Buddy's Candle
by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel
Trafford Publishing

"Let's try to make every day a chocolate ice cream day."

Who better to write a children's book about losing a loved one than a physician, professional writer, and spiritual counselor? Siegel does an exquisite job of helping adults help kids with the subject of the lifecycle. In the book, the boy dreams "...an Angel appeared and whispered, I am a messenger sent here to tell you that death is not the end. It is like a graduation, a commencement, and a new beginning..."

The story centers around a nine-year-old boy, a child perceptive enough to notice his dad’s sad expression and sensitive enough to ask what his dad was thinking. The father describes his memory—the story of his own boyhood fighting leukemia—and how he coped with it by sharing love, hope, and bravery with a beloved pet named Buddy.

The author alludes to the resilience and instincts of children when the father in the story asks his son whether he is ready to hear his story. Readers may infer that there is no particular age but rather a maturity level, assessed by children themselves, as to when these conversations are most helpful. However, the book seems intended for parents to read for insight no matter their child's age or possibly to read to their children directly as a groundwork for expressing feelings and asking questions about life and death. Touchingly presented and accompanied by colorful illustrations full of warmth and heavenly scenes, parents gain perspective on how and when to talk to their children about death, including lessons on the lifecycle, attitude, hope, and peace. This book is extensively deeper and richer in content than its mere thirty-three pages would seem to indicate.

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