Sara Gillingham‘s (2015) picture book How to Mend a Heart (Random House) is a precious book. An honest take on children’s sadness and heartbreak, How to Mend a Heart will appeal to readers of all ages.
The opening page of How to Mend a Heart pulls readers right in. His broken heart beneath the window, a little boy poses with a tear running down his left cheek. The little boy learns that with gentle hands, the right tools, some patches, and the help of others, hearts can be mended. And sometimes hearts will have to be mended again and again.
How to Mend a Heart allows readers to confront the reality that sometimes our hearts will be broken. But through our resilience and help from others, we can come out on the other side. I think this is an important message for kids. And because Gillingham does not name a particular reason for the little boy’s heartbreak, the book’s message can apply to multiple contexts.
I really like the window scenes in which kids from all backgrounds are featured. These scenes help readers understand that sometimes they will be the person who has a broken heart and sometimes they will be the person who needs to help another mend a broken heart. The window scenes make explicit the self-reflection the book encourages.
I appreciate the book’s rawness. Behind a cutesy, artsy cover is a book that addresses the fact that children face sadness and heartbreak. Ending hopefully, How to Mend a Heart can spark some honest discussion and normalize the reality that sometimes kids feel sad and heartbroken.
Because my husband was a school psychologist, I am always looking for books that school psychologists and counselors can share with small groups, and How to Mend a Heart would work really well!
A wonderfully thoughtful read-aloud for elementary kids, How to Mend a Heart will make a great gift for kids and adults.