Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs
written by: Susan Schaefer Bernardo
illustrated by: Courtenay Fletcher
Copyright: Inner Flower Child Book, 2012
Click here for the hardcover book
Click here for the digital version, available free through 3/20.
This touching tale is a back-and-forth between a child and a beloved adult who are unable to be together. As the child misses their dear one, they are lovingly reminded of all the walls that they can be connected even when they are apart.
"The sun will catch your kiss and use light speed, to forward it right on to me."
"Love is in each sttar twinkling in space and every frostly snowflake licking your face."
"Each grain of sand means I'm in reach..."
The book ends with the a final message of hugs and kisses, telling the precious child "I'll always love you, Little One."
While I think that this book would have been a wonderful read for before (and during) the times Peter and I have been away from the kids, I also think it can be used to explain when someone has passed away. From a librarian's point of view, it was always difficult to find books that worked well to explain how, while death separates us it doesn't mean we can't be together in other ways, for smaller children. I found 2 or 3 that I kept on hand that used common images (like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly for instance) to explain death and leaving, but it wasn't easy to find things that explained and comforted without placating or being too cutesy to really help. And, especially with picture books and the under 6 years old crowd, it's a careful balance.
This book hits that balance. If a parent, grandparent, or sibling dies, it can be hard to explain to a young child that, although this person they love is no longer physically with them, there is still a way to connect: hug a tree and feel your loved one hugging you back, look up at the moon and see the smile of your dear one returned, kisses sliding from heaven down the rainbow. Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs strikes a delicate balance between being a cutesy read and a heartwarming story that both comforts and gives a smile to the little one reading it. Bobby loved it and restarted it (twice) on my phone; I have a feeling that Maya, who often talks about Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander living in heaven, will also enjoy it.
Long story short, I highly recommend this book, for kids under 6, who either are dealing with a separation of some reason (long term like divorce or short term like a business trip or deployment) or for the death of someone close to them.
This review, in similar form, was also posted on Amazon.com, in the product link. No goods (other than the free Kindle download available to everyone through 3/20) was exchanged for this review.