Having had to deal with a much loved relative unexpectedly passing away this year, I’ve struggled with my own grief and emotions. William was the only child at the funeral and when I spoke to other people who have children about this subject, many admitted that they didn’t know how to tackle negative thoughts or the subject or grief with their family. One for Sorrow is not a book about death, or even about grief – rather, it’s a book that manages to tackle the concept of feeling different, of having emotions, being overwhelmed, and talking to others. This could well be helpful to both parents and children in any situation that is causing mental distress – whether it’s something as profound as death and grief, or something simpler, like coping with a new school, with changes, friendships and family, or just waking up and feeling sad one day and not really knowing why or what to do about it.
One for Sorrow introduces the concept of having a problem that you can’t see a solution for, and talking to others about it until the problem is solved. The idea that it is the process of seeking something that does in fact provide the solution, told in a way that pre-schoolers up can relate with. My son, as a toddler, is below the age for reading anything at all, but he still enjoys being read to and I am confident this book is going to be read many times over the years and be very helpful to him.
And so the story begins…
Sorrow, a magpie, has lost his Joy and sets out to find her. He seeks help from his friends, talking to Robin, Sparrow and Canary, but still doesn’t find his Joy. It’s only after a wise Owl listens to his problem that he gets the help he needs.
This is a beautifully illustrated, well written tale. It can help with the topic of not understanding where your happiness has gone and feeling down and introduces the idea of feeling overwhelmed. It encourages children to then talk to someone who will listen to their problems and help alleviate the burden.
There are few books like this on the market today – tackling mental health for children directly to the child, in a way that parents can also understand and get involved with. By reading this book with my son in the future, I hope that he feels that we’re working together to help him feel more confident and able to deal with any negative or confusing emotions. Author and illustrator Mr. Gresty has created a story which is simple and easy to follow, in a format and with pictures that will appeal to a wide range of readers from pre-school plus. Even if the child doesn’t really grasp the nuance at first, it’ll be a familiar story that takes on a wider understanding as they develop and can make the connections between the characters in the book and their own thoughts and experiences.
It features an introduction by Jo Brand, who aside from being a comedian is a champion for mental health, having spent over a decade as a psychiatric nurse.
You can purchase One for Sorrow, in hardback here and it really is a good quality print, squared at 21.5cm. It feels solid, with thick pages that are easy to turn and it’ll last many many reads without getting damaged. It’s a real pleasure to handle and read together. If you follow the book on Instagram, you can also get updates as to where the book is stocked and news. I sincerely hope that this is the first of many books by Mr Gresty in my family collection.
Note I received a complimentary copy of this book direct from Mr Gresty for review. I’d like to thank him for his kindness in sharing this book with my readers.