The Dragonfly Story: Explaining the death of a loved one to children and families by Kelly Owen
|The Dragonfly Story: Explaining the death of a loved one to children and families by Kelly Owen|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Accessible, warm, heartfelt retelling of a traditional fable to help bereaved young children come to terms with their loss, written by a mother who has gone through it.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 24||Date: March 2018|
|Publisher: Ultimate Publications|
|External links: Author's website|
The Owen family were feeling sad. There used to be five of them. There was Mum, Dad and three children: Abi, Jenny and Joe. But then Abi died. Now there were only four of them. Life felt very strange without their sister, and they were all very unhappy.
How does a family cope with the loss of a beloved child and sibling? The Owens go for a picnic in a park they haven't been to since Abi died. And there, Mum tells the story of the waterbug nymphs who live in water and who climb the stems of plants into the sunshine and light and where they turn into dragonflies, never to be seen again by their siblings still below the surface. The Owens agree that something similar has happened to Abi and they are comforted by the thought that she has gone to a place where she can be peaceful and happy.
Oh goodness me but this is a lovely, warm, heartfelt story. It explains death and the concept of heaven in the clearest and kindest of ways and it is genuinely uplifting. Kelly Owen has taken a traditional fable once retold by Doris Stickney - Waterbugs and Dragonflies - and framed it inside the experience of a contemporary family. Her family. Kelly's daughter Abi died very suddenly, aged just 12, in 2013. Abi left two siblings behind and Jenny and Joe found comfort and meaning in the story of young waterbugs becoming joyful dragonflies. But some of the language was outdated and there wasn't an engaging, accessible format to read it in....
... hence this lovely production. Kelly has rewritten the original story in clear and gentle language, framing it in the loss her own family suffered. It touched me to read about the real people as well as the fable and I think this gives The Dragonfly Story the kind of empathetic authenticity you simply couldn't buy. There is a lot of love on every page and you can really feel it as you read. The illustrations by Helen Braid manage to be both soothing and joyful. The colour palette is restrained but contains touches of brightness - especially on the faces of the dragonflies - that catch the eye and reassure the reader that all will be well.
The core messages here are about acceptance of death as a natural process that comes to us all and finding peace in that. This story also introduces the concept of heaven so will be appropriate for all families with a religious tradition of any denomination or any kind of spiritual conviction. It's compassionate and accessible and gentle and encouraging.
I think The Dragonfly Story is a wonderful resource and I wish Kelly Owen well in her quest to bring it to as many bereaved families who need it. Abi would be proud.
You can read more about Kelly Owen here.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dragonfly Story: Explaining the death of a loved one to children and families by Kelly Owen at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dragonfly Story: Explaining the death of a loved one to children and families by Kelly Owen at Amazon.com.
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