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This excellent picture book deals sensitively and truthfully with the subject of bereavement. When their teacher Miss Evans isn’t well and can’t come to school, her class maker her a get well card, even Alfie Tate who’s nearly always causing trouble. She comes to see their play and though she’s lost her hair and has to use a wheelchair, she smiles all the time. Not long after that, another teacher Mr Davis tells them that Miss Evans has died. It’s alright to feel sad, he says, or angry. The children make remember notes and transfer them onto copper leaves for a copper tree dedicated to Miss Evans. The leaves are bright and beautiful in the sunshine, just like she was. A gentle way of showing how memories remain to comfort and console.
‘The narrative positively and directly addresses the simple needs of young children exploring these feelings of grief and loss for possibly the first time. I loved this book and whole heartedly commend its use especially for those situations when books about ‘Feelings and colours’ are simply not enough. This book is not a panacea but it delivers a very useful tool for grief with children, simply, safely and without trauma. It is also a really good read’ - Revd Dr Paul Fitzpatrick BA MTh PGCE FHEA PhD, Lead Lecturer for Bereavement, Grief and Loss, Cardiff Metropolitan University
When Olivia's teacher, Miss Evans, dies, the children at her school are encouraged to think of everything that reminds them of her. Written with touching sensitivity and sprinkled with light hearted moments, 'The Copper Tree' is about love and legacy and will help children understand that while sadness is an inevitable part of grief, death is not necessarily the end...for what is left behind can be everlasting.
It can be difficult to explain the death of a loved one to a child. A book can provide the ideal opportunity for addressing and exploring issues which are associated with bereavement and an accessible picture book like The Copper Tree is much needed. According to leading childhood bereavement charity, Winston’s Wish, a child is bereaved of a parent every 22 minutes in this country - 24,000 children a year - and many more are affected by the loss of someone close, a sibling, grandparent, other relation, friend or significant person, like a teacher, in their life.
Hilary’s sister-in-law, Caroline, a talented teacher and to whom the book is dedicated, lost a long battle against breast cancer at only 39 years old. The children at her school were aware of her illness and The Copper Tree is based on the relationship she had with them whilst she lived with the disease.
Throughout the writing of the book, Hilary consulted with child bereavement experts and educational professionals to ensure her approach to this difficult subject of grief and loss was met sensitively and constructively. With a balanced view and a strong emphasis on preparation, as well as on the event of death, The Copper Tree takes the reader on a journey through the approach of death, the event of the loss and then the grief and bereavement that follows. Hilary has gone to great lengths to write with understanding, humour and care, so that the children in the book (and those who read it) are safely guided through a difficult and unfamiliar experience. The Copper Tree also serves to help those faced with sudden death for it illustrates that memory, and legacy, can in the long term help with the healing process.
'The Copper Tree gives the clear and unsentimental message that it's quite natural to be sad when someone dies but it also endorses the powerful effects of memory as a means of healing.' Kate Saunders, Children's Author
'A delightful and touching story of life and how we live it, as little people and bigger people, together and on our own. The Copper Tree brings a tear and a smile to my face at the same time' Ger Graus, Chief Executive, The Children's University
Praise for the Copper Tree class series:
"The book gently touches on areas of experience and facts about ageing which may be new or difficult for children, and those who read with them, and encourages thoughtful refletion in a positive and helpful way." Rev Canon Ann Easter. Chaplain to Her Majesty The Queen.
"This book represents a celebration of a child’s right to be heard and for explanations to be tailored to meet their needs. Written in simple language with a gentle nuance of humour and love, Tom’s Sunflower is a teeny triumph." Peter B. Forster, Chartered Counselling Psychologist
"Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley create ground breaking picture books that deal with topical issues in a very sensitive way." Ruth Humphreys, children’s book specialist, librarian and storyteller.
“It is so refreshing for a series of children’s books to cover such challenging social issues in such a sensitive manner, and so beautifully illustrated too.” Lorraine Kelly
“Inspiring” Fiona Phillips
“Charming” Joanna Lumley
“Book of the Week” YOU magazine, Mail on Sunday
“There are lots of important issues raised by this story, all covered gently and sensitively” Juno
“This is a thoughtful story… vibrant and colourful pictures are in tune with the words” Carousel magazine
“Sensitively handled and beautifully produced, this gentle and reassuring text with expressive illustrations will provide help to children facing bereavement in a number of different situations’.
Books for Keeps
"the best collaboration between an author and illustrator I have ever seen." Jo Cumming, former bookbuyer for W H Smith.
“This beautifully illustrated book is aimed at children between the ages of four and seven. It would be a rewarding book to read alongside your child to help them with their understanding of adoption.” Adoption Today Magazine
“Soft pencil and watercolour illustrations create a gentle and comforting atmosphere in which children can explore ideas of love, family and belonging.” Little Parachutes
|Publication date:||10th April 2012|
|Publisher:||Strauss House Productions|
|Suitable for:||5+ readers, 7+ readers|
Hilary Robinson is an award winning radio producer and author of over 50 picture books. Awards include the 2016 Historical Young Quills Award for ‘Flo of the Somme.’ Radio credits include Private Peaceful for BBC Radio 2 and her series for Barry Humphries Forgotten Musical Masterpieces was listed as one of the top 30 artistic triumphs of 2016 by the Telegraph. Extracts from her book 'A Song For Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan' were read on BBC Radio 4. Follow her on Instagram here. Read a Q&A with the author here.More About Hilary Robinson