When Sadness Is at Your Door by Eva Eland

When Sadness Is at Your Door 
Purchased from First Book
With sensitivity and understanding, Eland masterfully personifies an emotion and places it in a story that will give readers tools to comprehend and cope with the very familiar feeling of sadness. Use of the pronoun "you" and a gender neutral child further encourages readers to identify with the the main character as Sadness arrives and "follows you around . . . and sits so close to you, you can hardly breathe." Illustrating the desire to push away the negative feelings that Sadness brings, Eland encourages readers to, "Try not to be afraid of Sadness. Give it a name. Listen to it. Ask where it comes from and what it needs." If you don't understand your sadness, sit with it. Or find "something you both enjoy" and engage with it.

In a beautiful moment of dual meaning in text and images, Eland writes, "Maybe Sadness doesn't like to stay inside. Try letting it out sometimes." The illustration shows the child outside under and umbrella, at the edge of copse of trees, hand outstretched to coax Sadness, a tear rolling down their face, out. Whether readers interpret this as an invitation to let their feelings out by crying, or to take their feelings outside and experience the world, they will be the better for taking this advice. Eland brings her book to a close telling reader that, maybe all Sadness wants is "to know that it is welcome," ending with these words,"Today is a new day."

Eland's gentle simplicity, in both words and illustrations, is elegant and moving. When Sadness Is at Your Door conveys an emotional intelligence, a skillful way of understanding and addressing emotions, that did not exist when I was a child and was just entering popular culture when my children were born. I am grateful to know that children, especially now, will benefit from this book.

Another reason to buy this stunning book, the endpapers! The top half of this image comes from the first set of endpapers and shows the people struggling with sadness. The bottom half shows people coping with their sadness.

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