OPINION | READ TO ME: What to do when ‘Sadness Is at Your Door’

“When Sadness Is at Your Door” by Eva Eland (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2019), ages 3-7, 28 pages, $17.99 hardback, $10.99 eBook. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Celia Storey)

TITLE: "When Sadness Is at Your Door"

BY: Eva Eland (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2019), ages 3-7, 28 pages, $17.99 hardback, $10.99 eBook.

STORY: It was raining endlessly, drowning moths in flowerpots and dimming the afternoon. A newspaper story about fireflies reminded me how watching them and chasing after them brings magic to darkness. So, I went looking for my favorite firefly book for kids, Helen Frost and Rick Lieder's "Among a Thousand Fireflies." Couldn't find it. But while I was pulling one narrow spine after another from the shelf, out fell Eva Eland's brief, wise book.

Sometimes sadness just shows up at your door. It has come to visit. So, you should let it in.

Eland explains sadness as a lumpy, downcast visitor that might arrive without warning. It comes inside your home, droops around and sits so close you feel a little smothered.

You don't have to be afraid. Say hello to sadness. This visitor just needs some gentle attention.

Eland has practical suggestions for things to do with sadness:

"Give it a name.

"Listen to it. Ask where it comes from and what it needs.

"If you don't understand each other just sit together and be quiet for a while.

"Find something that you both enjoy, like drawing ... listening to music or drinking hot chocolate."

Maybe sadness would like a walk under some trees.

Maybe all it needs is to know that it is not alone.

Children have reasons to feel sad some days, as do we all. It's part of being human. A calm little quiet book like this is a comfort for adults and a useful lesson in self-care for kids.

Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.