Monday, 15 July 2013

Teary Tales

When it comes to movies and books, it takes quite a bit to make me cry. The last time I remember crying in a movie was Return to Oz when I was seven (no, I didn't even cry during The Notebook), and I honestly can't remember the last time I cried reading a book - probably in high school. But this week, I've read two books that made me cry. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness and the picture book The Important Things, by Peter Carnavas. It's interesting I read these in the same week - very different books for different audiences but both deal with the pain of grief and healing, mothers and son and absent fathers.

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.

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