Title: In Memory of Michael
Author: Wanda M. Yoder
Series: Hammond Cousins series, book 3
Major Themes: Family Life, Christian Family, Death, Grief
Synopsis: Marilyn Hammond’s family has been eagerly anticipating a new baby in the house, but how will they cope when the much-loved baby dies soon after birth?
In Memory of Michael is a very hard book to read, especially out loud. The reason? It is very real. Wanda M. Yoder has written a story about a family whose long-awaited baby is born, but only lives a few hours because of an undiagnosed heart problem. The emotions she describes as the parents and four girls process what has happened will bring you to tears—at least, I found myself crying through several chapters as I read this book to my family recently. One of my boys, who is quite a baby-lover, called this “the sad book”.
So why would you want to read a story that makes you cry like this? A story about a baby dying? Because it’s real. This really happens. Just last week it happened to a dear friend of mine, whose family had been eagerly anticipating a new baby. Reading In Memory of Michael helps us to empathize with them better. Also, we can learn how to handle other disappointments and trials that happen in our lives, from reading this book. The parents, while they obviously struggle with grief as much as their daughters, are able to help their daughters to see that God is still loving, even when He allows bad things to happen. They are able to help a neighbor woman who is bitter about circumstances in her life, as a result of having had the great sorrow they have. We also see the family working through the grieving process and being able to move on and experience joy again.
In Memory of Michael is a wonderful story of a Christian family with a supportive community. If you can find a copy (it is out of print), I highly recommend this book. Just keep a box of tissues handy while you read!
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12, 10 – 12