Title: WHY IS MOMMY CRYING?
Subtitle: Explaining Early Pregnancy Loss to Young Children
Author: I. CORI BAILL, MD
Illustrator: HEATHER BELL
Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, PARENTING AND FAMILIES
Length: 34 PAGES
Publisher: GREENLEAF BOOK GROUP
Received From: NETGALLEY
Release Date: JANUARY 19, 2021
Price: $11.95 USD
Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐
One is often at a loss how to engage with those in grief, whether adult or child. Because miscarriage affects about a third of pregnancies, most readers likely know someone who has experienced this sadness.
This beautifully illustrated, inclusive, nondenominational picture book helps recipients of every age know that the door is open, and a caring person is on the other side. Written by an experienced physician, Why is Mommy Crying? comforts in the context of family and the larger universe. Young ones are also helped in navigating their fears.
The young protagonist, Max, uses his imagination, and accompanied by his stuffed animal, Mink, begins to understand what has made his mother sad. His imagery and ideas offer a gentle springboard to discuss with children and the adults who love them the broader concepts surrounding grief and recovery.
My first thought when I saw this book was that it was very important and a necessary addition to children’s libraries everywhere. After reading I still think it is wonderful that there is a book available for parents to read to their kids if the parents experience the loss of a pregnancy.
I firmly believe that information is power which is why I chose to read and review this children’s book.
When Max wakes up in the middle of the night, he grabs his stuffed animal (named Mink) and decides to go to his parents’ bedroom. On his way there, he sees his mother in a different room and she is crying.
Curious and worried, Max asks his mother of she has an “owwie” and offers to get her a Band-Aid. His mother says: “No son, I don’t need a Band-Aid. It’s not that kind of owwie.” Max hops up on his Mom’s lap and asks how she had gotten an owwie.
The mother’s response is where this book will lose many of its potential readership. I am a Canadian and as such, am very proud of our multicultural environment. Maybe I am just oversensitive to books that exclude large segments of the population.
Once religious beliefs are introduced into a children’s book, any potential reader whose beliefs are different from those expressed in the book, will be turned off and will not be interested in purchasing that book. I believe this is the case with WHY IS MOMMY CRYING? However, the Christian segment of the population may be even more interested in this book because it talks about God, so maybe this will balance out.
Although this book does not identify with any specific sect, it is clearly intended for Christian households. In my opinion, this is a shame. I believe that a message of love and understanding could easily have been incorporated without mentioning God.
The mother tells Max that “Sometimes a baby returns to be with God.” She further explains that; “God will take care of our baby.”
The illustrations are fabulous and I like the fact that the mother and father seem to be an interracial couple. The mother is white and the father has brown skin. It is important to have books that reflect the diversity in today’s world. So, kudos for that.
However, because the author is a doctor and therefore (in my mind) a person of science, I was not expecting this book to contain references to God. I expected a more scientific, but still age appropriate, explanation as to why Max’s mother was sad and why the pregnancy ended. I was very disappointed that this was not the case.
The author does include a list of “Additional Resources” at the end of the book which offer organization names and websites where more information about grief and grieving can be found. I think this is a great idea to include in the book.
I rate this book as 3.5 out of 5 Stars which I am rounding up to 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐
*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. I. Cori Baill earned her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in New Brunswick, NJ. Following graduation from medical school, she completed her residency training in Gynecology and Obstetrics at The Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. She then served for three years in the US Public Health Service achieving the rank of Lt. Commander, and in July, 1990 was awarded the United States Public Health Service Achievement Medal.
Dr. Baill is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American Board of Obstetricis and Gynecology. She is a Fellow of the American College of Obstitricians and Gynecologists and is a Certified Menopause Practitioner by the North American Menopause Society. During her medical career of over 30 years, she has been affiliated with Planned Parenthood serving on the National Medical Committee, and as a regional and local Medical Director. She is currently an advisor, laboratory director, and Florida State House physician liaison for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, our regional affiliate. Dr. Baill is the founder of The Menopause Center in Orlando, FL, where she served as medical director for 12 years.
Dr. Baill has been affiliated with the UCF College of Medicine since its founding, serving as a curriculum advisor, and admissions interviewer. She formally joined the faculty in 2015, and is now an Associate Professor. Dr. Baill holds numerous committee positions, including for UCF College of Medicine Admissions, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and North American Menopause Society.
She is a reviewer for American Family Physician and Bellevue Literary Review.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:
Heather Bell whole-heartedly believes that hidden within our everyday lives is a secret realm glimpsed through books, music, and children’s laughter.
Holding a BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute, she is a member of SCBWI, a participant in the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, a Children’s Book Academy graduate, and a mommy.
When not illustrating and writing, she searches out story ideas as an undercover school bus driver.
Heather Bell is an author/illustrator represented by Kaitlyn Sanchez at Olswanger Literary Agency.
To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links: