Author explores childhood loss, grief and healing in children –
Story and photos by Patricia Beech –
The Peebles Public Library hosted a book-signing on Saturday, Feb. 4 for first-time author Laura Dewire, who says she wrote the book, “A Corner in Heaven”, to help young people process grief and understand loss.
Dewire, who teaches at St. Michael’s School in Ripley, says her book was inspired by a student whose family had lost an infant son at birth. The student, Kailen Offutt is also the book’s illustrator.
“I gave the students an assignment to draw a family portrait and in the upper right-hand corner of her paper Kailen had drawn a baby and a Christ-like figure,” said Dewire. “I thought that was very unusual so I asked her about it.”
Offutt, a precocious eight-year-old who loves math and reading told her teacher, “Most of my family lives on Earth, but I have a baby brother who lives in heaven.”
Dewire says she was so moved by Offutt’s story and drawing and she “wanted to create something that would help children understand and cope with loss while also honoring the life of this child who had been ‘born sleeping’.”
The 40-page book, written in third person, tells the story of three sisters and their baby brother who dies at birth. Dewire uses simple, yet compelling language to explain the passing of a loved one, while
the innocent artistry of Offutt’s illustrations captures the essence of the story, as well as the heart of the reader.
“A Corner in Heaven” was published by KiCam Publishing in Georgetown, Ohio. It is available on Amazon and through most major book sellers.