This week at the Debutante Ball, we are blogging about loss and remembrance. I first learned about loss from books, long before I ever experienced it in my own life. And now, as a parent, I sometimes shy away from reading books to my son that I know are sad.
The older he gets, though (he’ll be 3 this summer), the more I realize that I can’t–and shouldn’t–shield him from all books that dance around the topics of death and loss. I believe that books are an appropriate way for kids to explore those concepts, and the complex feelings that go with them. These are the books that first taught me about loss. I plan to read them to my son when I think he’s ready.
The Velveteen Rabbit. This children’s classic was first published in 1922, but is still a favorite today. I think it remains popular because the message it carries is an important one: that loving someone and being loved is difficult–it will wear you out and make you “loose in the joints and very shabby”–but it is worth it and the only real way to live.
Charlotte’s Web. Oh, Charlotte and Wilbur, how you made me weep. Who doesn’t love a story of unlikely friendship? Here, it’s between a spider and a pig. When Charlotte dies at the end, after spinning messages into her web that save Wilbur from being made into bacon, she demonstrates that acts of kindness and love are remembered even when someone is gone.
Are there books you remember from childhood that taught you about loss?
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