Friday, November 6, 2009

Blog Tour/Review (with Prizes): Always My Brother

Today we have the honor of being a stop on the blog tour for a wonderful book, Always My Brother, by Jean Reagan (illustrated by Phyllis Pollema-Cahill).

Always My Brother (Hardcover), by Jean Reagan. Becky and her brother John were best friends (and avid soccer players). "But that was all before--before John died." Beautifully illustrated, Always My Brother tells the story of Becky's grief in the ensuing days. It is a thoughtful, honest tale of grief, in language able to be understood by children. "When they left, life went back to normal. Only it wasn't normal at all. At meals, I stared at John's empty chair. When we had his favorite--pizza with pineapple--I felt so sad, I ran from the table. And slammed my door. Hard." "On my first day back at school, my friends looked away. I guess they didn't know what to say. I didn't either." Ultimately, Becky begins to heal. "By the time winter came again, I didn't feel so sad when I saw pictures of John. I even smiled while I looked at the one of us in the tub." One day, she actually laughs again; another day, she manages to sing; and, eventually, she returns to the soccer field. I love that the story does not trivialize the magnitude of grief, anger, and sadness resulting from the death of a close relative, and yet ultimately manages to convey a message of hope about the healing process. Although we all hope that our children stay shielded from grief, I'm glad to know that this book exists. It would be a lovely gift for a child that experiences the loss of a loved one, certainly of a sibling, but also of a parent or grandparent.

Blog Comment Prizes

Tilbury House has offered some prizes in connection with the blog tour.

They will draw 7 lucky winners from all of those who leave comments on the participating tour posts (Nov.1-13) to win one of the following prizes:

- A copy of Always My Brother signed by author Jean Reagan (5 available)*
- A set of 10 winter notecards with art by illustrator Phyllis Pollema-Cahill (2 available)

* Winners are welcome to designate a grief center, school, or library to receive their signed copy in their place.
All winners will be announced after the tour. US/Canada addresses only, please.

Twitter Prize
Everyone that tweets about the tour using the hashtag #AlwaysTour from November 1-13 will be entered to win a set of three children's books from Tilbury House — your choice! Winners will be announced after the tour, US/Canada addresses only, please.

The other dates on the blog tour are:
Nov. 1 — Welcome from Tilbury House

Nov. 2 — Griefcase

Nov. 3 — Author Jean Reagan's website

Nov. 4 — Healing the Grieving Heart

Nov. 5 — Grief Speaks

Nov. 6 — Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile (that's us)

Nov. 7 — heartfeltwords4kids

Nov. 8 — I Did Not Know What to Say

Nov. 9 — Moziesme

Nov. 10 — Anastasia Suen

Nov. 11 – Maw Books

Nov. 12 — Author Emily Wing Smith

Nov. 13 — Bri Meets Books

Discussion Question

Do you know of any other children's books about grief and loss? Did you have to deal with loss at a young age? Would a book like this have been a comfort to you?

Disclosure: I was provided an unbound advance copy of Always My Brother in order to write this review. Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post to will provide us a modest commission through our affiliate relationship with


Christy said...

We have not had to deal with loss of a person, but we did lose our dog last year and that was incredibly difficult for all of us. The book "Dog Heaven" by Cynthia Rylant helped a lot.

MJ said...

I love The Fall of Freddie Leaf by Leo Buscaglia. I read it to my kinder kids. If I win, I'd give this to the guidance counselor at my school.


Heather said...

This would be a great book to have at the library where I work. We don't have enough books about grief for kids.

jeanreagan said...

Thanks so much for hosting my book, ALWAYS MY BROTHER.

By the way, two books I highly recommend for loss of a pet are SAYING GOODBYE TO LULU (dog) and GOODBYE, MOUSIE.

Jean Reagan


This does sound good! --Kate Coombs (Book Aunt)