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3 April 2020 MOM’S SWEATER by Jayde Perkin, Eerdmans, April 2020, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-8028-5544-2


“All things must pass

None of life’s strings can last

So, I must be on my way

And face another day”

-- George Harrison (1943-2001)


“The speed could make it feel unreal. A person who enjoyed dinner in Manhattan before attending a Broadway show exactly one month ago could today be sick, mourning a family member, out of a job, or all of the above.”

-- NYT, “Ex-Wife Sick. Daughter Sick. 3 Friends Dead. Everyone Knows Someone.” (4/2/2020)


“A dark space began to follow me around. 

I found it hard to concentrate at school.

The sounds and voices around me were distant and floaty

My body ached, like I’d been swimming for days; how could I get to shore?

Dad told me this feeling is normal.

It’s called grief. He was swimming too. We were grieving together.

The teachers and my friends at school were all really kind…

so I couldn’t understand why I still felt so alone.

Sometimes I even felt angry that my friends had moms who picked them up from school.”


In recent days, I’ve been checking Facebook for updates on old high school friends back on Long Island. Just in one family, two sisters are now recovering from the coronavirus, one sister is in the hospital, and a brother with symptoms just tested positive. Their 90-year-old mother is sick too.


As I’m writing, there have been more than 7,000 coronavirus deaths in the US. By the time you read this, there will be hundreds or thousands more. Estimates of what is to come are mind-boggling and heartbreaking. There are going to be many young people needing help, coping with the loss of parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, or favorite celebrities. 


MOM’S SWEATER is an excellent picture book addition to the bibliotherapeutic reads for young people who are coping with loss and grief, and for those who need to understand what their peers are going through.


After her mother has died of an illness, the main character in MOM’S SWEATER begins wearing her mother’s favorite sweater.  At first, it actually smells like her mother. The sweater is quite large on her but we, nevertheless, see the girl engaging in her daily activities while wearing it. 


Eventually, the girl’s dad washes the sweater, and the girl stops wearing it constantly. The father offers an analogy to explain the process:  


“Dad says the grief is like Mom’s sweater. The sweater stays the same size, but I will eventually grow into it.” 


There are many books out there for young people that deal with death and dying. The manner in which MOM’S SWEATER addresses the grieving process makes this one a valuable addition.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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