Theresa Fraser is a specialist in the field of children’s mental health. Her book Billy Had to Move (Loving Healing Press, 2009) tells the story of a 7-year-old boy, Billy, who learns about his grandmother’s death and is depressed, feels insecure, and misses his family. Social workers help Billy through the grieving process until he is eventually able to move on and get back to his normal life.
This book is important on account of its subject matter – grief management for kids – because we find that most of the books about grieving and bereavement are intended for adult audiences. How a child reacts to death of a loved one is something different and kids would only relate to the situation when shown through their eyes. This is what Billy Had to Move achieves.
In my opinion, this story could have been told more effectively if narrated more indirectly; for example, instead of starting with the sentence that tells us that his grandma died, it could have greater impact if we would learn later what happened and through Billy’s eyes. Some unnecessary details could also be pared off.
Alex Walton’s illustration of Billy is a major strength of the book. We see the boy’s expressions clearly and feel it as quite real. In addition, at the end of the book, there is a list of helpful resources for workers in this field and a brief Caregiver’s Guide, which all add to the book’s value.