A new children’s book, Perfectly Imperfect Family, helps explain the death of a child to their living siblings, just in time for Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness Month.
Ever since my daughter was born, I’ve been looking for a children’s book that allows her to see a family like hers–one with a sibling who died before they were born–and shows how they honor that baby’s short life and weave that baby into the fabric of their family. While there are some beautiful books available about pregnancy, infant, and child loss, as well as the babies who are born after, I’ve never felt a deep connection with one until Perfectly Imperfect Family arrived in my mailbox last week.
Perfectly Imperfect Family is told from the perspective of a little boy who was born after the death of his older sister, Ruthie Lou.
Throughout the book, he describes his family and how they include his sister in their daily lives, on special occasions and holidays, as well as how they celebrate on her birthday.
With precious illustrations, Perfectly Imperfect Family is written in simple and concrete language with which even the youngest lap readers will connect. It also provides language to toddlers and preschoolers to describe their family. Perfectly Imperfect Family really captures the experience of family life after loss and the rituals we create to remember our babies who died.
I appreciate that this book avoids religious metaphors, including “angel baby” and “rainbow baby,” making it accessible to the wider loss community.
The first time I sat down to read this book, I sobbed.
I connected deeply to the book and was immediately grateful that it existed at the perfect time to share with my daughter. At three and a half years old, she’s figuring out how to talk about her older brother. When we read the book together for the first time, I could see her making the connections to her own family. And on the very last page, when the little boy describes his family one last time, he says, “my sister always in my heart.” My daughter looked up at me and said, “He has a sister in his heart like I have a Patrick brother in my heart.” It filled this mama’s heart with great joy to be able to share with her.
If your family has experienced the loss of a child, you’ll definitely want to add this book to your library. There’s even a special page at the end of the book for your child to write all about your own family. Purchase your own copy here.
Perfectly Imperfect Family is written by Amie Lands and illustrated by Natia Gogiashvili. Amie Lands is mama to Ruthie Lou, who lived only a short time, and her two boys. She also authored Navigating the Unknown and Our Only Time. Natia Gogiashvili is an illustrator, wife, and mom to one little boy.
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