A Shelter for Sadness by Anne Booth, illustrated by David Litchfield

A Shelter for Sadness by Anne Booth, illustrated by David Litchfield. Peachtree Publishing, 2021. 9781682633397

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review)  3

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book? This is a tough book to follow and although it’s a picture book, I’m not sure it’s a book for kids. Although the language is soothing and the illustrations luminous and gorgeous (except for “Sadness”, who looks like a scribble), the concept asks that a child be allowed to protect their grief and their right to feel grief by enclosing it in a “shelter”. What does this mean? Should the child not share their grief; not let it out? What are we protecting grief from? I don’t know whether a child would understand what the author means unless they are able to share it with an adult. As an adult reading the book, I felt its comfort and its wisdom but I believe it would be way over the heads of any but the most sophisticated child grievers. 

Anything you didn’t like about it? See above

To whom would you recommend this book?  I would recommend it to adults and adults who are working with kids around grief. Michael Rosen’s Sad Book is by far the more honest and clear-cut book about grieving.

Who should buy this book? Therapists

Where would you shelve it ? A parent’s shelf or teacher shelf

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Pam Watts-Flavin, Head of Children’s Services, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: September 2, 2021

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