Review of ‘Gracie and Josh’
Title: ‘Gracie and Josh’
Author: Susanne Gervay
Illustrator: Serena Geddes
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing
Age Range: Early Childhood – Middle Primary
Themes: siblings, family, illness, childhood, hospitals, cancer, resiliance
Click on title links or cover image to purchase.
Sometimes I finish reading a children’s book and I just hope, hope, hope that it finds its way into the right little hands and the right family. Every child wants to see their life reflected in a book, to know they are not alone, and to know that someone feels and thinks as they do. Young children do not always have the words to express their deepest feelings, but sometimes an author finds the words for them.
‘Gracie and Josh’ is a book that I really do hope finds its way into the many homes where families are battling childhood illness, that it may offer some comfort, reassurance and a few smiles in a tough time.
Though the illness is never named, ‘Gracie and Josh’ is a story of the effects of childhood cancer on the whole family. It is endorsed by Variety. Variety-the Children’s Charity is a national not-for-profit organisation committed to empowering Australian children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.
Gervay and Geddes have tackled a tough subject with lightness and with laughter. Gracie loves dressing up and pretending to be a squiggly black spider. Her brother Josh is making a movie about Gracie Spider. On his good weeks Josh delights in playing with Gracie and the close bond between the siblings radiates from both words and illustrations. On his bad weeks Gracie sits by his bed and reminds him that incy wincy spider just kept on trying, getting up time after time.
The story is set at home, and then largely in a children’s ward in a hospital. When the doctors get Josh to take his beanie off, Gracie gets upset and mum gets upset at Gracie. Some of the tough struggles that are faced are depicted, but Garvay at all times focusses on the sometimes small glimmers of hope, fun and laughter.
Ford Street Publishing are producing some great books, and this is one of them.
Teachers notes by the author are here.