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Family and Friends Power Through Grief Together When a Family Member Dies in This Heartfelt Story of a Brave Young Girl

Updated on July 11, 2018
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Learning to Be Your Own are Power Words to Live By After Loss

Heartwarming story of a 13-year-old girl who loses her dad
Heartwarming story of a 13-year-old girl who loses her dad | Source

Powering Through Grief and Coming Out Strong

Laura Geringer Bass's The Girl with More Than One Heart is a thoughtful book for the YA audience in today's society for learning to cope with the loss of a family member. Many young children and teens have lost a parent to death in a number of ways. Deaths in the military, car accidents, and illness take parents in an untimely way.

Briana finds it difficult to cope with the death of her dad. There are new issues in the family as her mom struggles to hold the family together. Her mom begins to depend on Briana to take care of her younger brother who has a disability. Briana's grandpa annoys her with his stories when all she wants is to be able to count on his support. She sees her mom change because of the loss of her dad. Briana always had great adventures with her dad and now these have been lost. Pancakes are missed also. Mom makes eggs for breakfast. Briana begins to hear special words in her heart after a few weeks. Briana heard the words Say Goodby" in her heart after awhile and she knew that she had to learn to live with the loss. This loss did not make being thirteen any easier. Briana struggles with finding time to do what she loves best-writing for her school magazine. She also finds a budding romance in her young life. She wonders how the changes in her home life will affect her ability to go on with life as a teen. Briana's dad left her with these special words "Find her" and "Be Your Own". Briana gradually learns the true meaning of these special words as she powers through her grief and learns to live as her authentic self as a young teen. These words are kept in her heart to enable her to have "more than one heart".

Bass writes with love and empathy in that she lost her own dad and she also bases the character of Briana's younger brother on her own son on the autism spectrum. Many in the YA reading audience will relate to the story. The Girl with More Than One Heart was published by Amulet Books, a division of Abrams. It is recommended for ages 12-16. It has an ISBN of 978-1-4197-2882-2.

Special Words to Remember When Faced with a Loss


Beautiful Book with Lessons to Use in a Classroom

Teachers who teach students in middle school will find this to be a book that offers the opportunity to get to know students on a deeper level. Books such as Bass's The Girl with More Than One Heart present the opportunity for students to open up to feelings that they have hidden about experiences that happen in their young lives. Using the story to spark writing projects will also engage students in writing about their feelings.

*Read The Girl with More Than One Heart with one or two chapters each day in a group reading session. Chapter books are favorites with students in middle school in that they can read and discuss each chapter as a part of the book and finally relate to the whole of the story. The book can also be assigned as a reading choice for later book reports and writing assignments.

*Take a class poll of students who have lost a family member because of death. Encourage each student to tell how they coped. They will have a variety of ways that helped them.

*Begin a class writing project with journaling about loss. This project can be carried through the entire school year.

*How did Briana discover the meaning of her dad's special words that she heard in her heart?

*Assign a writing project for students to write their own interpretation of the words "Find her" and "Be Your Own". Can they use these words in their own life to discover their true self?

Helping Teens with Loss of a Family Member

How have you helped children and teens cope with the loss of a family member?

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© 2018 Cindy Hewitt


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