Richard Strawson and his children - Hannah (13), Thomas (15)Togetherforshortlives.org.uk
The book dealt with a difficult subject matter well... the illustrations were good and particularly helped bring through the different moods of the story, reflecting very much the different and conflicting feelings brought about by bereavement. I particularly thought it was strong on emphasizing that no-one is to blame and that the suicide is in fact brought about by illness. (Richard) I think it appeals well to children and it is a helpful guide for parents.(Hannah)
School Library Journal
This sensitive look at suicide makes a tough topic accessible. Though it's a beautiful spring day, Luna is feeling anything but happy. It has been a year since her mother committed suicide, and her family is having a picnic in remembrance. When Luna's father remarks that her mother's hat suits Luna and that she looks just like her mom, Luna becomes angry ("I am not like Mum. Because I wouldn't just stop living when I wanted to! People you love don't get to stop living and leave you behind!"). Her father explains that Mum didn't want to leave but felt that she had no other choice. Most importantly, he reassures Luna that it wasn't her fault and that it wasn't Mum's fault, either. After reminiscing about a funny event that happened with Luna's mom, Luna, her father, and her younger brother watch the sun set and Luna puts the red hat back on. This very heavy topic is covered extremely well. While the text is emotionally charged, it's always age appropriate. Dramatic, expressionistic illustrations depict Luna's turmoil: an image of the girl standing with her head hanging against a dark background conveys her sadness, while a picture of Luna riding a violent wave against a red backdrop demonstrates her rage. A special guide for parents at the end discusses how children understand death, suggests how to inform a child about suicide, and provides examples of questions kids might have. VERDICT This book will aid caregivers in explaining a difficult topic and help children with the grieving process.
Jeff Surma, CouncellorBACP Children & Young People
This wonderful book contains simple yet beautiful illustrations that through the subtle change in the use of colour, capture the sadness of loss and grief and offer hope for the future... I know I shall use this book.
Learning while Teaching blog
Luna's Red Hat is a wonderful book and frankly, if I may say so, it's not just a children's book. I found the book warm and comforting. It wasn't preachy or overbearing, but gentle and touching. In fact, the book invited me in with its soft brushstrokes in the art and the honest dialogue between Luna and her dad. It's not thick and syrupy, but light and honest. It does not in any way come off as cheesy or fake, but rather genuine and meaningful... Very highly recommended. It is simply a beautiful book.
Nursing Children and Young People
This children's storybook brought me pleasure and sadness. Pleasure, at the approach, story and the exquisite illustrations that accompany the words and the brief but beautifully crafted Guide for Parents that is included. Sadness, that there is such a need for this resource... This is a valuable resource for parents, carers and nurses.
Gillian Harrison, Buckinghamshire Bereavement Services Team LeadChild Bereavement UK
This illustrated storybook is very sensitively written. We feel the age appropriate language used addresses many of the thoughts and feelings children bereaved by suicide may have, such as 'why would someone you love want to leave you?' and 'was I to blame?'
ElziHealthy Books blog
This is the first book I have seen on specifically explaining suicide of a parent to a young child, and it is a particularly lovely one in picture and in text. There is an afterward by Dr Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers, a bereavement specialist, who explains just why it is necessary to be honest with children about suicide and who gives specific ways of presenting the information in a gentle way... The illustrations, all on a soft beige and white background, are delicately full of emotion and sometimes gentle humour too as dad deftly handles Luna's questions. A winning picture book about a very difficult subject.
I cannot praise this book highly enough, and would fully recommend it as a resource for professionals, parents and children to find explanations and coping mechanisms after the devastating loss caused by suicide.
Youth in Mind
A lovely storybook for younger children dealing with the loss of a parent by suicide.
Revd Jane ParkerHealth and Social Care Chaplaincy, Issue 4.1 (June) 2016
Although the subject matter is a difficult one to broach, the story is carefully crafted. It is effective in its simplicity as the story unfolds gently, offering insight into Luna's grief and Dad's support. The theme is sensitively handled as Luna is helped through her heartbreak and loss...I would highly recommend this book to healthcare chaplains, families with children who have lost a parent to suicide and professionals caring for those families.