siblings: 2 Articles

Coping with Grief and Loss: An Interview Remembering Ethan’s Author

Magination Press recently interviewed author Lesléa Newman, about her experience writing Remembering Ethan, a book about how a family copes with grief and loss. Remembering Ethan was illustrated by Tracy Bishop. Children reading the book may realize that they are not the only ones who have ever lost a sibling and there is comfort in that. Magination Press: You are a beloved and award-winning writer who sometimes tackles tough or groundbreaking—even sometimes controversial—topics in your books for children. How do you find your topics?  Lesléa Newman: There is no lack of topics, considering the world in which we live is full of joy and sorrow. I look around and wait for something to tug at my heart. MP: What inspired you to write Remembering Ethan? LN: I was inspired by three things: There was a list, composed  by librarians, of topics that weren’t being covered in picture books. Death of a sibling was one of those topics.  I have a friend whose very young daughter died. She said the hardest thing, among many hard things, was telling her son that his sister wasn’t coming home from the hospital. The character Sarah was inspired by Judy Shepard, who works tirelessly to make sure her son Matthew, who was murdered in 1998, will never be forgotten. MP: What is Remembering Ethan about? LN: The book is about grief and how one family unites to remember and mourn a tremendous loss. MP:  What have reader responses been?  LN:  Tears. Lots and lots of tears. MP:  What was unexpected about the writing process? LN:  I didn’t expect the character of Ethan, who died before the book begins, to come alive as much as he did on the page. MP:  How do you see Remembering Ethan being useful to kids? LN:  I think the book can comfort a child going through the same situation. Children reading the book may realize that they are not the only ones who have ever lost a sibling and there is comfort in that.  MP:  What did the illustrator bring to the story that brought depth or unexpected insights into your story? LN:  The illustrator, Tracy Bishop, did such a beautiful job! I especially appreciate how Sarah is wearing Ethan’s watch throughout the story. That keeps him close to her. I can almost hear the ticking of the watch as similar to the beating of a heart. MP:  Do you have a favorite part of Remembering Ethan or was there a section that was especially challenging to write? LN:  Handling Ethan’s death was particularly difficult. I spent a long time thinking about the way he died, and then decided not to be specific about that. My favorite part of the book is the next to last page when the family is all sitting together, remembering, feeling their sadness, and offering each other comfort. MP:  Was Remembering Ethan your first book to be vetted by a psychologist? If so, what was that process like for you? LN:  I believe it

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Coping with Grief and Loss: An Interview Remembering Ethan’s Author 2020-07-28T14:25:46-04:00

Magination Press Quick Tip: Supporting Grieving Siblings

November is Worldwide Bereaved Siblings Month Parents of children with serious illnesses face many challenges supporting their child through treatment and navigating the eventual outcome of the illness. If the family has more than one child, the parents also find themselves supporting the siblings as they experience their brother or sister’s illness, and sometimes, their death. The authors of Magination Press’s The Gift of Gerbert’s Feathers, Dr. Meaghann Weaver and Dr. Lori Wiener offer these insights and tips for supporting siblings of seriously ill children: When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, everyone in the family is impacted. It can be especially difficult for brothers and sisters whose pain and suffering can feel invisible compared to what is happening to their ill sibling. Some siblings feel that their own needs, wants, and desires are not being valued as highly as those of their ill brother or sister. They can struggle trying to balance their love for their family and tremendous worry for their sibling with feelings of jealousy, anger, or frustration. Sometimes siblings secretly worry that they caused the illness due to something they thought, said, or did. It is important that the sibling is reassured that the sickness is not their fault. Sometimes siblings feel guilty for being healthy when their brother or sister is sick. Others may feel guilty for being jealous of the attention their sick sibling is getting from parents, grandparents, neighbors, and others. These feelings are often magnified if their siblings die from disease. They should be reassured that these are normal emotions, and that it’s not their fault. To support a child who has lost a brother or sister, try these ideas: Allow children to speak openly and ask questions about their loss Provide children with age-appropriate information about understandable and healthy emotional reactions to grief Facilitate a consistent routine including school attendance and home routines like regular family meals and bedtime Encourage children to maintain a relationship with their sibling through the practice of continuing bonds such as  talking about memories, looking at pictures, creating a memory box, or visiting favorite shared places These tips are partially excerpted from the Guide for Parents & Caregivers in Magination Press Book, The Gift of Gerbert’s Feathers, by Meaghann Weaver, MD, MPH, FAAP, and Lori Wiener, PhD, DCSW, to be published in February 2020.

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Magination Press Quick Tip: Supporting Grieving Siblings 2020-03-23T14:17:58-04:00