#HFGather: Writing About Trauma and Grief for Kids

Nov 3, 2022 | Essential Conversations, HFGather, Minds & Bodies, Podcasts

At our latest #HFGather, authors Ally Malinenko, Amber McBride and Linda Epstein shared an honest and thoughtful conversation about writing about trauma and grief for kids and teens sensitively and honestly.

The Gather began with each of the three authors reading a selection from one of their books–all very different, and all very powerful:

  • Amber, from We Are All So Good at Smiling (coming 1/10/23)
  • Ally, from This Appearing House
  • Linda, from Repairing the World

Some of the many other thoughts that were shared:

  • Why each chose the form they did for their story
  • There are many different ways that we grieve, and we need books that look at that from every perspective. (Amber)
  • Books can talk about things in a way that we can’t. Books are a space to explore things that scare kids. (Ally)
  • If we don’t write about the serious hard things, we’re not empowering kids to deal with them. (Linda)
  • The more of us that speak out and show our truth, the more accessible it becomes and the more conversations young people can have. (Amber)
  • Kids have the full range of emotions, you can’t hide things from them. (Ally)
  • What do we want to give kids? Not happy, but hopeful. We’re providing road maps for how to get through something. We’re showing them that there IS a way through. (Linda)
  • Writing the worst-case scenarios might not be the best service. (Amber)
  • Can writing about trauma re-traumatize you? “The trauma was here; it was present; it demanded an audience…the writing allowed me to pick it apart, to really look at it, to put it down when I needed to.” (Ally)
  • “As writers, we really do need to tell the truth.” (Linda)
  • How these books can be windows and mirrors for kids (referring to the “mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors” framework of scholar and author Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop)

If you missed the live session, you can watch it here.
Please note: closed captions are being added to the video below. When they are finished, you can see them by hovering over the bottom of the video and choosing the “CC” icon.

Some Resources shared during the Gather:

Listen to a podcast version of the #HFGather:

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