For many, reading provides a place to go when we have to stay where we are. The Memory Box is just that. Suitable for those both young and old, this gift has a story to be told.
— EveryStep Grief & Loss Services
Not long before this Corona-19 crisis, I was given the opportunity to review this Book & Journal. I had no idea how relevant Joanna Rowland’s new journal would soon become.
Then, once the seriousness of the global pandemic hit, our lives, everyone’s lives were thrown into turmoil. It’s easy to forget when you’re living in the bubble of a bedroom commuter community on the Morris-Essex line.
Many an uncomfortable conversation and inconvenient truths were thrust upon us personally as a family. As I suspect are for you as well. Terms like Social Distancing, Shelter-in-place, Quarantine, once abstractions, were now daily realities. As well as scarcity and personal safety.
I’ve also recently, experienced loss. I can personally attest that this book and journal combination has helped me through my preparations and guided me in frank discussions with my own kids about loss and grief.
Joanna Rowland’s best-selling The Memory Box: A Book about Grief has helped thousands of children and Now, with The Memory Book, Rowland has created a beautiful grief journal to help readers put her methods into practice.
I was unfamiliar with Ms. Rowland prior to receiving my editorial complimentary copy for a fair review but I’ve gained a new perspective and appreciation for her skill at creating a safe safe space and plain language to break down complex issues to young people. Her years as an educator shine thoroughly through every chapter and exercise.
Kindergarten teacher Joanna Rowland’s best-selling The Memory Box: A Book about Grief has helped thousands of children and families work through the complex emotions that arise after the loss of a loved one, and has been used and recommended by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, EveryStep Grief & Loss Services’ Amanda the Panda program, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, counselors, and more.
The story of The Memory Box resonates with children suffering from loss, and has grown in popularity year after year.
I will always remember you…
Joanna Rowland is offering another resource to help kids heal while honoring a loved one. With The Memory Book: A Grief Journal for Children and Families, Rowland has created a beautiful grief journal to help readers put her methods into practice.
The Memory Book helps grieving families process their emotions together by remembering their lost loved one and creating their own memory album full of photos and keepsakes of the person they lost.
Rowland discusses the process of writing The Memory Box:
In writing The Memory Box, a book about grief, there were three people and their families that I was thinking about.
In 2014, a relative that was meant to get my first published book Always Mom, Forever Dad (a positive picture book on divorce) lost her father suddenly a month before the book’s publication.
I knew she needed a different type of book, and that’s when I knew I needed to write a picture book on grief. When I first found out her dad had passed away, I saw a photo of her holding her dad’s hand on the beach with the waves coming toward them. That image stayed with me.
Grief is hard. Everyone has his or her journey with it. Allow yourself to grieve however you need to. There is no right or wrong way. There are support groups out there and other resources to help. Grief can be hard to communicate. — Joanna Rowland author
I knew somehow that I wanted to make a nod toward that scene in my writing. At the time, I had no idea what that story was going to be. I tried a couple of different ways to write about grief. My first attempt was a nature poem. But when thinking about how I would help a young child through grief, eventually the idea of a memory box came.
I was also thinking about my childhood friend, Scott, who was also gone too soon. He studied birds and had such a sweet soul. I have some sweet memories growing up with him. He’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
During the two years I spent writing about grief, we lost Marisa to cancer. I had coached her in synchronized swimming for years, and she swam with my niece and older daughters. It was heartbreaking. Marisa was so full of life with the most contagious smile.
All of these people were gone much too soon. These families had lost a father, a son, an only child, a daughter and a sister.
I had to get this story right. I think going through grief and taking my youngest to her first funeral at age six, helped me find a way to talk about death with my youngest and find the heart of the story. It still took me over two years to get the story right.
Grief is hard. Everyone has his or her journey with it. Allow yourself to grieve however you need to. There is no right or wrong way. There are support groups out there and other resources to help. Grief can be hard to communicate.
I hope The Memory Box can be a tool to foster conversations and help keep the memories of your loved ones alive. The book also includes a guide in back that discusses ways to talk to your child about grief.
For anyone struggling with grief, my thoughts are with you.
There is never a good time to have these kinds of conversations with kids. And yes. It’s tough the younger kids are to process these concepts. But this companion set of book & journal is a tool to help open up conversations BEFORE a loss as well as help in the grieving process for kids and adults alike.
Everyone sooner or later will confront these questions as no one is immortal. It’s a healthy way to age appropriately think about these questions and demystifying loss and grief helps us lose our fear of it.
I highly recommend The Memory Book: A Grief Journal for Children and Families by Joanna Rowland and illustrated by Thea Baker (Beaming Books; ISBN: 978-1506457819; Hardcover $17.99; Ages 3-8; 64 pages), a follow up and companion to the bestselling picture book The Memory Box: A Book about Grief (ISBN: 978-1506426723; Hardcover $16.99; Ages 3-8).
Author and illustrator:
Joanna Rowland grew up in Sacramento, California, where she still lives today with her husband and three children. She teaches kindergarten by day and writes picture books at night. In the summer, you’ll find her at the pool coaching synchronized swimming or cozying up with a book. She is the author of The Memory Box: A Book about Grief, The Memory Book: A Grief Journal for Children and Families, and Stay Through the Storm.
Thea Baker grew up in a country town in England. She is currently living in Australia and working internationally as a children’s illustrator. Thea obtained her BA (Hons) Degree in illustration at the prestigious Falmouth University. Her dissertation was on the subject of grief in children’s books.
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Art Credit – MEDIAMASTERS BOOKS