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Special thanks to author, Kelly Louise Jarris, for sharing her personal story about the losses of her sister and father; the inspirations she admired and reasons for writing Imagine Our Special Place. Our hearts are with you x
Imagine Our Special Place stems from spending time with my sister and dad during their grim cancer diagnoses.
At the time, my sister and I had young children and struggled to explain what was happening.
As parents, we want to keep our children and their innocence for as long as possible. I knew I needed to write a book that would communicate with kids, but not scare them, and create an imaginative and personal place that both adults and children would relate to.
Topics of loss and grief are almost taboo conversations with kids. We want them to grow and not have to deal with adult issues.
Creating the book was intended to facilitate a positive thought process that could hopefully support a child through grief and loss, and the confusion that comes with it.
The book shows siblings sitting on clouds eating fairy bread above the hospital, which mirrors a moment from my time with my sister eating breakfast one morning in hospital and having a chat.
The golden yellow sun represents a moment I had with my dad; simply taking him out into the sun in a wheelchair when he was unable to get up.
Not long before, we had shared an amazing, memorable family day at the beach where we could tell he was loving the simple things that day.
Going to my imaginative place has helped me move forward. There is a huge hole missing in our family dynamic and things have certainly changed. Losing two strong, loved personalities has been hard on all of us. Writing for me has helped.
At the beginning of the process, I knew I wanted to find an illustrator that would work with me and understand the importance of my story. Sandunika’s soft illustrations were perfect for my book. Each page has a little character that Sophie carries around with her and it can be seen in each Illustration. I called the bunny ‘Hope’, for obvious reasons. One thing we have in times like these is hope and so it was only fair that the character has a name that resembles that moment in time for me.
I love how books can get kids’ imaginations flowing…
We do it as adults. Christmas is my favourite time of the year. It sparks imagination in adults and kids. We don’t even know we are doing it half the time.
Putting a tree up or decorating a window to make a child smile is important and so is
imagining a special place from time to time.
Article by Kelly Louise Jarris
Visit Kelly at her website: Kelly Louise Jarris Books | Australian Children’s Book Author (kljbooks.com)
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