Children’s Book Review: Angel Grandma by Heather Lean
Angel Grandma is a heartfelt poem that connects your child to their loved one who has passed on. It is a beautifully written reminder that those who are gone are never forgotten and that they are watching over us. The images in this book are magical and bring to life a stunning tribute to those we love.
Losing someone is an incredible life-changing moment for a child. This heavy and emotional experience can be too much for their small and tender hearts. Sometimes a story is the best way for your kids to overcome the feelings of loneliness, grief, and sadness when their loved ones pass away.
A heartfelt, pull at your heartstrings children’s book that can help you open up the dialogue of losing someone you love is children’s book, Angel Grandma, written by Heather Lean and illustrated by Sudipta Dasgupta.
This children’s book written in poetry form helps your children connect to their loved ones that have passed on. This book reminds children and even us adults that although our loved ones have passed, they are not forgotten.
Angel Grandma offers a safe way to open up a dialogue with children about death and grief as a family or one-on-one. I love how wonderfully written this book is and absolutely love the beautiful illustrations.
Death is a big topic for any of us, including our kids. It’s always painful and difficult to process when we lose someone we love. Books such as Angel Grandma are invaluable and must-have for if and whenever (God Forbid) our kids experience a loss. I recommend that if you aren’t currently dealing with a loss, you still add this book to your bookshelf, anyway. Introducing these concepts when you don’t need them might help a lot when you do.
Where Can I Find Children's Book "Angel Grandma?"
About Children's Book Author, Heather Lean
“Born in New York in 1981, Heather always enjoyed reading and writing as a child. Heather currently practices law and is a working mom. Heather lives in New York with her husband, two children, three cats – Dora, Geppetto, and Oreo and four chickens (Chérie, Alabama, Sweet Pea and Stevie).
She is working on convincing her husband to get a dog as well. She is a huge animal lover and has owned every pet imaginable. She has also rescued many animals that have crossed her path, even a fox.
After grieving the loss of her mother-in-law and her own mother, she took up writing again. When Heather was pregnant with her second child, her mother in law, Laura died suddenly. A year later, Heather’s own mother succumbed to her battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s and Heather found herself in an endless space of sadness and grief which she tried to suppress and ignore. Heather turned to meditation and spirituality to appease her sadness. What followed was peace, serenity and inner calmness.
Heather says that if her book helps even one child it’s worth it, but her wish is for it to touch and comfort many hearts around the world. Furthermore, she is committed to giving back. She believes we gain far more from giving than we ever can from receiving. Lastly, Heather wanted to show her children that when you truly have a passion you should pursue it and follow your heart. A portion of the net proceeds of Heather’s books and angel dolls will be donated to children’s charities.”
Rapid Fire with Heather Lean
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Heather: After I lost my mother in April 2019, I had experienced intense grief and depression. I’m a mom to two young children and had such little time to deal with my emotions and sadness. I wound up suppressing quite a bit. I was scrolling through Instagram one day and out of the blue saw an orphanage in Africa. I looked at some of their pictures of these kids smiling and happy, playing, and felt compelled to send them something. I thought to myself, HOW could these kids be so happy? How is it possible that children so young who lost BOTH their parents and are living with so little in comparison to us can be grateful, let alone happy?
I was seeking these answers myself. After giving them some money, I got the most beautiful video message from them, thanking me and telling me they loved me. I had intense gratitude, tears pouring down my face. My 4-year-old daughter saw this and was intrigued; after all, I’ve been trying to teach her gratitude myself (she would always ask for another doll or a new toy, and I’ve been trying to remind her to be grateful for what she has).
A couple of days later, I was driving in my car when an idea came to me- what if I wrote a book about the true story of our friendship? A story that explains the importance of love and gratitude. It was the first book I ever wrote, and it opened the door for me to experience joy, and eventually, my life’s purpose. Angel Grandma was the 4th book I wrote, but this interaction of love and gratitude set me on my path, and for that, I am forever grateful.
To this day, I donate to the kids, and they always ask me how my books are coming along, and they actively pray for me. I’ve never experienced such intense love from complete strangers. They changed my life, and indeed they saved me from a path of sadness and despair that I was on.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
Heather: My 4-year-old is so excited; indeed, she gives me ideas constantly. She’ll tell me, “‘Mommy write this down, or I have another idea.” From titles of books to beautiful little dreamscapes she thinks up, she is full of wonderful insight from the magical mind of a child. She is my target audience, so if I ask her opinion, she is brutally honest, but she is also so proud. She tells people, “My mom is an author,” even though I don’t necessarily think of myself as one.
Then she says she is going to be an author when she grows up and also a Doctor so that she can help people. I always tell her she can be anything she wants to be! My son is only 2, but he is also an inspiration. He is a wild and funny toddler, and I try to write it all down.
One of the books I’m in the process of writing is about a little boy growing up, and his wild antics, clearly inspired by my son. My son is like a new soul with no fear; he constantly keeps me on my toes. My husband is very proud of me as well and also gives me his honest opinion. They support me and inspire me, and that’s the greatest feeling.
Q. What advice do you have for writers?
Heather: Keep going. This has been a huge lesson learned for me. Every time things got hard, I second-guessed myself, and I doubted myself or my books. When I felt like giving up, I’d have to refocus and realign with my purpose. Why are you doing this? If it’s just for money, there’s plenty of other things you can pursue. I wanted to help children and adults alike.
In my Angel books, the goal is to help them cope with grief and provide them with a message that love is endless. Every time I fell off track, I’d keep telling myself, “what is your why?” When I made it about helping people instead of my ego, I came back to the right place. My advice for writers, don’t stop. You’ll have setbacks, you’ll question yourself, but the only way you fail is by giving up. We can accomplish great things by persistence. Some of the most talented and brilliant works will never come to be because writers gave up. Never ever give up. It’s so important it is worth repeating, NEVER EVER give up.
Q. How did you become involved in the subject or theme of your book?
Heather: Angel Grandma wasn’t my first book, but it was the book I decided to publish first. My mother passed away in April 2019, and when I set out with the intention to write this book, I made the goal of getting it out to the world before the anniversary of her passing. She passed on 4/4/19, and her birthday is 4/5, and I officially launched the book at the end of March 2020.
When I sat down to write Angel Grandma initially, back in October 2019, it was a poem for my children to explain the never-ending love of both their grandmas who had passed on. They will grow up not remembering very much about my mom (they were only 18 months and 3 years old when she passed), so I wrote this poem, from a place of wanting them to understand they will always be with them.
It also helped me in the healing process as I was suffering from my own grief. I didn’t think at first it was anything more than a poem to my kids, but when I showed it to my husband (who also lost his mom a year before my own), he told me, “It’s going to be a great book.” It then became a thought that I put into action.
One of my best friends tragically lost her mother-in-law right when I lost my mom, and there are so many people I am connected to, from my sister-in-law, cousins, friends, who all experienced the loss of their mothers and many who have young children. As adults, we all had a hard time coping with it, then I thought of our kids and realized a book like this was sorely needed. I was nervous because the topic of death was very taboo, but my intention was always to help others, so that is what I tried to focus on.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Heather: When I’m not writing or working on books, I’m spending time with my family, our cats, and our chickens. I am a huge animal lover. Currently, we have 3 cats (Oreo, Dora, and Geppetto) and 4 hens (Chérie, Alabama, Sweet Pea, and Stevie). Chérie is our bright red hen, and she’s the rebel, always looking to escape. The other 3 always stick together, but I’m constantly searching or running after Chérie who got into the woods or somehow into our neighbor’s yard, she keeps me busy, that one!
On top of all that, I’m looking to bring a dog into the mix. I always grew up with dogs, but my husband isn’t fully on board yet. With 3 cats, 4 hens, 2 kids (and hopefully a dog), I know it’s a lot of work, but they also give a lot of love. I’ve been wanting a dog for some time now. I’m hoping as the kids get older, they can even help out a bit!
Q. What does your creative process look like?
Heather: The creative process is a little messy for me. Sometimes I’ll have a line pop into my head, and I’ll write it down. Sometimes I’ll be inspired by a title, and I’ll write it down with the intention to create the story at a later time. I’ll take note of things I hear, see, and experience. It might be a little jumbled up at first, but then I’ll come back to organize it and piece it together.
For Angel Grandma, it all came out within a day because I had the ideas in my head for some time, but I wasn’t ready to deal with writing it down. Of course, when I finally did, I wrote through tears and emotions I had not let myself previously experience.
On the other hand, one book I’m currently writing, I had the main verse in my head and wrote it down, but that was it. I couldn’t for the life of me think of how to write the book for several months. I wound up coming back to it at a time when I was going through a tough situation, and it was a beautiful reminder that even in our most difficult times, there’s a lesson to be learned from it.
The book is about a little boy who sees things in his world going wrong. He then takes his own action to spread love to each person he encounters, and in the end, all that love comes back. I couldn’t write that story until I found myself in a troubling situation, and I was trying to find a way to move through it. So transmuting the pain into love has been a real experience for me.
So far, everything I’ve written has come from a place of truthfulness and being very candid in my own life. That’s not to say I won’t write a funny book one day, but so far, I’m drawing from my own personal experience.
Q. What do you love most about being an Author?
Heather: It gives you an outlet, a freedom of expression. I truly believe we all have some form of creativity inside of us. Some of us are storytellers, some artists, some comedians. We all have this inner gift we can bring to the world, and in turn, we can help ourselves in the process.
It is in this “giving” that we receive. I have found a purpose and something to keep me on track, that is both personally and professionally fulfilling. I cannot even imagine my life without it now.
Q. Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding moments you have had as an author?
Heather: Hearing how much my book has helped people. The response has been wonderful. Even adults reading it said it made them think of their parents who have passed on and connected them to this never-ending love.
It’s great to have nice things and to make a lot of money, of course, but for me, there is no greater joy than helping others. All other material possessions are fleeting and temporary; they bring you happiness for a very short time, and then you are seeking that fulfillment again.
To help others is what fulfills me, it gives me a purpose and hopefully inspires my children to want to help others as well. To see the reviews or get the emails or text messages from people saying “thank you” for writing this book, not to sound corny, but it brings tears to my eyes. It makes me so happy.
Q. Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to share with your readers about?
Heather: Yes! I heard quite a bit of response asking to make other Angel books, as this one was specific to the loss of a Grandma. Of course, the message is one of universal love, but I heard the requests and happy to say I’m currently working on Angel Grandpa.
I will be launching a Kickstarter soon to offer both books and make an even more beautiful package for kids and adults alike. I want the books to be forever keepsakes, and so we have some very exciting things we’ll be rolling out soon! Stay tuned!
Q. What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Heather: Whether you’re religious or spiritual, the book simply talks about endless love. Even though we physically cannot see them, they are still with us, guiding us, sending us signs.
Moreover, just because we process the loss of someone, doesn’t mean we don’t still feel sad or miss them. Looking at pictures, reading a book, keeping mementos of those we love, and talking about them keeps the memories of our loved ones alive. I never want my children to feel it’s “taboo” to talk about their grandmas or about losing someone or even a pet.
We recently lost our dear kitty, Sasha. After suffering the loss of my mom, I didn’t expect losing my cat to have such a profound impact on me, but it did. Grief can hit you like a wave, suddenly out of nowhere, but suppressing these emotions of grief and hurt, does not help us. While I want the book to be an uplifting story, sometimes people get a little teary-eyed reading it, and that’s ok too.
My daughter sometimes cries for her angel grandma, and we remind her she’s still with her, but in a different form. It’s a difficult subject, of course, but one we cannot ignore. The book is a comforting book that reminds children of the lasting love of their Angel Grandma or someone they lost.
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All in all, my family and I have really enjoyed this book and we know you will too! Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions about this review. I look forward to hearing from you!
* This book was kindly sent to me by Author, Heather Lean in exchange for an honest review.