The book is dedicated to Menefy’s grandson Connor who died in 2005 at 10 days old.
I’m not sure how you can review such a personal book dealing with the death of a baby; it is told from the point of view of Connor’s brother who is looking back at the age of eight to the time of his brother’s death a few years before.
We see the grief of the family through the eyes of a child who has a very authentic voice. Although fully involved in the family’s grieving process, he has a child’s interest in other things happening around him. Looking back at that time, Connor’s brother feels a sadness for his loss, but is also able to remember the closeness of family and the love shown to him by his parents and wider whanau. Now, with two other siblings, he can also see that even as life continues, he can remember the time he had with his brother and be glad of it.
This hardback book is sensitively illustrated by Malene Laugesen complimenting the text with large double page illustrations.
This is a thoughtful book that would help both children and adults in the grieving process. It would also be a valuable addition to any library.
Title: I had a Brother
Author: Diana Menefy
Illustrator: Malene Laugesen
Publisher: One Tree House
Reviewer: Anabel McPhee, Librarian, The Catlins Area School, South Otago
How highly are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Age range: 3 plus
You can buy this book here
Diana Menefy is available to visit schools through the Writers in Schools programme