Two mental health experts have teamed up to create a children’s book with great therapeutic value for kids and families scarred by suicide. My Grief is Like the Ocean (Loving Healing Press, 2022) by Jessica Biles and Jillian Kelly-Wavering is a story for children who lost a parent to suicide; but it’s also a book for all families.
The book starts with a note to caregivers and sharing some helpful resources before letting the main character – a boy – tell his story of learning about his father’s death by suicide. Grief and confusion over what happened to his father and why, the boy feels his life battling amidst waves of grief surrounding it like a boat in a stormy ocean. Each page of the book moves the grieving boy’s journey with a question or thought relating grief and depression. As he starts getting answers from his loved ones and trusted sources, life starts returning to normal.
While the language and style of writing is impeccable, Jessica’s illustrations give the story the visual power to convey the meanings and let young readers see what grief of ocean means. Each page of the book is illustrated and complements the story in words with the visual story.
Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, RPT-S, founder and president emeritus, New York Association of Play Therapy, recommends My Grief is Like the Ocean as the book all parents and clinicians need to have in their personal library. In only 30 pages, this book achieves a lot with a difficult topic made easy and friendly for young hearts that need to heal with love and care from the trauma of losing a parent to suicide.
It won’t be exaggeration to call My Grief is Like the Ocean a potentially life-saving book for kids who are exposed to overwhelming grief at a young age. It’s a must-read for all families.