My Father's Words

135p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Oct. 2018. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780062687692.
Gr 3–5—Fiona O'Brien and her brother, Finn, have a wonderful family in a home filled with love and humor. All that changes when their father, Declan, is killed in an automobile crash after he swerves to miss a child chasing a ball in the street. Fiona writes, "The days move slowly. Nights, too." With their mother returning to classes, Fiona takes responsibility for her little brother and tasks herself with finding ways to make Finn feel better. The answer comes via a notice from a local animal shelter that is looking for volunteers to help care for abandoned dogs. Fiona, Finn, and their friend Luke begin working there. Luke and Fiona walk the dogs while Finn reads to a depressed pup whose owner recently died. Slowly, Fiona and Finn find peace. The story's first-person narration by Fiona offers an immediate connection to readers, and sections of the book in a different typeface and font highlight her own personal reflections that are apart from the plot, which lends a solid authenticity to the gently flowing story.
VERDICT This heartwarming title from an acclaimed author is a solid choice for school and public libraries seeking new bibliotherapy titles for children on loss and grief.

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