Back in July of last year, I wrote a post “When Bad Things Happen to Good People – A Helpful Book to Cope with Loss” in which I basically wrote about how this book helped me accept the early loss of my newly born son, Kush. In response to that post, my girlfriend Bhakti mentioned a book she had recently come across called Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs by two LA based moms, author Susan Bernardo and illustrator, Courtenay Fletcher.
She said that the book seemed to help children deal with stressful situations due to anxiety whether that anxiety stems from being left at daycare/school for the first time, parents away on an extended business trips or losing a grandparent or other close family member. Months later, Susan herself replied to that same post and wrote this:
“Hello! I wrote the children’s book Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs, mentioned in the thread above! I’m very happy to announce that the book is published and available now on Amazon. We have received some lovely reviews. It is a picture book that is appropriate for all children – to reassure them that they are always loved, even when loved ones aren’t physically present.”
I immediately contacted Susan and we had an amazing hour-long conversation in which I told her all about the story of my boys and she told me all about her background and inspiration for the book. A little about Susan; she has been writing poetry, stories and books since childhood. She is a mom to two sons and holds a Bachelors of Art degree in English from UCLA, a Masters of Arts degree from Yale and teaching credentials from Pepperdine University. She spent years in the classroom as a language arts teacher and is also a published poet. In addition, Susan is currently revising her first novel for young adults – can’t wait to grab a copy and review this when it’s published! Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs is her first children’s book and what a first – it’s incredible.
The message of Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs is simple yet powerful: love lasts forever. It’s perfect for supporting children through grief from all kinds of situations such as deaths of loved family and friends, separation anxiety, divorce, military families, illness or other traumatic situations. The book’s words convey that even when our loved ones are not near or can’t be with us for all these reasons and more, that we can still feel their love and presence through all kinds of simple connections found in nature. And in this way, love can really last forever.
Here are some words that still give me goosebumps whenever I read to Jai:
“No matter how far apart we are, I’ll always find ways to tell you I love you. How? From wherever we stand, you see the moon and I see the moon. That is how we can send each other hugs.”
“I’m leaving signs to show I care, like the wind whispering through your hair. Whenever I miss you, I’ll find a way to hug and kiss you.”
“Hugs by moon and kisses by sun, I’ll always love you, Little One.”
The illustrations are delightfully engaging, so beautifully done. It’s no wonder that the book is receiving such high praises not only from parents, but from teachers, caregivers, therapists, social workers, librarians and especially from children of all ages.
I know this book would make a perfect gift for anyone…to add to a young child’s home library, to give to first-time parents. I even read about a mom leaving a copy in her daughter’s suitcase as she headed off to college for the first time. How sweet is that.
To win a signed hardcopy of Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs by Susan Bernardo and illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher, enter our giveaway below. As an added bonus, Susan has also offered to send a signed copy to our winner’s charity of choice. Thanks, Susan!