Monday, May 30, 2022

SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS by Joanne Levy - a middle grade novel about being friends and not friends through times of grief and loss

Why this book?

In this story, Evie, a girl who says she doesn’t want any friends, develops a friendship with Oren, a boy whose parents were killed in car accident. Evie’s family owns a funeral home and she helps Oren explore some of his questions about dying. There are few sad moments, but funny ones too. I loved so many things about this book – I learned, I laughed, I cried and I wanted to read it again.

I especially loved the way this shows how kids can work through and learn to accept sad things in life with the help of friends. If you enjoy this book, also read Joanne Levy’s other recent book, The Sun Will Come Out. It’s another wonderful read!

Connections: family, friendship, death, funerals, Jewish traditions, paper quilling,


Literacy & Sharing Experiences – Put up a large paper/bulletin board where students can add their thoughts and questions that arise from reading. Invite classmates to post answers from their experiences or research.

Literacy – Create an advice column! Make up three questions/issues that friends might have problems with. Write answers or swap with a friend so they can try to give helpful advice to solve the problems.

Personal Journal – Reflect on times when you were and were not a good friend. When thinking about times where you were not a good friend, think about what you might have done differently. Where might you need help from others to solve a friendship problem?

STEAM - Research paper quilling. Try to create an art project using the technique of paper quilling. Could you create a different cover for the novel?


Discussion and Activity Guide 

Q & A with the author from the Orca Books blog

Lessons and activities about friendship from Teacher Planet

The Most Common Friendship Issues in the Classroom – We Are Teachers. Com


If students are experiencing grief or loss:

This website helps educators recognize grief and suggests ways to help support grieving children, including children who have experienced COVID-related loss

Children and grief resources from Scholastic

Resources from Winston’s Wish

Description from the publisher:

Evie Walman is not obsessed with death. She does think about it a lot, though, but only because her family runs a Jewish funeral home. At twelve, Evie already knows she’s going to be a funeral director when she grows up. So what if the kids at school call her “corpse girl” and say she smells like death? They’re just mean and don’t get how important it is to have someone take care of things when your world is falling apart.

 Evie loves dusting caskets, polishing pews, and vacuuming the chapel—and on funeral days, she dresses up and hands out tissues and offers her condolences to mourners. She doesn’t normally help her parents with the grieving families directly, until one day when they ask her to help with Oren, a boy who was in a horrific car accident that killed both his parents. Oren refuses to speak and Evie, who is nursing her own private grief, is determined to find a way to help him deal with his loss.

Sorry for Your Loss by Joanne Levy was published by Orca Books in 2021.

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