“Harmony Dances On” by Mandy Woolf

“Harmony Dances On” by Mandy Woolf 175 219 Reader Views Kids

Harmony Dances On

Mandy Woolf
The Book Reality Experience (2023)
ISBN: 978-1922670960
Reviewed by Diana Coyle for Reader Views (05/2023)

In “Harmony Dances On: A Book About Grief” by Mandy Woolf, we are introduced to Harmony and find out that she is crying because she misses her deceased mom terribly. Nothing seems to cheer her up no matter how hard her dad and grandmother try. Poor Harmony is concerned and fearful about what will happen to her now since her mom is no longer there to care for her. But her dad and grandmother reassure her that they both will care for her, and the pain will be a bit more bearable as time passes. Does Harmony realize she’s safe being cared for by her dad and grandmother? Will her heartache ever lighten for her?

This was a great children’s story showing how Harmony wasn’t accepting her mom’s recent death and just how her family stepped up to reassure her that even though they all missed her mom, they would get through the grief together. I loved how her dad and grandmother reassured Harmony that her mother will always be with her in spirit and to always remember the fun times they had together. Those loving memories will help her through the pain and grief.

I liked how Ms. Woolf handled the topic of death, especially with it being about Harmony’s mother, because the loss of a parent is a profound pain for a child to deal with. The author carefully told the story allowing younger children the space they need to possibly deal with the death of their own parent. The characters were extremely believable, and the storyline handles a serious topic some families have to deal with when they least expect it. I felt that even though the topic was heavy, the author added levity at just the right times to carry the story along for her readers.

I want to add that Ms. Woolf included activities and a discussion area for children, parents, and teachers to use which will add to the overall learning experience while reading this book. A few examples included an Emotion Wheel breaking down emotions into different colored sections which the child can use to express how they are feeling at a particular time. One of my favorite activities was one she called the Heart Jar. This is a picture of an empty jar in which the child can write about any worries or sad thoughts they might be having which allows them to let go of those thoughts to be stored in the jar. I loved the idea so much that as an adult I adopted it into my own journaling routine to help me work through my own fears or sad thoughts I might be experiencing from time to time.

I really enjoyed reading Ms. Woolf’s story and I feel it is an invaluable asset parents, grandparents, and teachers can use to help a child work through the loss and grief they experience after losing a loved one. Although there wasn’t any age or grade range provided, I would say that “Harmony Dances On: A Book About Grief” by Mandy Woolf is for younger readers. The story is told in simple sentences and illustrations that younger readers could read by themselves, or could easily follow along if read to. As an adult, I enjoyed reading Harmony’s story and without a doubt, I think younger readers will as well. 

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