The Copper Tree
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Author: Hilary Robinson
Illustrator: Mandy Stanley
Publisher: Strauss House Productions
How this book might help: This book approaches the difficult subject of grief with sensitivity and sound judgement. The perfect story for children who have lost a much-loved figure in their life.
The story begins with a class of young children being told that their teacher, Miss Evans, is ill. The class, who obviously love and miss their young and positive teacher, exchange drawings, cards and letters with her. She visits them at school (one illustration shows her in a wheelchair wearing a headscarf covering her bald head). As Miss Evans' illness progresses, her visits dwindle, but the written correspondence continues. One sad day, Mr Banks tells the class that Miss Evans has died, and he sensitively comforts them by encouraging them to talk about how they are feeling and their memories of her. The happy times they spent with Miss Evans, and the many things she taught them to do are written down and attached to a beautiful tree made of copper wire. Miss Evan's positivity, talents and love live on in the hearts of her young class.
Reviewed by: Claire Ward-Dutton
Things we liked about this book: This book is an excellent choice if you want to convey the message that it's quite natural to be sad when someone dies. The characters are solid and real, and the story is touching without being overly sentimental (focussing on realistic events, rather than abstract concepts such as characters 'going to heaven' or 'floating in the sky'). It has been written with great attention to detail and the author consulted child bereavement experts to ensure that the subject of grief and loss was met sensitively and constructively.