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Published February 25th 2020
Re-building after loss and grief
The pain of loss can be overwhelming. It can bring a raft of emotions with feelings of emptiness when our hearts are broken and our heads full of questions of best how to heal and feel whole again.
What becomes of the broken-hearted? This is a question Brisbane author J (Jacqueline) Henry addresses in her beautiful debut picture book, The Whole Heart.
Written as a fable, the story follows the steps of a young girl as she tries to understand and come to terms with the loss of her grandfather. She sees a sign outside Harry's Repair Shop which reads, "Harry can fix anything."
So, with hope, she steps inside and learns some important lessons to help guide and heal her heart. In a very subtle way, Jacqueline offers us gentle and kind messages which apply to anyone at any age:
She manages to navigate one of life's most difficult topics with bountiful warmth and sensitivity and the book reminds us that:
While time helps us to heal, everyone's timeline for recovery is different.
Our hearts carry the history and memories of our love.
It's important to be open to love again after heartbreak.
The story idea came to Jacqueline when she was driving from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and she spotted a truck with the tray covered with work gear. It looked to her that the owner of the truck, who was an older man, could likely fix anything except a broken heart. And from there, the gem of the idea was born.
The Artwork and Design
The simple design of this hardcover book is clean and fresh with lots of white space and reflective illustrations to let the story shine through.
Jacqueline said she wanted each heart to be illustrated by a different person because every heart is different. "I created the cover heart and I had five illustrators, my cousin, my sister-in-law, my niece and two girlfriends, create the other hearts and illustrations, " she said.
My Verdict The Whole Heart is a short yet powerful read. It challenges us to ask ourselves what kind of heart we have and want. It leaves the reader feeling uplifted and hopeful and is a rich and always timely reminder that life's greatest gift is love.
The book was launched at the heritage-listed Sandgate Town Hall in Sandgate in February 2020 and is published by Quest Community News.