In Harriet’s Heartbroken Heart, by mother-daughter team Lainie and Nika Belcastro, Harriet loses her beloved twin brother Harrison early in life. She learns wise life lessons (that it’s okay to cry, to be angry, but to not be too afraid to live, for example) from various sources, including a rain cloud, lightning, her grandmother and her grandmother’s frightened kitty–all very interesting ways to present these learning moments. Harriet discovers her most important lesson when she returns to the lilac bush she and Harrison used to spend so much time in.
This is a tear-jerker of a tale, with an uplifting and important message of hope for youngsters and their families who have lost loved ones at a young age. The readers and listeners experience the story through the eyes of young sister Harriet, who grapples with a situation and feelings that are tough enough for grown ups to struggle with let alone a little girl. Lainie and Nika have crafted a story that shows us everything Harriet goes through and allows us to experience it with her and better understand what others like her have to cope with. Nika and Lainie’s work together “…helping heal little hearts through their Patching Hearts programs” shines through in this story.
Jack Foster’s illustrations like friendly, fluffy clouds that help cushion a difficult story, but do not hinder the expression of raw thoughts and feelings Harriet has.
Harriet’s Heartbroken Heart is an important read, especially for children who have gone or are going through something similar, as well as children who have friends or family going through a difficult story like this of their own. It’s important to understand, as best we can, what someone in Harriet’s place may be coping with, and that “this is not the end of the story…”.
Please note: I reviewed a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.