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My Yellow Balloon: Children and Grief #CRHGG14

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What do you do when a loved one dies and you have young children? Death is a hard concept for adults to understand let alone explaining it to kids.

I’ve seen books that were written about children and grief before and they were okay but My Yellow Balloon by Tiffany Papageorge blows them all out of the water.

If you’ve ever lost a balloon as a child you will remember the heartache when that beloved balloon floats away. The author uses this as a way to explain death. It’s more than just the simple explanation you are probably imagining (as did I before I read the book.)

Children and Grief

The writing is magical and pulls you right in. I haven’t lost a close family member recently but reading the book almost had me in tears.

“Then one day in one second everything changed.”

That line right there hit me. That’s what it is like for real. Even if you’ve known that the death was coming, it still changes everything in one second. Before this part in the book, the boy is getting and enjoying his balloon and developing a strong attachment to it. He loves his balloon and looks forward to spending more time with it.

One day while playing his yellow balloon floats away and he tries in vain to catch it but it’s too high for him. His mom suggests she will buy him a new toy.

“No! All I want is my yellow balloon. Get it back, Please! I’ll do anything if you get it back!” “I wish I could.”

By this point in the book, I’m feeling very sad for Joey, even the illustrations are heartbreaking. Not only is the boy sad but the illustrations have turned from bright and colourful to dark colours.

“Joey felt angry. He felt confused. He felts so very sad.”

I’m glad the book says the word angry. Anger is a natural part of grieving and pretending you aren’t angry or making someone feel bad because they are angry is not going to help, it’s only going to cause more hurt. It’s normal to be angry when someone dies and children need to know that.

“Then one day he was sad most of the time instead of all of the time. As time passed, he was sad a lot of the time instead of most of the time. Then the day came that Joey felt sad only some of the time.”

This is exactly what it is like in real life. The author hit the nail right on the head. She understands death and grieving. Shortly after this part, Joey starts to feel happy thoughts when he remembers his balloon and the illustrations start growing brighter again.

“Wherever I am, wherever I go, you are a part of me and I am a part of you. We’re a part of each other forever and ever.”

I will be hanging onto this book for that dreaded day when we lose someone. I hope it doesn’t come for a long, long time. But if it does, I’ll be ready.

My Yellow Balloon
Minoan Moon Publishing (2014)
Ages 4-9
48 pages
Buy The Book (affiliate link)

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Mom of five, Girl Guide leader, Blogger, Social Media Enthusiast, Knowledge Seeker, Canadian.

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