

It's Ok To Be Happy: A Child's Journey Through Grief, Book 2 by Ta'Shay Mason is a gentle children’s guide for navigating grief and loss. Though sharing her favorite stories about her daddy and watching videos of him with her mother makes her feel better, Jazmine still longs for her daddy. Losing him still feels like a bad dream. It feels unfair that other children have their daddies. Jazmine’s friends try to help but none of them understands what she is feeling. When her mother signs her up for a support group, Jazmine is apprehensive at first. But within the group, she makes lovely friends and finds a community that understands what she is going through. One day, Jazmine has an incredible dream. As she tries to cope with his absence, she remembers how much her daddy loved her.

It's Ok To Be Happy expertly discusses a sensitive topic in ways that children experiencing grief can relate to and understand. I liked that the story includes various suggestions for coping with grief that adults and children will find useful. I also liked that the book explores different aspects and phases of grief. I found Jazmine’s responses to be realistic and the solutions offered to be suitable for each phase of grief she experiences. The reassuring messages in Ta'Shay Mason’s book will offer encouragement to children as they experience different feelings throughout the grief process. It's Ok To Be Happy guides its audience through the difficult process of grief using applicable tools. It is a wonderful companion for anyone seeking actionable strategies for dealing with grief, especially children who have suffered a similar loss.

Barbara Fanson

I dare you to read the book It’s OK to be Happy without a tear. This book will cause you to reflect on your own life and losses, but it may also help bring closure. Author Ta’Shay Mason takes us on a child’s journey through grief while offering coping mechanisms to try. Grief is a difficult topic for all of us, but the author manages to pave a road through the darkness to help acknowledge sadness, anger, guilt, and any other emotions we may be feeling. I highly recommend this book for school and public libraries, but also palliative care homes. Although the book is written from a child’s perspective, adults will benefit from the suggestions offered to cope with the loss of a loved one, including pets.

It’s OK to be Happy is a must-have book for children and adults who might be experiencing a loss due to death, disability, or dementia. Author Ta’Shay Mason expresses a lot of emotion through the life of the main character Jazmine whose father passed suddenly. Recognizing your feelings and acknowledging the grieving process is the first step to feeling better. You will feel better and it’s ok to feel happy, too. I especially love the creative layout on the author’s page. Illustrator Tanya Colton-Cauley provides beautiful, full-page artwork with just about every emotion. It can be comforting to reminisce about someone and share memories with others, but eventually, we need to take a chance and try new things. And it’s okay to have fun and make new memories.

Anelynde Smit

It’s Ok to be Happy by Ta’Shay Mason is a wonderful book for children dealing with grief. It is true that things are not going to be the way they used to be, and that the hole inside feels like it’s never going to fill with happiness again but that is all wrong. As adults, we know that our pain is in the moment, and that tomorrow you will get up again and you have people to take care of. In this case, Jazmine lost her father and was signed up to a support group, which at first made her very upset until she saw some faces she knew. It is much easier to deal with grief if you have someone to listen to. Some kids feel anger, others feel sad, others don’t know how to feel and this book is perfect for them too. It is ok to be happy again; you can remember all the good and celebrate birthdays and special times like you used to, never forgetting that special someone.

The illustrations by Tanya Colton-Cauley were brilliant. I loved the dream scene under the sea where she meets with her father and he gives her advice. I found that to be very special. The faces and bodies were very well done and the attention to detail did not go unmissed. I liked scrolling up and down looking at everything in the background, especially the lava lamp. (We have the same one) I enjoyed the illustrations and how well they tied into the story. It’s Ok to be Happy by Ta’Shay Mason was a reminder that there are going to be good days and bad days. Birthdays will come and go and it’s what you do with it that counts. I recently lost someone and I felt comforted by this book, even at my age. I really think kids who are going through grief should read this and see that they should not feel guilty for being happy after someone has left them. It’s only the beginning of a new start, entrusting others with the departed’s duties and still believing that tomorrow will come and be a better one at that. I loved this book.

Lametra Wallace