A Shelter for Sadness is a story about a boy who builds a place for his Sadness, where it can be as loud or as quiet, as big or as small as it needs to be. The Sadness can be comfortable in the shelter, whether it be in the light or in the dark, no matter the weather. Booth’s writing was inspired by the words of Etty Hillesum: ‘Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due.’
Though this was published in January, this incredible book is a strong contender for my favourite picturebook of the year. The writing is gentle and reassuring, relaying the importance of giving difficult emotions the space they need to exist. Sadness is not depicted as something to be ashamed of or that it needs to be hidden away. Rather, Sadness is shown to be a real, vulnerable being that is deserving of compassion.
The illustrations are nothing short of breath-taking. Litchfield’s interpretation of Sadness beautifully complements the message of the text. I particularly adore the decision to give Sadness its own little heart – tiny and hidden, but always there and full of hope. The colours used in the illustrations are stunning and vibrant; you will want to spend hours admiring them.
A brilliant book to explore the concept of sadness in an accessible and comforting way, this is a book perfectly suited for all younger readers to help them articulate their experiences in a safe space.