At ReadTheSpirit, we are getting more and more inquiries about the unique picture-book, Never Long Enough. So, first, here’s the Amazon link to the book in paperback and in hardcover. And, here is a link to the authors’ own book-related website.
We have published several stories about this creative concept: It’s a large-format picture book—featuring an inclusive array of family images by artist Michelle Sider—encouraging families to come together and talk about the life of a beloved person. Adults and children in a family might use the book as a loved one nears the end of life—or, the family might use the book after a death. Care to learn more? Here is a link to one of our earlier stories, headlined: ‘Never Long Enough’ Helps Families Honor Loved Ones.
Now, the nationally known host of Grief Chat, Mitch Carmody, and his cohost Maureen McNeary have created the following video—based on their recent, live radio interview with author Rabbi Joseph Kraoff and Sider, the psychologist and artist who created the book’s illustrations.
Here is that video (the actual interview begins after the show’s 2-minute intro):
WHAT YOU WILL HEAR AND SEE
Why spend the time with this video? Because Carmody and his co-host emphasize the new book’s many strengths. They emphasize why this is such a remarkable book. And, toward the end of this interview, Krakoff and Sider preview the next chapter in their Never Long Enough journey.
Who is Carmody? His radio studio is located in Minnesota, but he has a national audience for his programs on grief. Like the team behind this new book, Carmody also is an artist and writer, sometimes better known online by his trademark: Mr. Heartlight. As a grief educator, Carmody’s many distinctions include serving on the board of directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest grief support organization in the world. He knows first-hand these heartbreaking experiences: After losing his twin sister in an accident in 1985 and then his son to cancer in 1987, Mitch has dedicated his life to serving the bereaved in any way he can.
In the interview: Krakoff explains why this book covers so many themes and is designed to be read at any pace a family may prefer—perhaps just a few pages at a time. The rabbi says, “Grief is something that isn’t on any calendar or timeline. Grief is unique for everyone.”
Carmody tells him the book “totally hit the mark.”
Krakoff explains that, as a result, the book contains very few words and, instead, encourages readers to start their own open-ended conversation and storytelling. This concept draws from the Jewish tradition of Shiva. Krakoff says, “In Shiva, we go into people’s homes to give them comfort, but the way we give that comfort is not by saying a lot of things to them. We are supposed to close our mouths and listen to what they want to talk about.”
“That’s brilliant advice,” says Carmody’s co-host Maureen McNeary.
Michelle Sider talks about her dozens of illustrations. She says, “We want readers to linger on whatever page matters to them. … And, we wanted this book to be as inclusive as possible. Did you lose a parent? A spouse? A child? There are so many different experiences of grief.”
Carmody praises the combination of Krakoff’s brief text and Sider’s artwork, which moves from black and white in the opening pages to brilliant color toward the end of the book. Carmody says, “A lot of people describe their grief as living in shades of gray. I like how you did incorporate that in your book. … The same is true with the simple language you have in this book. A text-heavy grief book can be tough to read through, but here the language is so simple. Wow! … This book really is working inside of you. And, then, you will remember this book long after you go through it.”
By the time the full color emerges in these pages, the impact is breathtaking, says McNeary. The book’s colorful front cover is an example of those final pages and McNeary says, in the interview: “My gosh! That cover is beautiful Michelle!”
Carmody also points out the value of the book’s additional blank pages: “You can even journal in this book as well.”
That’s when the interview turns to the next phase of the Never Long Enough project in which Sider and Krakoff will publish an interactive coloring book, based on the original volume.
“A coloring book/workbook is a natural extension of this experience,” Sider says.
Carmody agrees and says she’s eager to see that. “That’s wonderful! Then, you will be able to weave coloring and other expressions into your reflections.”
Care to read more?