Every time I speak or do a book signing or even just mention that I wrote a book, I get hit with the same questions. So, with that in mind, here is what you need to know about Heaven’s Bell!
What is the book, Heaven’s Bell, about?
It’s about two BFFs that are in middle school. They’re both 11 years old, and they have to cope with death. The story leans into the reader’s imagination by creating opportunities to explore how we think about our loved ones who have died. Heaven’s Bell creates a personal and safe way to think about memories and space to grieve.
Is Heaven’s Bell a religious book?
It is spiritually impartial. All beliefs are welcome. At its heart, Heaven’s Bell is more of a whimsical story. For example, the story refers to outer space and heaven. But it is more about unconditional love and friendship, and how both of those things can last an eternity. How that eternity looks is actually up to the individual reader as is their own journey of healing.
Why did you write this book?
The honest truth is I’ve never really been good with death and dying. I created this story when I was young because it helped me to heal and process loss. About 10 years ago I started sharing the story verbally and it created an outpouring of memories, conversations, and storytelling. People were smiling and remembering their loved ones immediately in a way that wasn’t sad anymore. Heaven’s Bell provides the prompt and encouragement for readers to use their own emotions and their own experiences to find peace and healing. I wanted more opportunities for this kind of impact, so my story is now a book and also on audio.
Why now, if you’ve been telling the story or thinking about the story since you were a kid?
The short answer – COVID! The pandemic really shook me to my core, as I’m sure it did you. We were all stripped of our bereavement rituals, our traditional funerals, and just being able to get together in someone’s living room to grieve the loss of a loved one. We were isolated from our families and friends, so I launched the story of Heaven’s Bell to help us all heal, even if we share our reflections about our loved ones on a Zoom video.
How does Heaven’s Bell help children deal with loss?
I believe Heaven’s Bell can be a private place where kids (as the reader or listener) will be able to reflect and explore their own memories and feelings un-rushed. It’s not a scary or awkward “real time” interaction about death. And by having that private opportunity to know the story of Heaven’s Bell and knowing that other family members and friends have also read the story, it allows the child to come into a conversation with a running start about a memory (or their drawing to talk about). Heaven’s Bell creates an easier, more comfortable way to begin difficult conversations and begin healing.
Now, I have a few questions for you.
If you’ve already read Heaven’s Bell, what conversations or memories did it create for you? Share them in the comments or tag me @sherriebarchauthor on Facebook. It fills me up to hear these stories!
I can’t wait to hear from you!