Title of Book: Tear Soup
Author: Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen
Illustrator: Taylor Bills
Publisher: Grief Watch (June 1, 2005)
Audience: 10 and up
Summary of Book: Tear Soup is about a woman, Grandy, who has suffered a loss in her life. To help process her grief the woman cooks up a batch of “tear soup” of which the ingredients are the emotions she has experienced. Along the way she dispenses a recipe of sound advice for people who are in mourning or know someone who has suffered a loss. This story validates the reader grief experience. The book ends with a nice summary of Grandy’s journey, “I’ve learned that grief, like a pot of soup, changes the longer it simmers and the more things you put into it. I’ve learned that sometimes people say unkind things, but they really don’t mean to hurt you…and most importantly, I’ve learned that there is something down deep within all of us ready to help us survive the things we think we can’t survive.”
Central Literary Elements: Tear Soup is a modern day fable that is beautifully and poetically written. This story book is about a woman who has suffered a loss and cooks up a special batch of “tear soup,” blending the ingredients of her life into the grief process. Tear Soup has incredible insight into the grieving process and puts it into a simple metaphors that makes it understandable. It also helps those going through it see that they are normal, and helps those trying to be there for the grieving person understand what their loved one is going through. This story illustrates that it acceptable for every reader to absolutely do grief “their way.” This book has rich illustrations and will generate topics of discussion for the reader.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/abilities: This book may be difficult for preschool children to understand the significance of all the metaphors.
Theological Conversation Partners: John 14:18, Psalm 46:1, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Faith Talk Questions:
- Where is God when you feel alone?
- How long is the grief cycle? How do you cope?
- What does metaphor of tear soup represent in your life?
- What other types of loss do people deal with during the course of their lives?
- Is there a difference between grieving the other losses and grieving a love one that has died?
- What smells evoke memories of a loss? How do you manage this from day to day?
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Tim Tate.
Tear Soup by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.