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Grades: Grade 3, Grade 4

My Father’s Words

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Patricia MacLachlan pens another stunning book about grief, love, loss, and hope.
Fiona and Finn’s family revolves around their father, Declan. Kind, gentle, and funny, he fills their house with laughter. His favourite song is ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ – Grant Us Peace, which he hums even while challenging their mother to a one-on-0ne basketball game in the driveway. One day, Fiona receives the phone call which changes their lives forever. Declan, a psychiatrist, was on his way to an appointment when he swerved to miss a child and hit a truck, killing him instantly.
In the midst of anger and grief comes support in unusual ways. Thomas, one of Declan’s patients, calls Fiona once a week for two minutes and shares memories of her father with her. A neighbour suggests that the two children volunteer at the animal shelter to read to dogs. There, they meet Emma, a dog whose owner has died. Emma sits facing the wall every day and refuses to acknowledge anyone. Through these connections, the children learn to face the world again with hope.
Typical of MacLachlan, the book is short, the language designed for younger students, but I defy anyone to read it and not come away with a sense of wonder amid the sadness.

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