-Chaplain David L. Duprey, U.S. Navy
"On behalf of the many grieving families I have worked with, I extend my gratitude and deep appreciation to the authors of Sad about Sammy. It has taken great courage for Tonya Southwick to tell this magnificent story, and Valette Sopp has provided the professional backdrop to ensure the perfect expression. Throughout 26 years of ministry, first as a civilian pastor and now as a military chaplain, I know that there are few resources available with this depth of insight for use with children. The dual-sided approach to telling the story allows for two completely different, yet parallel experiences to happen side by side, parent and child. Every word of this story-journey is backed with personal experience and field research. Help has arrived for hurting families searching for a way to communicate death to surviving children. Yet we can also see how this story could extend beyond the intended audience to assist children and parents surviving the loss of an adult parent from any cause. Thank you, authors and illustrators, for this remarkable gift!"
-Dr. Steve Ater, Clinical Psychologist
Tonya Southwick and Valette Sopp have written a little book of great beauty to meet a desperate need. If you, or a family you know, has suffered the heartbreak of losing a child I can't recommend enough Sad About Sammy as well as the lovely children's book nestled within it, The Cozy Caterpillar. This book is welcome help for grieving parents who may feel so overwhelmed with their own feelings that they don't know where to begin in helping their other children understand such a loss and continue their own process of healing. Sad About Sammy can help bring a hurting family together, strengthen bonds of trust and safety, and rebuild a shared sense of hope in the midst of a time that can feel very dark indeed. Soft-spoken and full of compassion on every page, yet with the strength to say what must be said, this is a book that could only be written by someone who has walked this painful road and who now holds out a hand for others trying to find their way. I hope that many reach out to take it."
-Patricia Francis, M.D.
"Sad about Sammy is a wonderfully insightful book which tells the story of a family enduring the greatest loss and pain that one encounters. Our view begins outdoors, looking toward a window, then moves indoors, giving readers an inside perspective to the home and lives of a family coping with the loss of their child.
As a pediatrician, the most difficult thing I ever face is to attempt to come to terms with one of my patient’s deaths, and to help that family to accept, grieve and try to heal from such a devastating loss. Sad about Sammy can help the entire family, especially young siblings, to communicate about emotions they experience. I am always searching for a book to recommend to a family in their time of need, and I have found it.
Thank you, Tonya and Valette for all the heart and love you put into this project, which was born from the loss of Tonya’s beautiful daughter Stephanie. It will undoubtedly help many others. "
-Karen Cutrona Turner
This book is a wonderful resource for parents and a comforting story for children whose lives have been forever changed by the death of a child and sibling. When my daughters were 5 and 7 years old, their long-awaited and beloved baby brother passed away from a congenital heart defect during his infancy. Our family was devastated by this unexpected loss nearly 23 years ago. As heartbroken parents, it was difficult to comfort our sad and confused children. We coped as best we could with the help of the not-quite-right resources available to us at that time. I sure wish "Sad About Sammy" would have been one of them! This book sensitively touches on many of the same questions my daughters asked about their baby brother. With every turn of the page, the authors include parental guidance, suggestions and advice alongside the children's storybook text. The illustrations are soothing. There's a visual felt-like softness to the imagery that reminds me of a patchwork quilt. "Sad About Sammy" is a simple yet deeply bittersweet message about the seasons of life and death and new life again. From a mother who knows this experience all too heartbreakingly well, I want to say a big "thank you" to the authors for sensitively depicting this grievous journey that none of us ever want to take but sadly, some of us must. If your family is experiencing this sadness and grief, or you have a friend or family member who has lost a child, "Sad About Sammy" is the gift of hope for you and them.
-Pastor Mike Gauch
This is a wonderful gift to buy for a family who has lost a baby or child and has other children. The family can read it together, and it has parent helps in talking with the surviving children about their sadness with their siblings' death. Very unique...loved it, and bought multiple copies to keep on hand to share with others if the unthinkable happens. Also a wonderful "In Memory" to donate to your local public library for others to be helped. -JoAnn McMaken
As a pastor, Sad about Sammy is a rare, beautiful and priceless resource that is invaluable to a family grieving a loss of a child. For this review, I sat with a licensed counselor to discuss this book which we received directly from the author whom we know. Here are a few of our observations: The illustrations are so beautiful and inviting. Any child can be “in the story” because of the subtle way faces are not shown.
• The children’s story is so accessible, sensitive & creative yet profoundly healing.
• The wisdom to make it faith-based without excluding anyone. A parent could easily imprint their faith into the story.
• The Parent’s Notes were well-researched and well-written. They mentor a grieving parent to help a surviving child which is so needed since grief turns us all inward. If that wasn’t enough, it actually helps the parents through their own grief not just their child. Better yet, a parent and child can grieve and heal together – very beautiful thing.
Maybe there are other resources like this in the marketplace but we have never seen anything like it. Last, you will know from reading the dedication that one of the authors experienced the pain of a child dying. I believe this is what gives this book the feeling of being with the family in the depths of grief yet points them to a heaven-touching hope. I strongly recommend this book to counselors and clergy for ministering to those in the midst of this heart-breaking time of loss.
It was so nice to find a book that has help for everyone in the family who struggle to find words, or ways to ease their other children into the reality of a sibling death. I love the different ideas for memorials at the end of the book that the whole family can do together. I'm getting one for our local grade school to have so they can give it to a family in need of a great resource during such a difficult time. I've searched for something like this to have on hand for our school families going through a crisis like this. No other resource I've found offers as much in one simple and beautiful package. I highly recommend it as a wonderful gift.