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book recs for brother/sister who just went through horrific family tragedy

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There's a family in Michigan with connections to my hometown going through a horrific tragedy.  Eldest brother (19) got messed up on drugs and broke into family's home with a friend intending to kill and steal.  They attacked father with a baseball bat and killed him.  Critically injured the mother and one of the 17 year old brothers.  The other twin 17 year old brother grabbed his 8 year old sister and hid, able to call 9-1-1.  Mother and brother still in hospital.  Other brother and sister buried their father on Wednesday of this past week. 

I'm going to make a donation to their fund, but I also want to send them each a book.  I'm at a loss for something that could give hope and inspiration in such a dark time...characters that could uplift them.  Does anyone have a YA and MG title that might be remotely appropriate?  I know this is a challenging request since I don't know the taste of the readers, but I think sometimes books can help heal the soul.  And these kids are going to need all the healing they can get.

Much appreciated.

-Kellie
#1 - April 28, 2012, 07:55 PM
You're never too old to become younger. - Mae West

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Several years ago, one of my closest friends was murdered leaving his two children orphaned since they lost their mother a few years earlier to cancer. I put out a call for book donations. I didn't specifically ask for "healing" books .. mostly light hearted, funny books. The children and the aunt who has raised them was appreciative.

I think almost a variety .. I'm not sure that there is a "healing" book that would work .. it may not be the right time yet. There is a group that has camps for children who are victims of violence ... I want to say it's part of Compassionate Friends .. but I know that is for people who have lost a child. I know my friends' children went to some sort of camp.

Also, some years ago a family of girls lost their grandmother who was raising them. They were being shuffled off to live with relatives ... and our church presented them with devotional books and journals. If something like this would be suitable for these children, that may be an idea.

I can't remember the specific titles sent to my friends' children. I do remember Lisa Yee sent some.

Also, a few years ago several kind blueboarders helped when I put out a call for books for a writer friend who lost her firefighter husband in the line of duty. These children were very young at the time.

So ... I'm not sure if it's necessary for it to be a book that speaks to the situation. Just some good light hearted, escape books might be a good idea.

Just my two cents. Sometimes you want an escape. Years ago when I had a miscarriage, I didn't want to read books on grief or the loss of a child or anything like that. I asked my friends for gothic romance! I hate romance. I wanted total escape.

So I don't know .. these are just my opinions based on personal experience.

I am sorry to hear of this situation. Thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved.
#2 - April 28, 2012, 09:35 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

CaroleB

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KDuBay,
I'm so sorry.
I think perhaps a journal is a good suggestion. I can't imagine any words in a book would even make since to their traumatized minds and broken hearts at this point or even in the near future.
Bless you for responding to their crisis.
Carole

afterthought-perhaps a book with a stuffed animal attached? Something soft they can hold. Maybe a wordless book that has soothing pictures? Maybe a sketch book? I know you asked for YA/MG suggestions, but may I suggest even picture books. Times like these might be helped with simpler/soothing,,,just something to "look" at books.
I'm at a loss for titles on those.
#3 - April 29, 2012, 06:17 AM
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 06:34 AM by CaroleB »

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Thanks for the ideas/suggestions.  Funny books would be great.  And I think a journal is an excellent idea, as well.  As for the camp idea...I will look into that, too.   


So....escape books...adventure books.  If anyone has specific titles they'd recommend for an 8 year old, I'd appreciate it.  Izzy is into sports like her brother, but is also a girly-girl as far as I can tell.

thanks much. 

-Kellie


#4 - April 29, 2012, 06:39 AM
You're never too old to become younger. - Mae West

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Do a little research into any support/grief groups appropriate for children. Try to get a brochure or information, or if not just type up the web sites and tuck it in with the presents.

I'm a little wacky, but what if you tucked in a night light or small flashlight with a message about there always being hope or light in the darkness. I imagine they both will have nightmares for quite some time.
#5 - April 29, 2012, 07:01 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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Oh, I see the older brother is 17. For some reason I was thinking he was 13. There may be some sort of inspirational book that would work for him, I cannot think of any titles right now. I'd go on Amazon and browse for books on grief .. or about being victims of violence. Or maybe just a good inspirational quote book.

What a unfathomable situation. If possible, make some sort of bookmark or maybe a little card with a magnet on the back to go on the refrigerator .. with a quote and the contact info for grief or victim support groups. They may not be anywhere near ready for that now .. but it will be handy when they are.

#6 - April 29, 2012, 07:10 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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I was a Hospice volunteer for several years, and one of my favorite books on the subject of death is When Bad Things Happen To Good People, by Rabbi Harold Kushner.  He is wise and compassionate, and certainly never claims God's will in any tragedy.  He doesn't preach, but provides insight that helps keep faith (Judeo-Christian) and hope alive in the face of almost unbearable loss.  His style is very readable, a gentle and wise counselor. 

My thoughts and prayers are with this family.
#7 - April 29, 2012, 07:50 AM
Ten Clever Ninjas (picture book, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)
Butterfly Girl (middle grade novel, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)

Twitter: @kidlitSarah

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So many good thoughts here already. I'd like to echo what Lill said. When I was going through a very dark time, all I read was Agatha Christie. I wanted and needed total escape. I couldn't handle anymore pain. Even now, years later, I shy away from movies with a lot of sadness. I just feel like I've had enough for one life.

Each person is different. Perhaps a journal and gift card for them to pick out what they want. The ordinariness of a shopping trip may be a welcome distraction. (Just a thought, if one of the kids is left handed, do not give him a journal with a stiff spine. It will be almost impossible for him to use.)

Although I don't know what the exact answer to your question is, I am glad there are caring people like you to help.

God bless this poor family.

Laurel
#8 - April 29, 2012, 08:44 AM

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For the little girl, maybe check out the thread in this forum on "Completely Non-Scary Chapter Books." :)
#9 - April 29, 2012, 09:23 AM

Michael Rosen's picture book, The Sad Book, might be something to look into. It's one of those picture books meant for everyone, not just little kids. It was written after Rosen lost his son, and in very simple language describes grief and how difficult it is. As I recall, no solutions or preachiness.
#10 - April 29, 2012, 10:11 AM
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Really appreciate the thoughts and recommendations.  The kids don't know me...I used to babysit for their cousins many moons ago...but I just can't imagine their situation and how they'll cope losing their father and seeing their mother and brother severely injured by their brother's hand.

They are strong kids, though...or so it seems.  The brother who called 911 delivered his father eulogy to a crowd of nearly 2,000 (his father worked in the public school system and very active in their community) and publicly asked for forgiveness for his older brother.  Such an inspiration.  (Google "Tanner Cipriano eulogy" and you'll find articles from the Detroit Free Press about it.)

I love the night light idea, too. 

Thanks again for responding.  You know that feeling of just wanting to do more?  That's where I'm at.

-K
#11 - April 29, 2012, 12:36 PM
You're never too old to become younger. - Mae West

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What a terrible tragedy. Praying for them.

I think it's good to have a mix of light-hearted and serious books, devotionals, journals, pens. One author that comes to mind is Francisco X. Stork (for the older children) and Candace Fleming (for the younger one).

Vijaya
#12 - April 30, 2012, 05:50 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
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My 8-year old loved our own Kate Messner's Marty McGuire books -- they're light-hearted, and Marty is adventuresome.

For the 17-year old, it'll be harder.  There aren't many adventuresome teen boy books that don't also have a measure of violence.  But perhaps something like Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card might work, as it's science fiction...and Ender is a sympathetic and caring hero.
#13 - April 30, 2012, 07:10 AM
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Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
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Thank you again for awesome suggestions.  Really appreciate it!  Plan to take list to bookstore tonight.  :)  (And I hear that their mom and brother are making great strides in their recovery.) 
#14 - April 30, 2012, 10:10 AM
You're never too old to become younger. - Mae West

Just wanted to chime in and say that I'm so sorry to hear about this tragedy.  How lovely that you are helping them through books. 

And love the idea of ENDER'S GAME for the older one.  Yes, there's some measure of violence, but there's so much empathy and character in it.  Plus it's total escapism.  It's my standard gift book for boys of all ages. 
#15 - April 30, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Thanks for the update on the mom and brother.  Great to hear good news in the midst of such tragedy.
 :music:
#16 - April 30, 2012, 11:11 AM
Ten Clever Ninjas (picture book, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)
Butterfly Girl (middle grade novel, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)

Twitter: @kidlitSarah

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