Storm in a Jar by Samuel Langley-Swain and Katie Cottle


Arlo adores his Nana (as a northerner I love the use of nana) and spends every Sunday with her…and her jar of sweets. This constant in his life means everything, until the day when Nana is no longer there and then it means even move. As the family sort through the collection of items that remain of Nana, Arlo is desperate to keep the empty jar.

For a long time, the jar is never far from Arlo, yet it becomes a weight on him. It fills with anger and upset, until the storm is unleashed. Anyone who has lost a loved one will know that special memories are tightly bound to the most normal of objects and places.

Samuel Langley-Swain does a great job at crafting a story that deals with a powerful subject. The art by Katie Cottle is fantastic, especially the storm that rages. I’ve been a fan since The Blue Giant by Katie Cottle.

Now for the teacher bit. Dealing with loss is difficult and this means having books that help children understand this is essential. For a number of years, we have accepted that there are stages to grief and the creators explore this so well. Empathy is a true human trait that all schools should endeavour to foster in their learners. A fab bonus can be found at the back of the book with 2 hands on activities that can be done with children.

A story of love and loss; a guide to the importance of remembering.

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