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For Your Library

When Your Baby Dies Through Miscarriage or Stillbirth by Louis A. Gamino and Ann Taylor Cooney, Augsburg Fortress, , 2002.

This is a small book, only 48 pages and slight in size, but one with much good information for families dealing with this special kind of loss and the grief it brings. Both authors experienced an infant death and write with great sensitivity and comfort. For Louis Gamino, it was his son who was diagnosed before birth with a cardiac condition that was incompatible with life. For Ann Cooney, it was the unexpected death of a younger sister at birth for then ten-year-old Ann. Special attention is given to the sometimes varying grief needs of mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings. Issues of spirituality are touched upon and both authors write from the Christian tradition. Descriptions of various emotional responses for families, practical suggestions such as naming the baby, and memorial ideas are included. A comforting and insightful resource for parents in this deeply painful and often misunderstood type of loss.

Always My Brother by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Phyllis Pollema-Cahill, Tilbury House, , 2009.

Becky has a brother, John, with whom she shares laughs and love. When they practice soccer together, Becky is the scorer and John is the goalie. After John dies (no reason given-could be any reason), Becky struggles to feel normal and gradually begins to feel some relief in her grief. Soccer season returns and Becky feels ambivalent-can she play without her brother? Should she? Eventually she decides to play again and be a goalie like her brother. As she and her parents walk to the field for her first game since John's death, Becky shows her parents how she and John used to walk together, hands not touching but their shadows holding hands.

The story is straightforward and well-told from the perspective of a grieving sibling. The watercolor illustrations are comforting, nicely fitting and detailed in ways that complement the words. A good choice for elementary children who have experienced the death of a brother or sister.

The Mourning News - February 2011

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