M.H. Clark discusses her book, Everywhere, Still: A Book about Loss, Grief, and the Way Love Continues, prioritizing cherishing memories of loved ones and celebrating their impact on us even after they’re gone. While creating a safe space for children to process emotions is emphasized, Clark hopes the book will comfort readers of all ages. She speaks of metaphors for love to connect and share feelings and praises the stunning illustrations by Claire Sahara Lemp. Enjoy this thoughtful interview about this beautiful book!
Be sure to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a set of M.H. Clark’s picture books, including Everywhere, Still, All That I Am, Over and Over, Tiger Days, Tiny, Perfect Things, and You Belong Here.
Everywhere, Still: A Book about Loss, Grief, and the Way Love Continues, to me, is about cherishing the memories of loved ones and celebrating the impact that they have on our lives, even when they are no longer physically with us due to death or distance. Are these takeaways your intent? What’s it about from your perspective?
M.H. Clark: Yes, I think this book is very much about cherishing memories of loved ones and celebrating their impact on our lives. To me, it’s also about finding comfort in the realization that love can travel back and forth across any amount of time and distance… and it’s about discovering that this can keep important people close to us, even when they are gone.
Why did you choose to write it?
I wrote this book first and foremost because I think there is always a need for children’s books that create a place to process some of the emotions our society doesn’t always know how to work with—especially sorrow and grief.
I also wrote this book because I found there were very few children’s books about loss that were written from a first-person perspective. I think the first-person perspective is really important here—an “I-focused” story means that children can find their own feelings mirrored to them in the language and statements of the book. Starting with the words at the very beginning, “I miss you and I love you. I know I always will…” children can find comfort and validation in the way the narrator is naming and describing feelings they themselves may be experiencing.
When did you write it?
I wrote this book over the course of several months between the end of 2021 and early 2022.
It’s a picture book especially relevant for young readers but also readers of all ages who are coping with the loss of a grandparent, friend, pet—anyone. Who did you write it for?
I wrote this book with many dear people in mind—some who are no longer living, and some who are still alive but live a great distance away. But I also wrote this book for young readers (and readers of all ages) because I have found such comfort in my own belief that love can travel wherever it needs to go… and wanted to share that belief with others who may be grieving or missing someone.
It is an excellent resource for parents and caregivers looking for a comforting way to discuss loss and grief with children in their care. How do you imagine families sharing this reading experience together?
I’ve always imagined the “bird of light” that’s described in this book as the beginning of a ritual that could become deeply important to readers of all ages. The bird is a metaphor for love, and the child in the book discovers that she can send this bird off to find a loved one, who will then send her their own bird in reply. I imagine that as families read this book together, they can also try this ritual—sending their love to someone they are missing, and then feeling the love they receive in return.
I hope that this book creates a safe container for children and parents or caregivers to have important conversations about loss and grief, and to share in this process together.
Sometimes, when someone close to us loses someone special to them, it can be hard to know what to do for them or even say. The hardcover edition, complete with a foil-stamped dust jacket, makes for a thoughtful and lasting gift. Do you foresee it being used this way? And who else do you imagine reading this book?
I do very much imagine this book as a gift to those who are experiencing grief, loss, or separation from someone they love. I agree that when someone we care about is living through a season of mourning, it can be hard to know what to say or how to offer support that is meaningful. I hope this book becomes a gesture of care and a source of comfort to turn to over and over again.
What do you think will be the first impression of Everywhere, Still that sticks with readers? An illustration, a sentence, a paragraph, or a feeling? I hope you’ll elaborate on your answer.
I think readers’ first impression of Everywhere, Still will be that the book is a safe place to think and feel. It’s my intention that people be held with care within these pages, and that whatever they are experiencing, they know that their feelings are welcomed, honored, and understood.
It’s a beautifully illustrated book and offers a heartfelt reminder that our connections with those who matter to us most can never be broken. Will you share your thoughts on the stunning watercolor art created by Claire Sahara Lemp? Is there a specific illustration you connect with the most?
Claire’s illustrations are so tender, sensitive, and beautifully considered… it’s hard to know where to begin! There are so many meaningful symbols she incorporated throughout this text—flowers, photographs, the natural world. But for me, her illustration of the bird is most resonant of all. The way she portrays love as it turns into a “bird of light” and flies off with a flower in its mouth put tears in my eyes from the moment I saw it.
When a reader has finished Everywhere, Still, if they were to take away just one thing, what would you want that to be?
I hope that everyone who reads this book comes away from it with a clear, profound knowing that love can bridge every distance.
Is there anything else you feel we should know about Everywhere, Still, your writing, or yourself?
Just that it is always an honor and a gift to hear stories from readers who are resonating with my books… and I invite families to write to me on Instagram at @mhclarkwrites. Hearing from people who are finding joy, beauty, or comfort in my words is absolutely my favorite part of the work I do!
About the Book
Publisher’s Book Summary: When someone you care about isn’t here anymore, your love for them continues…
What do you do with that love when that someone isn’t here to give it to? Everywhere, Still is a book about missing someone. It’s a book about loss and grief–whether that loss is permanent or temporary. And it’s a reminder that there is always a way to stay close with the people who are biggest in our hearts, no matter how far across space and time they may be.
Read this meaningful book to a child when a grandparent or loved one has passed, a parent is living or serving abroad, a dear friend has moved away, or a pet is very much missed. With touching illustrations, each page is a way to honor every emotion a child is experiencing. Features a hardcover and foil-stamped dust jacket.
Buy the Book
Book GiveawayEverywhere, Still : Book Giveaway
This interview—M.H. Clark Discusses Everywhere, Still: A Book about Loss, Grief, and the Way Love Continues—was conducted between M.H. Clark and Bianca Schulze.