Whether you have experienced the loss of a child, know someone who has, or simply want to reflect on grief and healing, this book is the one you should read. Dear Rainbow Baby by Samantha Gassman is a heartfelt letter to a future baby after the loss of a child. The book uses free verse to approach the difficult themes of sorrow, change, growth, and healing coloured by the author’s personal journey with a rainbow baby.
Its message of finding hope even when dealing with grief is paralleled by the unassuming rainbows incorporated into each illustration, from the pattern on a fingernail to the colour of a windchime. Timothy Lange’s pastel aesthetic perfectly fits the wistful tone of Gassman’s text and, using the changing seasons and weather, guides the reader through the whirlwind of emotions that accompany grief and revival.
Something interesting in this seasonal progression, however, is that the new baby is born in winter—this reversal of the traditional new-baby-in-spring trope allows for a different understanding of change. While the rainbow baby grows inside the mother during spring and fall, the newborn brings warmth to their hearts in the cold of winter.
“My heart brimmed with cautious joy,
As we waited for you.”
Gassman’s own road to recovery gives her the words not only to describe a pain most of us can only imagine (and hope never to experience) but also to show a grieving parent’s journey towards feeling whole again.
On August 22, National Rainbow Baby Day, we can honour the parents and children represented in this story by reading Dear Rainbow Baby together. Preorder your copy from Clear Fork Publishing in Texas and visit Samantha Gassman’s website.