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A Shelter for Sadness

Written by Anne Booth

Illustrated by David Litchfield

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A Shelter for Sadness Review

Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 5+ readers Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

A poignant and heart-warming picture book exploring the importance of making space and time for our own griefs, small or large

Children are experiencing sadness to a far greater degree than is usual but how can they best manage that and how can they describe it? Anne Booth’s gentle text explores how a little boy creates a shelter for his sadness giving it a place where it can take on the many different shapes and moods it may arrive in. Having a safe place where he can engage with the sadness helps the boy to deal with the wide range of moods it may release in him. It also helps him to prepare for a time when he and the sadness may no longer need a shelter but can step out together into a better world. Inspired by the words of Holocaust survivor Etty Hillesum, A Shelter for Sadness is rich in emotion all of which is beautifully realised in David Litchfield’s illustrations. 


We have more books on this theme in our collection, Books to Explain Death to Children & Help them Grieve.


Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

Other Info

Anne Booth was inspired to write this book by the words of Etty Hillesum, a Holocaust victim who wrote: 'Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due, for if everyone bears grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate. But if you do instead reserve most of the space inside you for hatred and thoughts of revenge-from which new sorrows will be born for others-then sorrow will never cease in this world. And if you have given sorrow the space it demands, then you may truly say: life is beautiful and so rich.' (Esther 'Etty' Hillesum (15 Jan 1914 - 30 Nov 1943)

A Shelter for Sadness Synopsis

Sadness has come to live with me and I am building it a shelter. I am building a shelter for my sadness and welcoming it inside.

A small boy creates a shelter for his sadness, a safe space where Sadness is welcome, where it can curl up small, or be as big as it can be, where it can be noisy or quiet, or anything in between. The boy can visit the shelter whenever he needs to, every day, sometimes every hour, and the two of them will cry and talk or just sit, saying nothing. And the boy knows that one day Sadness may come out of the shelter, and together they will look out at the world, and see how beautiful it is.

A poignant and heart-warming picture book exploring the importance of making space and time for our own griefs, small or large, sensitively visualized with David Litchfield's stunning illustration. 

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781800780873
Publication date: 17/02/2022
Publisher: Bonnier Books UK
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781787417212
Publication date: 21/01/2021
Publisher: Templar Publishing
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781800780873
Publication date: 17th February 2022
Author: Anne Booth
Illustrator: David Litchfield
Publisher: Bonnier Books UK
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 40 pages
Suitable for: 5+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Personal Social Health Economic , Death / Bereavement
Collections: 40 Children's Books to Inspire Empathy,

About Anne Booth

Anne Booth lives in Kent and has always wanted to bea children’s writer, but on the way to becoming one has worked in many jobs. Anne lives in a lovely village with her husband and four children– and the children's grandfather across the road. They have two hens called Poppy and Anastasia and two dogs called Timmy and Ben. Anne loves tea and once won a Blue Peter badge for writing a poem about two mice in a bucket of rice. Despite this, she ...

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