May 24, 2018


One Wave at a Time: A Story About Grief and Healing by Holly Thompson and Ashley Crowley takes a lyrical, colorful, and thoughtful look at the effects of depression on a child who has lost a parent.

After Kai's father passes away, Kai experiences waves of emotions, one after the other. Sometimes he feels sad, sometimes angry, and other times he feels nothing, just flatness. The waves seem to come in no particular order or time frame. Every day is new, and sometimes those waves even mesh together to make him sad and angry, or fearful and guilty. But as Kai and his family adjust to life without his dad, Kai learns to give himself time and space to feel his feelings, not to tamp them down and feel frustrated with the lack of forward momentum.

As someone who hasn't interacted a ton with illustrator Crowley's books, I am once again drawn in by his use of blues (the other book of his that I've read is seriously ALL blue!). Crowley has proven himself a master of the hue, and his subtle use of blue blurs in the spots Kai used to see his father (the dinner table, on the edges of the soccer field) never feels cold or threatening, but meaningful. We understand what Kai feels when he looks over at the table and doesn't see his father there, but even without his father physically present, that sadness (the blue blur) provides at the very least a sense of stability for Kai—he knows that these empty spots will never truly be empty because his memories will exist in his father's place, and though the waves may die down soon, he will never be without his father's spirit.

One Wave at a Time: A Story About Grief and Healing published from Albert Whitman in April.

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