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For Your Library

Anna’s Corn by Barbara Santucci, illustrated by Lloyd Bloom. Eerdmans Books, 2002.

Anna and her grandfather have a deep bond. One of the things that Anna learns from her grandfather is to listen to the music made by the wind in the dry cornstalks in the fall. Her grandfather gives Anna is given her own kernels of corn to plant in the spring, but when grandfather dies in the winter, Anna is reluctant to part with these special kernels that connect her to her grandfather. Eventually, she does part with them as she plants them and tends the growing plants. When fall returns and the cornstalks dry, she listens for the music and finds the song she shared with her grandfather. The connections with the changing of seasons and the warm and expressive illustrations add to the poignancy and depth of the story.

Finding My Way: Healing and Transformation through Loss and Grief by John M. Schneider, Seasons Press, 1994.

Several years ago I was searching for a new book to use in a social work graduate elective on loss and grief. The book that I used first had great information and was quite comprehensive, but it felt dry and difficult to access. I needed a book which was broad in its outlook, that could incorporate losses other than death losses, but also that had enough spirit or soul to engage both the class readings and discussion. Finding My Way is such a book. Writing in a personal yet inclusive way, Scheider invites the reader on a journey through the challenges of dealing with loss. Honest about the difficulties, he is also honest about the potential for growth and transformation. The author’s guiding construct of grief as a process of discovery of what is lost, what is left and what is possible has both breadth and depth. His presentation of coping—in both its fight and flight styles—as limiting the full awareness of loss is insightful and therapeutically significant. All in all, the book has much to offer while it rings true for grieving people, giving new insights while reminding us of that which we grieving people may already know but lack the words to express. It has been a very useful book to provide a foundation for thinking of loss, grief and the human experience.

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