I'd been looking forward to reading A Monster Calls even though I knew it wouldn't be a happy read. Its story of creation is even a sad one. Author Siobhan Dowd had the original ideal, but died of cancer before being able to write the novel, so her idea was gifted to Patrick Ness. A wonderful fantasy element of a monster yew tree coupled with raw and real family dynamics, dealing with a horrible situation make this a compelling read indeed.
The Important Things was the only book by Peter Carnavas that I hadn't read yet. I've admired his work for years now and even though I knew it would deal with an 'important' topic, this simple book left me deeply touched. The sensitive and honest way his text and illustrations approach a tough issue is beautiful - his stories always open up interesting conversations with my children, and this one was no different.
A Monster Calls make take a few days to read, The Important Things a few minutes, but through both we are reminded that life is tough and healing is painful - but there is always hope.