by Laurie-Anne Johnson
Illustrated by Kasia Charko
Russell’s mum is a military engineer who builds things, at work and around the house. One snowy day she promises Russell to build a kite with him, as soon as the weather warms up. But the kite doesn’t get made, because Russell’s mum gets sick. She forgets to make supper and help with homework and she spends a lot of time at appointments or on the phone. She sometimes gets so sad and angry it frightens Russell. His schoolwork slides and he feels as though there’s a brick sitting on his chest.
Then someone reaches out—a kind neighbour, one day after Mum explodes in anger and frustration. After that, things start getting better. Russell and his mum start visiting the Family Centre, where Jeni talks to Russell about how he can cope with his feelings about his mum. She assures him that nothing about Mum’s sickness is his fault.
And one windy day, Russell and his mother go to the park and fly the kite they built together.
This story about a parent who becomes ill, and how it affects her child, will deeply touch struggling families and the people who care for them. It is the product of author Laurie-Anne Johnson’s own experience working with military and other families who are coping with mental or physical illness. The story is relevant to all families experiencing a parent’s illness or injury, which affects children’s well-being. The book includes a note to parents and caregivers that offers information for families, helping them understand their situation and what might help.
Illustrator Kasia Charko proved her ability to create intimate family spaces in her art for two previous Sono Nis titles, both by Sylvia Olsen: Which Way Should I Go? and Sebastian Sasquatch. In this book, her joyful style brings a sense of hope to the struggling family of two it depicts.
ILLUSTRATED PICTURE BOOK • 40 pp • 8 x 10
ISBN • 978-1-55039-250-0
softcover • $12.95