Change is a constant in our lives, however, for young children change, loss and death can be difficult to accept and understand. The author of this tender children’s story, “Ryan’s New Beginnings,” helps readers face the concepts of loss by offering a message of hope and understanding in a way that is appropriate.
“As a mental health counselor, I see families dealing with the concepts of loss and death and struggling to know how to approach the topic with young children,” said author Dr. Jo-Ann Petrucci Andrews. “I wanted to create a story that focuses on this difficult subject in a way that was honest and yet hopeful.”
In “Ryan’s New Beginnings,” Ryan is faced with a number of changes his life from a move to the country, to developing new friendships, learning about farm life and facing the death of a favorite rooster, Frank. Ryan’s grandfather is there every step of the way, offering clarity and understanding to Ryan and his older sister Crystal.
“It is so important that adults talk about loss to their children,” said Andrews. “Often they are so caught up in their own struggles to survive that they minimize the feelings of their children. Yet, if we fail to help our young children understand loss and change it can negatively impact their self-esteem, self-confidence and ability to deal with struggles in their adult life.”
“Ryan’s New Beginnings” is already being used in Andrews’ mental health practice to help families deal with change such as illness, moving, divorce, separation and death. The book offers a strong message of hope and faith that will help young readers and parents alike, understand and accept the changes that life has to offer.
I love the fact that this story is so honest. Jo-Ann addresses a number of changes that are taking place in Ryan’s life with words and examples that I believe readers will be able to relate to. We all experience loss in our lives and this book will serve as a way for parents to have these important conversations with their children in an appropriate and healthy way.
Although “Ryan’s New Beginnings” is the first children’s book by author Andrews, she is currently working on two sequels that follow Ryan and his family to learn more about gratitude and also how to deal with bullying. “Ryan’s New Beginnings” can be found at Halo Publishing, Amazon and Barnes and Noble; available in hard cover and e-book versions.
About Jo Ann Petrucci Andrews
Dr. Jo-Ann Petrucci Andrews is a marriage and family therapist who helps children and their families recover from grief and loss. She is a licensed mental health counselor, and she holds a Doctor of Education degree. Jo-Ann specializes in trauma-focused treatment for a wide range of issues, including bereavement, divorce, adoption and foster care, autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, co-parenting, and mood disorders. She currently lives on a farm in New England with her husband, children, and animals.