A few weeks ago, I was invited to read and review the book “Sea and Sand”, written and illustrated by Jonathan Lang.
Jonathan wrote the book in order to explain his and his wife’s divorce to their two young children. Jonathan and his wife have a fabulous relationship which is very unusual, and as he says in the book’s foreword “…even when things don’t work, they still work out.”
First of all, I was very impressed with the book itself; it’s a big book printed on quality paper with wonderfully colourful illustrations.
I’ve never been divorced, but I raised my son on my own. I was exceptionally blessed in that my son and I have always spoken to each other about everything, but there were times when I wished I had a story I could tell my son to explain why I was raising him on my own…
Using sea turtles and land turtles, Jonathan tells a story about how two similar- yet very different animals- fell in love with each other’s specialness and got married. He tells of how both turtles sacrificed parts of themselves and the things they loved to try to make each other happy. He tells of how they loved each other and their children. And he tells of how the sacrifices they had made weren’t making them happy and they were afraid their children would be miserable. The story ends where Jonathan explains living apart and shared custody as something that made Erin and Timmy turtle happier grownups, and that the turtle children need never worry about as they are still loved by both mommy and daddy turtle.
I liked this book. The language is simple and clear, and the story is easy to understand. It explains wonderfully how two people can really love each other but not be able to live together because they are just too different.
I can imagine how reading a story like this to children who are going through or have experienced divorce- as sad as the story may be- may ease the stress a child feels when his parents can no longer stay together. No matter the reassurances, children often blame themselves if their parents split, and think that had they behaved better or done better at school things may have been different. This story puts the responsibility for the split squarely on Erin and Timmy turtle’s shells, in a nice way. 🙂