Review: All From a Walnut

If you’re looking for a book to celebrate the first day of spring this weekend, I’ve got a beautiful selection for you today. All From a Walnut by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Felicita Sala is a stunning intergenerational story that tackles grief in a tender and gentle way.

Title: All From a Walnut
Author: Ammi-Joan Paquette
Illustrator: Felicita Sala
Published: March 22, 2022
Publisher: Abrams Books For Young Readers
Format: Picture Book

All From a Walnut tells the story of a young girl and her grandfather as he recounts his journey across an ocean to a new home. Her grandfather tells her of the walnut he brought with him and how he planted it in his backyard. He tells her about the walnut he gave her mother, and shows her the trees side by side. Together they take part in their family’s tradition of planting a walnut for the young girl to care for, which will eventually become a tree that stands with the others.

All From a Walnut touches on several heavy topics like immigration, loss of a grandparent, and grief. I didn’t find the story to be heavy, however. Each topic is handled so delicately and with so much love, that the reader arrives at the end of the story with understanding and a sense of the big picture. In a way, this is a story about the impact our lives have and the legacy we leave behind.

Felicita Sala’s watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil illustrations bring a sense of peace and calmness to every page. They draw the reader in, even when the story gets a bit sad.

All From a Walnut officially releases next week (March 22, 2022), but you can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Abrams Books For Young Readers for sending me a review copy of this beautiful book.

About The Author:

Ammi-Joan Paquette is the author of many books for young readers. After living in many countries all over the world, she has now settled in the Boston area with her family and many towering piles of books. When she looks out of her back windows, all she can see are trees.

About The Illustrator:

Felicita Sala is the self-taught illustrator of several picture books, including Be a Tree! by Maria Gianferrari and The Hideout by Susanna Mattiangeli, as well as her own book of recipes for children, What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street?. She grew up between Italy and Australia and now lives in Rome, Italy, with her family.

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Many Shapes of Clay: A Story of Healing

I am so happy to share Many Shapes of Clay by Kenesha Sneed with you all today. This wonderful picture book is not just about loss, but about healing through the creative process.

Many Shapes of Clay is a modern day fable in which we follow a young girl named Eisha as she works alongside her mother in her studio. Eisha uses clay to make a shape that makes her happy because it reminds of of her father whom she has recently lost. She brings her shape out into her neighborhood, where it shatters into lots of different pieces. When Eisha brings the pieces to her mother, she knows just how to make her shape into something new altogether.

I don’t talk about this often, but I lost my father back in 2008. I was 19 years old, newly married, and soon to move across the country when my entire world shattered like Eisha’s beautiful lemon shape. I know I wasn’t the target picture book audience when my father died, but I wish I had this book then. It took me and my three siblings years to figure out how to even begin healing. The way Many Shapes of Clay highlights that healing process through community and creativity is not only beautiful, but a vital message for those coping with loss.

I also appreciate the fact that Many Shapes of Clay highlights loss instead of death. Given the events of the last year, loss is on a lot of young readers’ minds — whether it’s the loss of a loved one, or losing playdates and in-person classes due to COVID. Because the focus is healing from loss, you can use Many Shapes of Clay as a resource to discuss the loss of our “normal” lives, making this a must have for any little reader’s library.

The illustrations are absolutely stunning. I love how the bold colors match both the powerful message of healing and the gentle atmosphere of the story.

Many Shapes of Clay is out next week (May 4, 2021), but I would recommend preordering it today. You can put your order in just about anywhere books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Kenesha Sneed is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist and the founder of Tactile Matter, a line of stoneware ceramics. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her websites at keneshasneed.com and tactilematter.com.

I want to thank both Kenesha for sharing her story, and Prestel Junior for providing me with a review copy of this stunning book. I’m so grateful to share it with you all today.

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Dear Moon – A Picture Book About Grief and The Loss Of A Friend

Today, I want to talk to you all about a difficult, but necessary book.

Dear Moon by Stephen Wunderli is designed to help children deal with the death of a friend.

Grief can be such a tough emotion for children, but the loss of someone their own age can be incredibly difficult for them to process. I’ve seen a lot of books about grief, but find they generally speak about the loss of a parent or grandparent. This is the first one I’ve seen specifically dedicated to losing a friend.

In this book we meet Max and Ely, who are best friends. Max and Ely are trying to find a way to stop the moon. If tomorrow doesn’t come, Ely won’t have to leave Max to go to the hospital tomorrow. I don’t want to spoil the whole story, but let me just tell you that you will cry.

The beautiful illustrations by Maria Luisa Di Gravio really capture the heartwarming friendship between Max and Ely, making it easy for any child to see themselves in the story.

Dear Moon presents an imaginative metaphor for death that is easy for children to understand. I also really like the way this book embraces the emotions associated with grief, and shows children there is no shame in the sadness we feel when faced with the death of a loved one.

You can pick up a copy of Dear Moon just about anywhere books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links which allow you to support this blog at no additional cost to you. I will receive a small commission from purchases made through these links. This commission is used to maintain this site and bring more content to you.)

I would also like to thank Familius and Workman Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book to review. I’m so glad to know there are book like this out in the world when children need them most.

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