Good stories are so important for our personal growth, enjoyment, and healing on our journey.

Last year I got a chance to talk with Mary Weber and Kari Shields about the first children's book they wrote together called All Kinds of Brave.   

Anyone who has tackled the task of writing a book all the way through publication knows this is not an easy task.

Recently I asked them about their new book Lost and Found: A Grief Story For Children.

Who are the characters in this book? The main character is an elementary age boy. We purposely didn’t give him a name and tried to keep him fairly generic with the hope that children will see themselves in the character.

What is the story line? This story is about the grief a child may experience if someone special to them dies. It is about the journey through grief. It is about some of the feelings children experience when someone they love dies. Lost and Found also explores things that may help. Everyone grieves differently and that is okay. It is also a story about hope because in the depths of grief, children (and adults) can feel like life will never be okay again. It will indeed never be the same, but there can be laughter, hope and joy again.

What age group of kids is the book aimed at? Lost and Found was written with 2nd through 5th graders in mind but I think younger and older children can relate to the words and the pictures.

How did you decide to tackle this topic in a kids book? We both lost our Dads when we were growing up. We were blessed to have Moms who understood that children grieve too. Not only do children grieve, they grieve differently according to their developmental age. Mary counsels many amazing children who are grieving and gets to run children’s grief groups and a new grief camp for children. We wanted to honor those children and all children who are grieving.

Mary had a rough idea for the book and then Kari with her incredible talent and wisdom helped make it come to life. When we came together for this book, we didn’t know that as children we had each lost a parent. God definitely had a hand in bringing us together!

Was it easier to write a second book? This book was more personal to us. We absolutely love our All Kinds of Brave Book but this book touched our heart even more. We spent more time on words and imagery as we wanted to have just the right balance of honesty and hope. Our hope is for any child reading this book because they have lost a loved one to not feel alone and to feel understood….and ultimately to have hope because our hearts can have grief and hope at the same time.

How long from start to finish did the book take? We had it written shortly after our All Kinds of Brave book was done this past fall. Yet we waited till after the New Year to really dive into it. We were blessed to use the same artist, the same editor, and the same printing company so it made those parts of the process much easier!

Do you have plans for more books in the future? GREAT question!! We both promised our husbands we would take a break because we both elicited help from everyone in our families. We have been encouraged to write more theme based books to go along with All Kinds of Brave but for now we will love these two sweet books we have written and see what life has in store.

Where is the book available? We will have a book signing upstairs at The Barn 1500 S Sycamore Ave, Sioux Falls SD 57110 on May 11th 4-7pm and May 12th 9-11am.  They are also available on our facebook page All Kinds of Brave @MaryKariBrave . We are currently working with local stores to see if they would like to carry the book.  Books are $10 if picked up or $13 if shipping is required. Twenty percent of proceeds will go to children’s grief programming at Catholic Family Services.

Whatever topic they tackle next and whenever they get the time to piece it together I look forward to more important stories from these Sioux Falls women.

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