Today I read "Eden and Her Joy" with a 6 year old boy that has just recently lost his grandma. This was the first official reading with a child! This was also the moment where the story became about someone else. His questions and comments were not what I was expecting, they were actually somehow much better than what I was expecting. He had clearly been trying to figure out where his grandma was. When I asked him where he thought she was, he said, "Up in the clouds!"
He wanted to know if the joy emotion in the heavenly characters turned off when they went to sleep. He wanted to know why they didn't fall through the clouds, and if they could peek their heads through. He was glad to know it was a happy place and he was very in tune to all of the people and animals there of various ages. At the end he wanted to verify that it was a dream and Eden didn't actually get to visit.
Going through the book for the first time with a child was actually a bit scary. Grief is scary, and we are all so conditioned not to talk about it, especially with children. But I know for a fact how important these conversations are going to be. At the end we went back and found all of the hidden Happy faces on the pages. I think this will be a key follow up to reading and discussing, because it is something fun and it made him smile to be able to find the tricky ones.