A Kid’s Book Set in a Funeral Home

Last night the middle-grade book club I belong to discussed Sorry For Your Loss by Joanne Levy. Joanne was our guest and her father came to our zoom session as well. Joanne’s book is set in a funeral home and since her Dad, Dan Levy worked in a funeral home for two decades, he was a great source of information for his daughter’s novel.

Evie one of the young protagonists in Sorry For Your Loss lives next door to the funeral home her parents operate. It is a Jewish funeral home and as you read the book you learn about funeral practices that are unique to the Jewish faith. Evie helps out at the funeral home with a whole variety of tasks and thinks that someday she would like to be a funeral director.

She meets Oren a boy her age at the funeral chapel. His parents have both been killed in a tragic accident. Oren has gone selectively mute from shock and Evie sets out to be his friend and help him deal with his grief. One thing she and Oren enjoy doing together is quilling.

An example of quilling by artist Inna Dorman

Quilling? What in the world is quilling? I learned as I read the book that quilling is a kind of paper art where you twist, cut, and shape various colours of paper into different forms and then glue them together to create a picture.

I asked author Joanne Levy if she was a quiller. She said she wasn’t really but in order to write the book she had tried her hand at it. She showed us a beautiful alternate cover she had made for Sorry For Your Loss using quilling techniques.

I also asked her if it had been hard to write about a character like Oren who didn’t speak. She said it was very challenging and she actually decided to let Oren send texts to Evie after a time so they could have at least some sort of dialogue. When she couldn’t stand it any longer that Oren wasn’t speaking she wrote an emotional breakthrough into the plot that had him start talking.

Joanne Levy – photo from her author website

Joanne’s editor Tanya Trafford was also a guest at our book club and she said that she and Joanne had worked together on Sorry For Your Loss for two years. That care and commitment definitely show as you read the book.

You might not think a book set in a funeral home would be a great book for kids but it really is. Death is something that touches everyone’s life including the lives of kids and having a book like Sorry For Your Loss that talks about the topic in an open, informative and plot-driven way is important.

I am the librarian at my church and a couple of years ago, at the request of some parents, I started ordering books for our church library that could act as bridges to open a conversation about death with kids. Sorry For Your Loss will be an excellent addition to that collection.

Other posts…..

Books About Death For Children

Starfish

The Undercover Book List

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