"World on a String" by Larry Phifer illustrated by Danny Popovici
This one really pulls at the heart strings... "World on a String" is a book about loss that smartly gives a realistic yet uplifting look at the big emotions associated with grief.
This book reminded me of a clip I recently saw of Celine Dion telling the story of how she explained her husband's passing to their children. She used the movie "Up" to make it something they could relate to. This rhyming picture book does the same thing using a big red balloon.
Charlie loved his red balloon, it was his favorite thing. It glowed and spun and made his heart sing. When a storm comes, Charlie loses his red balloon. He then loses his own light as he is filled with sadness. Charlie thinks of his balloon all alone, but soon remembers the brightness of his balloon. He dreams about his balloon being way up high above the clouds holding up the sky amongst an endless world of lost balloons. The balloons are our stars. Charlie remembers how his balloon's light shone even through the darkest of nights as he finds peace.
One thing that remained the same before and after the loss was the love that Charlie has for his balloon. The author, Larry Phifer, used the repetition of "'I love you,' whispered Charlie. 'You're my favorite thing.' And his balloon spun around like the world on a string" at the beginning and very end of this story which stresses that point. I think the "world" being on a "string" is a beautiful metaphor for the fragility of life. The illustrations by Danny Popovici set the tone of this book quite perfectly. "World on a String" is a great addition to your bookshelf for teaching your child coping skills even if they have not yet experienced loss. It can also be a thoughtful gift for a family with children who recently lost a loved one or pet.
The message of this book is that no good thing is ever lost.