If the child in your life has lost a beloved grandparent or other loved one, Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan will help them process that loss.
MacLachlan has a gift for expressing emotion in strong simple words, and actions of her characters. Sarah, Plain and Tall is an award-winning example of her gift. I think Kindred Souls is even more powerful.
Ten-year-old Jake loves his grandpa, whom he calls Billy. They spend all their time together, especially in the summer when school is out. Every day they go for a walk together around the farm, and every day they have the same conversation.
Until one day, a dog shows up. Lucy adopts Billy, and Billy asks Jake to make him a sod house – just like the one he grew up in on the farm.
Jake isn’t sure he wants to do it, but after his family volunteers to help him, he builds the sod house as a gift for Billy.
Sprinkled throughout the book are hints of the end: Billy’s death. Jake is very sad, but also glad that he was able to help Billy by giving him the sod house.
I included Kindred Souls in the Read-Aloud category, but I’m not sure if I could even read the book aloud. Reading it to myself, I sobbed at the end of the book. But they were good tears – sad and happy – and this book is worth every one.
Recommended for ages 7 and up.