Wednesday 24 June 2020

The Perfect Shelter by Clare Helen Welsh and Asa Gilland

                                                             Link to purchase options.

Published by: Little Tiger Group, June 25th 2020

Just like the 2020 Crystal Kite Winner The Tide, Clare Helen Welsh's new release The Perfect Shelter is bursting with beauty, warmth and charm. Endeavouring to shed light on the darkest of times, it tackles the tricky and devastating subject of family illness by yet again using a metaphor young children can relate to.
In The Tide, Clare cleverly likened dementia to the constant coming and going of the sea at the beach, bringing a sense of peace and understanding to a very distressing condition. In The Perfect Shelter Clare parallels a sibling's diagnosis and treatment of cancer with the sisters' precious attempts to create a perfect shelter, even when storms threaten to tear it down.
At the exact time their den is hit by powerful weather, a younger sister finds out her sibling is sick. Suddenly her life falls apart as quickly as the shelter they created. Buffeted about by worry, fear, anger and sadness, all hope of 'shelter' seems lost. But strength, bravery and resilience triumph when she realises that 'perfect' can exist in the darkest, most challenging of times. 
Taking a painful and emotive subject and presenting in a way that offers comfort, hope and light is something Clare Helen Welsh does incredibly successfully. Such a story allows young readers to explore, question and discuss difficult concepts in a way that feels safe and relatable. It may be an issue which they are experiencing in their own life or an issue that they have no experience of yet but either way a picture books which tackle these subjects can provide a frame and context for important family dialogue. In a guest blog, posted on My Shelves are Full, Clare herself talks about her reasons for writing this book and why it means so much to her.
There is no happy end to this book. No promises that everything is going to be okay. But what it does offer is hope. Hope and love and the acknowledgement that all emotions are acceptable and understandable when life becomes troubled and uncertain and, that in the here and now, there are still perfect, golden moments to be treasured.
My seven year old daughter is currently not into books. Yet this beautifully illustrated hardback tapped into her loving, caring nature and unravelled her deep concern for the characters. 'Will she be okay?' 'Is she getting better?' 'Why is she wearing a scarf on her head?' all tumbled out of her mouth by the second read. Yet the little smile and squeeze she gave me on the final spread showed her understanding of the message. That family and love and being together is all the hope you need...

The Perfect Shelter is available to buy from today.

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