Layla, Queen of Hearts

Layla, Queen of Hearts

There are a few authors who see into the hearts, minds and souls of children as though looking with the most loving and penetrating soulascopes (new word I just made up). This author is one of them. Layla has a friend named Griffin whose family bakes bread, picks grapes from their own vines and generally celebrates life and lives to make memories. They are the Silk Family and they live in what Layla calls the Kingdom of Silks. On this Friday afternoon, Layla is happily headed home with Griffin to spend the weekend. She will blend right into this family and will be especially cherished by the grandmother, Nell. Layla has a report card in her backpack and on that report card is a message telling her parents that the Senior Citizen Day is coming soon and every child may invite someone elderly and special to come to school with them that day. Layla does not have a grandparent of her own. So, she and Nell make a list of Main Contenders and Last Resorts and start to visit older people to see if they are the perfect candidate for the mission. Along the way, all the Main Contenders get crossed through and Miss Amelie, a Last Resort, becomes the top of the list. Miss Amelie has Alzheimer's and each time Layla, Griffin and Nell go to visit her they have to remind her of who they are and why they are there. Miss Amelie struggles to remember their names but she does remember the name of her long lost beau, John William who was lost in the War. This is a gentle, reassuring story about grief and about loss of different kinds but it is done with a balance of heartwarming characters and life affirming moments that make it a joy to read. For those sensitive children who feel everything deeply and for those who perhaps need a bit of help finding their own feelings, this is a treasure. 128 pages Ages 8-10

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