BEAUFORT, N.C.—Skittles, a Hospice volunteer and certified by Therapy Dogs International, has found a new way to help children who have lost a loved one, whether that loved one be a person or even a pet. The toy poodle debuted this month as the main character in “The Yearning Tree: A Children’s Bereavement Resource,” written by award-winning author Gina Farago and photographed by her husband, Karl.
Farago and Skittles volunteered with Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, N.C., for one and a half years before moving to Beaufort last November. They also provided pet therapy at Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., which serves children of all ages with chronic and debilitating diseases. These experiences, along with the deaths of Farago’s own parents, were the impetus for writing the book.
“Getting children to talk about their feelings after losing a loved one is very difficult,” Farago said. “A parent, teacher, or even a counselor can use this book and its accompanying questions as a bridge to help a child open up about what they’re experiencing and perhaps give them some comfort in the process.”
“The Yearning Tree” is an inspirational story of Maggie, a Belgian Malinois, and Skittles, who embark on a journey toward emotional healing after Maggie’s friend Sammy dies and is buried by the old tree on the hill. Featuring color photographs, “The Yearning Tree” takes the reader on an adventure from the farm where the story begins, through the mountains, down by the sea, and home to the farm again. Along the way, children explore the different stages of grief. The book ends with ten discussion questions for parental or classroom use with the child and a blank page where he or she can draw their own memorial to a loved one.
For more information, see www.theyearningtree.net. Copies of “The Yearning Tree: A Children’s Bereavement Resource” are available for order from the author’s Web site, bookstores, or online retailers. A portion of the proceeds goes toward printing additional books to donate to charitable organizations.
Werewolf Author Snares New York Book Award
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Author Gina Farago is the winner of the New York Book Festival Award in the category "genre-based" for her novel, Ivy Cole and the Moon. The New York Book Festival holds its annual competition "to bring greater attention to worthy works of literature and grow their cultural impact beyond the grassroots." This year's competition recognized titles written between 2003 and the present.
"This is my first novel, and to win the New York award and receive all the other recognition since Ivy Cole's release has been a blessing for me," Farago said. The supernatural thriller starring a lady werewolf was also a Benjamin Franklin Silver Award winner and a top finalist for the Compton Crook and IPPY awards in 2006.
A "werewolf expert" and wolf advocate, Farago has appeared on television, radio, and panels to discuss her research on wolf behavior, werewolf legends, and lore. Her studies included personal interaction with a gray wolf pack, observing first-hand the animals' social behavior and hunting techniques. Farago's second book in the Ivy Cole series, Luna, will be out January 2008.
The New York Book Festival Awards were presented June 22 at a ceremony in Manhattan, followed by the book festival itself on June 23 in Central Park. The festival featured author readings, signings, and more. Contact www.newyorkbookfestival.com for more information.