The Purple Balloon

 
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Age Range
4+
ISBN
0375841466
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A book for critically ill children
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5.0
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5.0
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0.0
The Purple Balloon is a book that should be available in every childrens hospital and to every child facing a terminal illness (as well as anyone dealing with the impending death of a friend or family member). Written by Caldecott Award winner Chris Raschka, it deals with a difficult topic death in a delicate and reassuring way.

In the frontmatter, this note from Ann Armstrong-Dailey, Founding Director of Childrens Hospice International, explains why the story is titled The Purple Balloon:

When a child becomes aware of his or her pending death and is given the opportunity to draw your feelings, he or she will often draw a blue or purple balloon, released and floating free. Health care professionals have discovered that this is true regardless of a childs cultural or religious background, and researchers believe that it demonstrates the childs innate knowledge that a part of him or her will live forever.


With simple illustrations of balloons with faces, Mr. Raschka tells the story of dying and how, no matter the age of the person, it is important that everyone help out and that the journey can be easier with the help of friends and family. The end includes ways that you can help simple things that can make a big difference.

A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Childrens Hospice International, a nonprofit organization. While I dont personally know much about them, Ive experienced firsthand what Hospice can do for adults (my father died of cancer when I was in high school) and the people who work there are truly amazing.

I recommend this book for anyone of any age struggling with the death (or impending death) of a child. Simple enough to be understood by youngsters of any age, but complex enough for the adults as well.
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