Broye: A book to talk about grief with children

Broye: A book to talk about grief with children
Broye: A book to talk about grief with children

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The book Sadness and Hope at the Foot of the Grand Oak written and illustrated by Staviacois Nadja Huguet and Philippe Causse tells the story of a child’s quest to overcome his grief. A book in which nature plays a primordial role.

Philippe Causse and Nadja Huguet worked for two years on their first book. © Charly Rappo

Philippe Causse and Nadja Huguet worked for two years on their first book. © Charly Rappo

Published on 04.05.2024

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Ti Pierre, the hero of the book entitled Sadness and hope at the foot of the great oak, lost his dad. He takes refuge in the forest to find comfort and on his way encounters a large oak tree, animals and a new friend who will help him grieve. Recently published independently by Staviacois Nadja Huguet and Philippe Causse, for whom this is their first work, the album is richly illustrated. Although it is primarily aimed at children, it offers all readers a message of hope linked to nature.

The power of trees

A particularly important environment for the two authors. The idea first sprouted in the head of freelance journalist Philippe Causse at the end of the Covid pandemic. “I did a lot of walking and I am very attached to trees. The love of nature brings Nadja and me together.” In fact, the latter is a teacher in Murist, where she has been doing forest school for five years. “We go to the nearby big oak shelter. The tree welcomes us and the students greet it too, each in their own way. They also all have a tree that they take a moment to chat with.” A special relationship which undoubtedly inspired the dialogue established between the child and the large oak tree in the story, the latter having the power to speak. It is he who pushes Ti Pierre to resume his walk, to listen to his body and to be attentive to the nature around him to obtain answers. And the adventure ends well, “with a lot of kindness,” notes Philippe Causse.

Answers to the questions surrounding his father’s disappearance that the boy had not gotten from adults. According to Philippe Causse, “children need to be told things frankly. They are often stronger than we think, even during bereavement. A not insignificant theme but which is not linked to a personal experience of the authors. “It’s above all about talking about reconnection with nature,” emphasizes Philippe Causse.

“It’s above all about talking about reconnection with nature”
Philippe Causse

A common thread underlying the work and which is also expressed in the choice of illustrations created by Nadja Huguet. “The drawings highlight the simplicity, the breathing that the forest offers,” she emphasizes. There is no color saturation but a lot of white space.” Armed only with her brushes and watercolor paint, she painted them.

At the heart of an animation

Simplicity therefore also in the execution of the work produced entirely in the canton of Fribourg. For the journalist, “to have been able to carry out this project together and to the end, it was a great adventure. We hope to be able to do more but with the help of a publisher.”

The book will also be at the heart of a parent-child activity on May 29 in the garden of MEMO, the library and toy library of the city of Fribourg, on the theme of reconnecting with nature. It is on sale in bookstores in Payerne and Estavayer-le-Lac.

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