“Books Heal Hearts” is a project set up by the Cyrenius H. Booth Library with donations, both monetary and physical books, given in response to the Sandy Hook School tragedy. While many of the book donations will be added to our permanent collection, we have multiple copies of many titles freely available for community groups and members to keep or pass along to others. Books Heal Hearts is a special project for healing that will make materials available for use in our library, our schools, and throughout our community, wherever there is a need and whatever that need may be. This will be an ongoing effort by the library to meet the immediate and future needs of our community.
Checks made out to: Cyrenius H. Booth Library with Books Heal Hearts written on the memo line can be mailed to:
Cyrenius H. Booth Library
25 Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470
Donations can also be made through the Booth Library's JustGive page. Please select "Books Heal Hearts" on the Program selection dropdown. Click here to give online through JustGive.
PLEASE contact the library before sending a large quantity of any title so that we can better match needs. Children's title inquiries can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org. Adult title inquires can be made to email@example.com. Thank you.
All donations are tax-deductible.
We currently have multiple copies of the following titles freely available. Books can be picked up at the library and are on display on the 3rd floor near the Reference Desk. Please let us know if there is a specific title you need or if you need a large quantity. We especially encourage Newtown's & Sandy Hook's families, teachers, counselors and clergy to contact us with your needs, including titles that we may have run out of. These books are being given and do not need to be returned to the library.
The response has been wonderful. This list will continue to change, please check back. We currently have multiple copies of these titles along with single/few copies of other titles (updated 12/8/14).
- Blessings of a Broken Heart by Sherri Mandell Mandell, an American-born writer, who has lived with her family in Israel since 1996, not only had to deal with the loss of the oldest of her four children, 13-year-old Koby, but also had to cope with the horrific way in which he lost his life. On May 8, 2001, Koby and a friend, Yosef, played hooky from school to hike in a canyon close to their home in Tekoa, a West Bank settlement on disputed land. Koby and Yosef were found bludgeoned to death with stones, an act attributed to Palestinian terrorists. The author writes movingly about her beloved son and brings him to life as an energetic, curious adolescent who loved books and sports. Despite the despair that engulfed her in the first days after Koby's death, the author's strong bond with her husband, Rabbi Seth Mandell, and her deep religious faith allowed her to fully experience the painful process of mourning, deal with the guilt she felt about living in an unsafe place and find an inspiring direction for her life. The text is laced with references to prayer and the Jewish traditions that Mandell relied on to help her understand why God had taken her son. Determined not to let their lives be ruled by hate, the Mandells have established the Koby Mandell Foundation, which sponsors healing retreats for women bereaved by terrorist violence as well as a camp for children whose parents or siblings have been killed by terrorists.
- Dancing in the Sky: a story of hope for grieving hearts by Vescinda McDonald In her book, Dancing in the Sky, Chaplain McDonald relates her personal struggle dealing with grief, its many triggers, and finally the joy of surrender through prayer and faith. She shares her intimate story of tragic loss, deep grief, and how her faith supported her. In time, it brought healing and new life. Her story invites us to process our own losses.
- Friendships with the Heart by Glenna Orr. Hearts speak to hearts-that is what occurs when friendships are put into play. When kindness and a generosity of spirit blend together between two beings, most certainly a great gift can come from it. Friendships give us laughter and comfort-the encouragement and the freedom to be ourselves. Friends understand...they weep with you, sing with you, pray with you, and they do love you. Friendships With The Heart is a presentation of some pretty remarkable friendships. The people and four-legged creatures that I have written about in this book have plenty in common-they all are very special and they accept one another with unconditional caring. These friends have encouraged each other, and it has been possible for them to enjoy the joyous times together and in turn...find the strength to sustain the challenges that perhaps may have come their way. These special friends in this collection of stories share the common threads of compassion and trust-they educate each other's heart.
- Guardian of Dreams: a bedtime story by Wendy Torrel Short fable about a rabbit who wakens from a nightmare and is unable to go back to sleep. Through the advice of the dream guardian, a horse, the rabbit discovers a remedy for his sleepless state.
- The Healing Book: facing the death and celebrating the life of someone you love by Ellen Sabin The Healing Book is an interactive book to help children and families express their feelings, ask questions, and explore their memories about a loved one who has passed away. It is an activity book, journal, and conversation-starter that children can make their own and use in whatever way best meets their needs during the grieving and remembering process.
- Hearts Always Open by Glenna Orr. Hearts Always Open is a realistic fiction book that takes its readers on a journey through the unassuming eyes of children and through the open hearts of seniors who have a lifetime experiences to share. Together, the two groups of wonderful people, at very different stages in life make meaningful connections. Hearts Always Open seeks to remind its readers of the intrinsic values of friendship and compassion, and of the importance of tradition in the lives of people.
- Heaven is for Real: a little boy's astounding story of his trip to heaven and back by Todd Burpo Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.
- To Heaven After the Storm by Ari Hallmark. To Heaven After the Storm is Ari Hallmark's account of her encounter with the heavens. During the April 2011 tornadoes in Arab, Alabama, Ari's parents', grandparents' and cousin's lives were taken, and Ari was knocked unconscious. While her physical body was unconscious, her spirit was invited by angels to go on a journey to the heavens. This book, transcribed by grief counselor Lisa Reburn, is about Ari's journey to and from heaven. Her story is profound and beautiful and continues to awe and inspire those around her.
- Memories With The Heart by Glenna Orr Memories With The Heart is a book that recounts true-to-life experiences between a grandmother and her grandson. So many events that have been shared between Charlie and his Ninny have come to life during the most unexpected and unassuming moments, and the memories have become everlasting. As this story unfolds, the young toddler, Charlie, asks the first question about his mother that passed away when Charlie was a very young child. As time passes, and as Charlie continues to want to know his mother, it is his grandmother that is teaching her grandson about his mother that loved him so dearly. Memories make memories-they allow people of all ages to reminisce and to recall those times when nothing else matters except those that they truly love.
- Mommy Please Don't Cry: There Are No Tears In Heaven by Linda Deymaz. Mommy, Please Don't Cry is a book of love and comfort for mothers who have experienced the deep sorrow of losing a child. Serene illustrations frame gentle words that describe heaven from a child's perspective. With room for the reader's personal reflections at the end of the book, every page is a poignant gift of hope and healing.
- Open to Hope: inspirational stories for handling the holidays after loss by Dr. Gloria Horsley Getting through the hectic holiday season can be especially tough when you re grieving the loss of someone you love. There may even be more than one cherished person missing from your Thanksgiving table this year. When you and your family are grieving, how do get through the demanding days ahead, filled with social gatherings, gift shopping, and holiday cheer you may not be feeling? You will find plenty of practical advice and encouragement from these heartfelt stories and articles contributed by the writers at the Open to Hope Foundation. Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley, a mother-daughter team, created Open to Hope in 2008 to provide interactive forums with a simple mission: helping people find hope after loss. They, along with many of the Open to Hope contributors, have navigated many of the same confusing, anxiety-producing decisions, and other potentially tearful moments, you may be coping with now.
- Pepper's Dragons: a tale of hard times, hope and healing by Stacia Bjarnason, PhD Pepper’s Dragons is a children’s story book written by Stacia Bjarnason, PhD, a clinical psychologist who has been helping some of the children of Sandy Hook since 12/14. She has found that working with fairy tales can give children a safe way to talk about grief and trauma in a less threatening way. Pepper’s Dragons got its start when Pepper, the real bunny, went for a visit to Sandy Hook to help children there. He had the same sort of curious caution as some of the children. When he was startled by a loud noise it led to a wonderful conversation about how “jumpy” some of the children felt. It was a very natural and easy shift into talking about a difficult subject.
- When a Friend Dies: a book for teens about grieving & healing by Marilyn E. Gootman, Ed.D. The death of a friend is a wrenching event for anyone at any age. Teenagers especially need help coping with this painful loss. This sensitive book answers questions grieving teens often have, like “How should I be acting?” “Is it wrong to go to parties and have fun?” and “What if I can’t handle my grief on my own?”
Author Glenna Orr came to the library (when we were closed just after the Children's Flood) to drop off some copies of her latest book, Friendships with the Heart. Ms. Orr's books have been a mainstay of the Books Heal Hearts collection and we were so glad to add this latest volume.
Left: Glenna Orr with the Books Heal Hearts Collection.
Right: C.H. Booth Library Director Brenda McKinley, Glenna Orr, Head of Reference Andy Forsyth, Newtowner Mary-Barrett Anders