Thank you to Leigh Ann Gerk for joining us here today on Books, Tea, Healthy Me. While the topic of losing a pet is not a happy one, the book Dear Brave Friend may help those going through that rough time. Take a look at the book, read the interview with the author and then enter to win an Amazon gift card! Happy reading and good luck!
Book Title: Dear Brave Friend by Leigh Ann Gerk
Category: Middle-Grade Non-Fiction (8 to 12) , 49 pages
Publisher: Golden Harvest Publishers
Release date: August 2019
Content Rating: This non-fiction, self-help book is rated G. Appropriate for all audiences.
This gentle and heartwarming story captures the love between a boy and his dog, and the sadness that follows after his cherished dog passes away. Written in the form of a letter from the dog to the boy, the letter shares relatable, real life examples of how the boy (and therefore anybody who has lost a dear pet) may be feeling and suggestions on what he can do to help himself get through this most difficult time. The letter also touches on simple acts of kindness that can follow the reader throughout his or her lifetime. The message in this story is applicable to young and old, girl or boy, and to any family pet that has stolen your heart. Story starters, drawing pages, and a place to add pictures of your own beloved pet are also included in the back of the book.
Leigh Ann Gerk MA, LPC has been in the counseling field for over eleven years. She is certified in Pet Loss & Grief Companioning and the founder and owner of Mourning to Light Pet Loss providing individual and family counseling for anyone grieving the loss of a pet. She currently offers 3 free pet loss support groups in Northern Colorado and is excited to branch out and offer more. Having grown up on a farm, Leigh Ann’s childhood playmates included baby calves, horses, bunnies, dogs, and 32 cats that set up house in a boxcar that also served as her playhouse. This upbringing introduced her, at a very young age, to the human-animal bond and instilled in her a deep understanding of, and love for, this extraordinary relationship. Leigh Ann and her husband, Andy, live in Loveland, Colorado, and are the proud parents of identical twin daughters, Heather and Heidi. Their family is made complete by their first grandchild and their cherished therapy dog, Gracie. Visit Leigh Ann online at MourningToLightPetLoss.com.
Interview with the author Leigh Ann Gerk
What inspired you to write Dear Brave Friend?
My inspiration started many years ago when I was a little farm girl who loved and lost many of the farm animals that I considered my best friends. Later, as an adult practicing Pet Loss Therapy, I worked with children who didn’t understand what they were feeling. I worked with parents who were afraid and hesitant to talk with their children about really difficult subjects like pet loss, death, dying, and sadness. From working with these grieving pet families, I realized I needed to write a book that would help children and parents maneuver through the difficult journey of pet loss, which is often a child’s first significant loss, and it is also an important time for parents to teach and role model healthy grieving.
Why did you write this book in the form of a letter?
I wrote Dear Brave Friend in the form of a letter because I wanted the reader to feel as if their beloved pet was talking directly to them. Everyone loves to receive a letter in the mail, so I thought that would be a great way to give the book the personal feel I wanted it to have. Making the book more personal also helps instill hope and comfort to the reader. Knowing that their pet is still with them in some small way, and that one day they will be reunited offers an opportunity for healing. Readers need to know that their departed pet is Okay, and that they were a wonderful part of their pet’s life; that their pet also loved them very much.
Are there any hidden surprises within the book?
Yes! Some readers may not realize there are endearing similarities between certain illustrations. My illustrator and I had such fun adding these hidden treasures. For example, one of the illustrations shows the young boy painting a picture. Later in the book, when he has become an old man, the illustration shows that same picture hanging on the wall.
What was it like winning an INDIE Book Award?
Winning the INDIE Book award was very humbling, and also incredibly exciting! The INDIE Book Awards is the largest international awards program for independent authors and publishers. I was so honored that Dear Brave Friend won in the category of Children’s/Juvenile (Non-Fiction) and placed as a finalist in the Animals/Pets category. Receiving this amazing award has given me a wonderful opportunity to reach out and help more grieving pet families, and that is where my passion lies.
What is next for you?
I’m currently developing two more children’s books about pet loss, and plan to start writing them soon. In the meantime, I am founder and owner of “Mourning to Light Pet Loss,” where I counsel grieving pet families as a licensed professional counselor, and I facilitate 3 free pet loss support groups in northern Colorado.
Do you have a website where people can learn more about you, your book, and pet loss? And where can I buy Dear Brave Friend?
Yes, please visit me on my website at www.MourningtoLightPetLoss.com. Dear Brave Friend is available to buy on Amazon in book or kindle format.
$25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of the author of DEAR BRAVE FRIEND
(1 winner) (open to Amazon.com customers) (ends Feb 12)
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