YA Book Central reviews “Cady and the Bear Necklace”

What worked:
The book features modern-day Indians living in Upper Michigan and the importance of preserving their heritage. Cady takes a 20-minute bus ride to attend an Indian school even though a public school is located only minutes from her home. Her father isn’t knowledgeable about their tribe’s history but he thinks it’s important for Cady to learn. Cady is respectful of her Indian past and is open to this learning, an attitude not shared by all young people. She jumps at the chance to interview a friend’s grandmother for a school project, and that’s when the book jumps into the meat of the plot.
The mystery of an old beaded necklace with a bear figure attached consumes Cady’s character. The conflict arises while she’s interviewing John Ray’s grandmother. The woman happily answers all of Cady’s questions until she asks about a photograph that had dropped to the floor. The woman becomes terse and agitated and tells Anna she needs to leave. This severe contrast in moods creates confusion for readers and Cady spends the rest of the book trying to uncover the story behind the necklace. Why won’t anyone talk about it? Readers will learn more about Cady’s family history as well as the tribe’s heritage and customs.
Cady is the main character and the story faces many challenges. Her relationship with her father changes after he remarries and her stepmother seems more like an older sister. Cady loves her baby brother but his presence changes the family dynamics, as he demands constant attention. Also, Cady has feelings for John Ray but she’s not sure how he feels about her. Her principal tells her that finding an eagle’s feather might be a sign from the spirits that she needs to complete a special task or solve a mystery. There are too many clues to be a coincidence and Cady is confused as to why she’s been given the task. The grandmother’s reaction to the photograph and Cady finding a hidden necklace make her determined to understand the history behind it.

What didn’t work as well:
An effective hook in the opening chapters of this short book would help grab readers right away. Sharing Cady’s problems with school, living with a very young stepmother, a new baby brother, and learning about her Indian heritage don’t do it. Once the bear necklace is introduced, the story becomes a mystery and carries the rest of the plot, although the conflict lacks strong emotions and tension.

The Final Verdict:
Trust the power within yourself. The most enjoyable part of the book is the emphasis on Indian heritage and culture. Times are changing and it’s important to honor the history of our ancestors. Resolving the mystery of the necklace feels more like a personal project than an actual conflict, so the story would be improved with more suspense or drama. Overall, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to readers who like Indian storytelling

Read the entire review on YA Book Central

My Grief Is Like the Ocean

SKU 978-1-61599-686-5
$16.95
A Story for Children Who Lost a Parent to Suicide
In stock
1
Product Details
UPC: 978-1-61599-686-5
Brand: Loving Healing Press
Binding: Paperback
Audiobook: Audible, iTunes
Edition: 1st
Author: Jessica Biles & Jillian Kelly-Wavering
Illustrator: Jessica Biles
Pages: 30
Publication Date: 09/01/2022

The death of a parent is heartbreaking, but the issues surrounding suicide can be even more devastating. My Grief is Like the Ocean was written by mental health professionals who wanted to support caregivers during incredibly difficult conversations with children. Using the latest research and clinical guidance, and told from the perspective of a boy who lost his father to suicide, this book will help children to feel supported. When caregivers and children read this book together, they will gain a valuable resource for engaging in honest, informative and heartfelt discussions to help families heal. This book will:

  • Help children and caregivers talk about their grief experiences
  • Normalize and encourage the many emotions a child may feel after a loss due to suicide
  • Promote important dialogue and concrete ways to seek help for mental illness
  • Provide caregivers with ideas for developmentally appropriate coping skills
  • Offer additional resources caregivers can access for further support

"This is the one book all parents and clinicians need to have in their personal library. Adults now have a tool to help children navigate the difficult emotions of abandonment, betrayal, rage, and anger that often bubble up after the suicide of a loved one, but are often suppressed and left unspoken." -- Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, RPT-S, founder and president emeritus, New York Association of Play Therapy, past director of the Association for Play Therapy

"My Grief is Like the Ocean tackles the seldom discussed, emotionally wrenching and very difficult concept of suicide in a way that children can understand...delicately using the metaphor of the ocean to describe how its shifting waves mirror the boy's feelings. The explanations are concise. The opportunity for a child to acknowledge their feelings is boundless." -- Laurie Zelinger, Ph.D., ABPP, RPT-S, board-certified psychologist, author of Please Explain Anxiety to Me

"This book is important and much needed, since the death of a parent by suicide is one of the most complicated and devastating forms of childhood grief. I found the book to be brilliant and written with the foundation of great sensitivity and compassion. I also loved the eloquent use of metaphors throughout. Highly recommended!" -- David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP, author, board-certified clinical psychologist

"My Grief is Like the Ocean addresses the complex and conflicting feelings survivors have when they have lost a loved one to suicide. It is a must-have resource for all therapists that work with children and youth, as well as the surviving family members who may need direction regarding how to support their children as they experience this unique form of grief and loss." -- Theresa Fraser, CYC-P, CPT-S, MA, RP, RCT, CT, trauma, loss, and attachment clinical specialist

Learn more at MyGriefisLiketheOcean.com

From Loving Healing Press www.LHPress.com

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