Book Review: The Memory Box: A Book About Grief
Author Joanna RowlandIllustrator
“I’m scared I’ll forget you…”
From the perspective of a young child, Joanna Rowland artfully describes what it is like to remember and grieve a loved one who has died. The child in the story creates a memory box to keep mementos and written memories of the loved one, to help in the grieving process. Heartfelt and comforting, The Memory Box will help children and adults talk about this very difficult topic together. The unique point of view allows the reader to imagine the loss of any they have loved – a friend, family member, or even a pet. A parent guide in the back includes information on helping children manage the complex and difficult emotions they feel when they lose someone they love, as well as suggestions on how to create their own memory box.
The thought of explaining death to my children, related to one of our loved ones brings tears to my eyes. Of course we have talked about animals and insects to explain death, but our children (luckily) haven’t had someone close to them die.
This book begins with the example of a balloon flying away and a child feeling sad that they lost it. Then it compares it to losing a loved one. “Because I’m scared I’ll forget you…” This line in the story is beautiful and timeless to me. That’s what the experience of losing someone comes down to-missing them and worrying we may forget them. The child in the story figures out a way to heal this hurt just a little bit, with a Memory Box. She fills it with mementos from adventures she had with her loved one and looking at these memories in the box make her smile.
The illustrations support the mood of the book. Soft and gray colors for the feelings of loss and sadness. Brighter and bolder colors when mentioned the new memories the little girl is making and the happiness she feels when talking to others about her loved one.
I highly recommend this book to have in the home to help children understand grief and how we can make each day a little brighter when someone we love passes away. There is a section in the back to help caregivers support children while they process the grief.