Share

cover art for Author Sara Zarr on Grief for Young Readers

Are We There Yet?

Author Sara Zarr on Grief for Young Readers

Season 2, Ep. 30

Acclaimed author Sara Zarr has published ten novels for young readers, as well as two books of non-fiction about creativity. She’s a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her first book, Story of a Girl, was made into a 2017 television movie directed by Kyra Sedgwick. She also hosts the podcast "This Creative Life," all of which you can find on her website below.


I'm a huge fan of Sara's books because she writes about many different forms of loss and does it beautifully, realistically, and honestly without glossing over her characters' struggles. Her latest book, "Kyra, Just for Today" is a follow-up to her previous book, "A Song Called Home," both of which feature young characters living in alcoholic family systems. I love Sara's writing because she takes on kids' hardships while showing us how her characters learn and grow from them. We talked about why she writes about dysfunctional families and the toughest aspects of growing up and why she often gives her characters creative outlets. I appreciate Sara's thoughtful approach to addressing the economic realities of the worlds she creates, and her sharing her motivation and approach to writing about grief from a young person's perspective.


To find out more about Sara:

https://www.sarazarr.com/books


If you enjoy the show please rate and review! You can also find me here @annbfaison on Instagram, or contact me through my website.


Please subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use, or on my substack: I'm Listening


Special thanks to Josephine Wiggs for the song "Time Does Not Bring Relief" from her album "We Fall."

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 33. Rethinking Resilience With Dr. Lucy Hone

    51:25
    In this deeply moving episode which is also packed with useful information, Dr. Lucy Hone shares her unique perspective, expertise, and personal knowledge of resilience. Resilience is a tricky word because it sometimes gets used inappropriately with kids as a way to discount their experience. We've all heard the phrase "kids are resilient" which is often true but is not an excuse to assume they don't need support to recover from a trauma and/or loss. As Dr. Hone explains, kids do better with the right support at home, but can also learn to strengthen their resilience given the tools she writes about in her book "Resilient Grieving." Having lived through the devastating earthquakes in New Zealand in 2011 and then losing her young daughter and two friends in a car accident in 2014, Dr. Hone has direct experience testing the theories of resilience she has focused on throughout her career.For more information on Dr. Hone click above or here. And to find her book "Resilient Grieving" you can go anywhere you order books or find it here.If you would like to support this show, please subscribe to my Substack where you will receive bi-weekly episodes and a bi-weekly newsletter in your inbox. You can also support the show monetarily by becoming a paid subscriber there.Special thanks to Josephine Wiggs for the song "Time Does Not Bring Relief" from her album "We Fall."
  • 32. Siblings Sarah And Ben Satzman

    45:55
    Sarah and Ben Satzman are both in their early twenties and were very close to their grandfather Joel Satzman when he died unexpectedly last year. They were able to be with him at the very end of his life and that experience had a huge impact on them. You can hear in their stories about him how much they adored their grandfather and the unique role he played in their lives. He was a great support and strong presence, calling often and showing up to important events throughout their childhoods and they both depended on his special brand of attention. I loved hearing the differences and the similarities between Ben and Sarah's experiences, and it was beautiful to hear how well they supported each other when he died. In the year since that day, Ben and Sarah have both learned a lot about themselves and their grief. Young adults are often my favorite guests and my best teachers, and Sarah and Ben taught me a lot about how family can sometimes be the best support system after a loss.If you would like to support this show, please subscribe to my Substack where you will receive bi-weekly episodes and a bi-weekly newsletter in your inbox. You can also support the show monetarily by becoming a paid subscriber there.Special thanks to Josephine Wiggs for the song "Time Does Not Bring Relief" from her album "We Fall."
  • 31. Artist Terry Chatkupt

    38:29
    Terry Chatkupt is a visual artist whose current show at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, California is about the 2020 lockdown and its effect on his family. This podcast was started, in part, to address some of the reporting on adolescent mental health in the aftermath of the pandemic that was sorely lacking. Stories in mainstream media missed an opportunity to interview young people and instead turned to experts who had little knowledge of childhood grief. So I was excited to do an episode addressing the pandemic from the perspective of one man investigating how it affected his own family while trying to convey his appreciation the privilege of having a safe place to live. Terry is also a teacher, so we talked about what we have observed in our students as well as our families and what it may mean for an entire generation to have missed some crucial parts of their social and emotional development as a result of the isolation we all endured for a time.https://www.terrychatkupt.com/If you would like to support this show, please subscribe to my Substack where you will receive bi-weekly episodes and a bi-weekly newsletter in your inbox. You can also support the show monetarily by becoming a paid subscriber there.Special thanks to Josephine Wiggs for the song "Time Does Not Bring Relief" from her album "We Fall."
  • 29. Léa Greenberg (age 20) On Losing Her Mother

    52:03
    I'm excited to kick off the second season with another interview with a young adult. In this episode I talk with Léa Greenberg, a junior in college, about losing her mother and maternal grandmother by age fifteen. Her mother and grandmother were both French so Léa also lost a big piece of her French identity. We could have talked for hours so it took a lot of work to edit our conversation to fifty minutes. Léa articulates why it was hard as a teenager to deal with pity from adults and all the other hard lessons of losing her mother at a young age. As usual, when talking to a GenZ guest, I was filled with hope for her and gratitude for our conversation. Léa is amazingly clear about what is most difficult about not having a mother, and how she uses her experience to help others. For an extra fifteen minutes of our conversation, you can listen to the bonus episode.You can find me here @annbfaison on Instagram, or on my substack, or contact me through my website.Please subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use, or on my substack: I'm ListeningSpecial thanks to Josephine Wiggs for the song "Time Does Not Bring Relief" from her album "We Fall."
  • 29.1. Léa Greenberg Bonus content

    15:52
    This is an extra fifteen minutes of my conversation with Léa Greenberg. It won't make much sense if you haven't listened to the full episode but we talk about Harry Potter, holding onto her French identity and what she plans to do for her career.Please consider subscribing to the podcast on whatever platform you use or on my substack: I'm ListeningSpecial thanks to Josephine Wiggs for the song "Time Does Not Bring Relief" from her album "We Fall."
  • Coming Soon!!

    07:59
    Coming soon! Season two is shaping up nicely and I should be posting the first episode in a couple of weeks. This trailer is about what you can expect from the next season and how my thinking about adolescent grief has expanded and changed.
  • 28. Season Finale with Grace Muller

    48:54
    I'm so pleased that my daughter Grace Muller was able to come on the show for the last episode of the first season. Grace is an artist and a junior at Bennington College in Vermont, so we sat down to record while she was home for the holidays. It's a more casual, less edited conversation but we went deep into the ways that she understands her relationship to grief and I had no idea where the conversation would go. But it went in very interesting directions from talking about how she responded to loss as a toddler and small child to the difficulty of grieving a romantic partnership as an adult. We got very silly at the beginning and the rest of the conversation maintained that joyful spirit, which was a great way to end the season.I'm taking time off before the next season to organize my list of guests, so if you would like to be invited as a guest or have ideas for people I might invite on the show please reach out to me. I am always looking for teens and young adults, but anyone who feels they have a perspective on the topic that they would like to share.You can DM me @annbfaison on Instagram, find me on my substack, or contact me through my website.Please consider subscribing to the podcast on whatever platform you use or on my substack: I'm ListeningSpecial thanks to Josephine Wiggs for the song "Time Does Not Bring Relief" from her album "We Fall."If you would like to support the show you can become a paid subscriber on Substack. Thank you!
  • 27. Grief Is A Learning Process

    39:05
    This week I speak with Elise Gaul, a therapist specializing in grief and loss who works in multiple modalities including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing) therapy. Elise explains why EMDR works well to address "covert grief," a term she coined for the parts of childhood grief that can profoundly affect a person's life, often without their awareness. Her stints as the executive director of a grief center called Peter's Place and the director of Camp Erin, a bereavement camp for children led us to talk about what parents and caregivers can do to minimize the long-term negative effects of grief on kids. I loved Elise's attitude about grief as a learning process and her curiosity and interest in working with adults to try to unlock some of the negative beliefs that childhood grief can create. To learn more about Elise and her work please visit her websiteTo read Elise's fascinating article on Covert Grief that led me to invite her on the show read this blog postTo learn more about EMDR visit APA or EMDRIAPlease take a moment to rate and review the show or leave comments on my Substack "I'm Listening."Special thanks to Josephine Wiggs for the intro and outro music from her album "We Fall."