‘Clare’s Goodbye’ tells the story of how the three children of a family say goodbye to their home. Clare seems to struggle the most with it, but finally comes up with her own way to bid farewell to the place that she loves. I liked how the children talked about their shared memories in the different parts of their home, and how the author subtly depicted the dynamics of the siblings’ relationship too, with the eldest being a bit more bossy and cynical, while the younger ones had more innocent ideas.
The illustrations of the empty rooms in the house highlight the reality of their move, and I found it extra poignant as Clare used the empty space in their bedroom to dance her farewell dance to the room where they probably spent the most time in.
Sometimes, there are just no words to express how sad you really are.
In ‘Half a World Away‘, two best friends live next to each other and are always just a “coo-ee” away. They were always available to play, and were almost always together, even when they were playing with different things.
We see how lost they both feel when Amy has to move half a world away with her family, and the children are separated physically as well as by time zones. The isolation is more intense as they can’t even talk to each other anymore, as when one of them is awake, the other will be asleep.
Personally, my biggest takeaway from this story is that as adults, we tend to see only the practical aspects, and sometimes perhaps, we should try to acknowledge the child’s emotions, and allow him to try whatever he wants to do to communicate with his friend (within reason of course). When Louie asked his grandma if Amy could hear him if he called out loudly to her, she wisely told him that he could try, instead of telling him that it would be impossible, and that made all the difference to him. I also liked how Louie’s call translated into a dream about him for Amy, as it made her happy, and showed how close the two children still are, despite the physical distance.
Half a World Away
For most, if not all, children dealing with a big move, their primary concern is their friends. It is inevitable that they will miss their friends and worry about being able to make new ones, so as parents, I think we need to do what we can to let them feel connected to their old friends.