Featured KidLit – MOONLIGHT MEMORIES by Amanda Davis

MOONLIGHT MEMORIES tells the story of a young girl who is dealing with the loss of a loved one and finds comfort and healing through creativity. The story was inspired by Amanda’s own personal experience with losing her father at a young age and using the arts to process, escape, and heal. Through her words and visuals, she realized she would always carry the memory of her father with her. What follows is an imaginary conversation with grown-up Amanda and her younger self. 

In conversation with Amanda & Amanda
 

Hey there! Thanks for chatting with me!

 

Sure. This is kinda weird though.

 

You’re right but also pretty cool. How many people get the chance to do this?

 

True. 

I wanted to let you know that I’m sorry Dad died. I still think about it today but can’t really remember you sharing how it made you feel. So…how are you feeling?

I dunno, okay. No ones really talking to me about it though. It feels like they don’t care or are just trying to pretend like it didn’t happen. I guess that’s sorta how it feels-like it didn’t happen.
I can see that. Things just kept going. Moving forward. Which was hard. But now that I’m old, I can tell you that people did care. They do care. But sometimes, older people don’t know how to talk about hard things. 

Why?
It makes them uncomfortable, or sad, or feeling certain things they don’t want to feel, so instead, they don’t talk about it at all. I’m working to change that by telling our story. Talking about death and dying and sadness and all that other stuff that people sometimes don’t know how to talk about.

Why would you want to do that?
 
I guess so they don’t feel so alone. Sorta like how you feel. 

That makes sense. The only time I don’t feel alone or sad is when I’m writing or drawing. It makes me feel better. Are you still writing and drawing?
Yes! I actually decided to teach art because of how good it makes us feel. I wanted to share that with other kids so they could feel good and tell their stories too. I did that for over ten years and now I’m making books for children. Telling our story and others’ stories about loss and healing so they can have books to turn to and be empowered to tell their stories too. 
 

Wow. That’s cool.

It really is. I have a book coming out that’s about losing a parent. Just like how we did. The main character, Piper, uses art as a way to heal. Just like us!

Is drawing helping me heal? I know it makes me feel good when I create stuff but I didn’t think it could help me in that way.
It is helping you heal and it will continue to do so throughout your life. Thanks for picking up that pencil and paper to help me find my way as a grown-up. 

You’re welcome.
And just so you know, you’ll continue to have bumps along the way but each experience will help you navigate the next a little bit easier and help you feel more deeply for others.  Things will get better and later in life you’ll use your story and your love for the arts to help others.

I can’t wait. Thanks for talking to me about this. It actually feels better to talk about it.
It does! You should also speak to a professional about how you feel. I do now and it truly helps! I wish someone suggested that when Dad died.

Maybe I can talk to a counselor at school?
Good idea!

Do you only write and draw about the sad stuff?
Ha, no. I write and draw about other stuff too. This just feels like what I need to be focusing on at the moment. And all my books always have an element of light and hope in them. Such as Moonlight Memories. Piper loses her Mama but gains art as a tool for healing and the recognition that her mother will always live on through the memories they shared. We must ALWAYS look for the bright spots. Even during hard times.

Gotcha! I’ll keep looking for those bright spots.
Me, too.

 

Make a Memory Rock!

What are some other ways we can capture memories of our loved ones? One way is to create a Memory Rock that has a word that reminds you of your loved one on  it. You can carry your Memory Rock with you as a reminder that your loved one is with you always or you could leave it in a place that your loved one enjoyed.

Memory Rock Project by Amanda Davis

Find the corresponding worksheet with project instructions at www.amandadavisart.com

ABOUT the BOOK
MOONLIGHT MEMORIES
written by Amanda Davis, illustrated by Michelle Jing Chan


Discover how a young girl gains healing and hope as she processes the loss of a loved one in this beautifully sensitive story.

Piper is feeling sad and empty after the loss of her mother. So when her father, who is struggling in his own way, gives her a telescope to console her, she’s excited to explore the night sky. But she doesn’t find stars or planets when she looks through her lens. Instead, she finds a constellation of memories, a treasured collection of big and small moments with her mother, which she hurries to draw before they fade from view. Night after night she sketches, until eventually, she finds herself in a room covered in memories, surrounded by reminders of her mother’s love.

This poignant book offers children a pathway to acknowledge and process their grief over the loss of a loved one. The author’s spare and lyrical language provides the emotional depth the topic requires, while allowing parents and caregivers to use the book to begin deeper conversations with their young loved ones. Whether children choose to use art as their outlet or find another way, the message is clear: they can carry the memories of their loved ones with them. An ending Note to Parents features guidance from a licensed children’s counselor about how to use the book and where to find additional resources. Written from a place of personal experience, this story strives to bring comfort to children hurting after loss.

About Amanda Davis

​Hi Friends! My name is Amanda Davis. I’m a teacher, artist, writer, and innovator who uses my words and pictures to light up the world with kindness. After losing my father at the age of twelve, I turned to art and writing as an outlet. It became my voice. A way to cope. A way to escape. And a way to tell my story. I was thus inspired to teach art and pursue my passion for writing and illustrating children’s books. Through my work, I strive to empower younger generations to tell their own stories and offer children and adults an entryway into a world of discovery. A world that can help them make sense of themselves, others, and the community around them. A world where they can navigate, imagine, and feel inspired—over and over again.

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