It’s Children’s Mental Health Week and I wanted to share a most befitting new picture book. A Shelter for Sadness by Anne Booth and David Litchfield is a remarkable and poignant story about living with sadness.
When Sadness comes to live with a young boy, he decides to build a shelter for it. Anne was inspired to write this book by the words of Esther (Etty) Hillesum, a Holocaust victim who wrote: “Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due, for if everyone bears grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate.”
Throughout the book, we see how the boy allows Sadness to use the shelter to do whatever it needs to. Sadness can sit, lie down, be loud, be quiet. The boy spends time with Sadness whenever he needs, and they talk or cry or sometimes say nothing at all. David’s emotive illustrations portray the gentle relationship the boy has with Sadness.
Together, the boy and Sadness, are able to discover the beauty of the world around them, in their own time, when they are ready.
A Shelter for Sadness shows children many different ways sadness can make us feel and behave. It is a book that reminds us that we need to give ourselves time and space to process our feelings. This book has been written and illustrated with love and sensitivity, which makes the reader feel safe – the book itself is a shelter! I think it would be a great help to families working through feelings of sadness, or experiencing grief. Build yourself a shelter for sadness, with a bookcase, and put this book on the shelf!
A Shelter for Sadness was published by Templar Books, 21 January 2021
You can find out more about Anne’s inspiration for the book in a guest post via Book Murmuration.
You can also see a sneak peek at David’s sketchbook for a Shelter for Sadness here via Book Bairn.
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This voluntary review contains my honest opinion.