Local author uses own story of grief to write children’s book

BARREN CO., Ky.- “It’s been a journey of three years working on it during a certain period, and then I’m like this is too much for my heart I have to stop,” said award-winning author and illustrator Elizabeth Hoffman. 

Hoffman is using her own story of loss and grief to help others. 

“My mom got diagnosed with cancer when I was about 13 years old. And then when I was 15, she passed away. And so that was something that really impacted me through my life,” said Hoffman. 

Now almost 30 years old, Hoffman has just released the children’s book Here I’m Happy

The story follows a chipmunk who’s mother is sick…eventually passing away. The young chipmunk is lost, then finds happiness in her flower garden, giving flowers to everyone she meets. 

“How do I live on with sadness in  my heart? So she discovers finding happiness is actually serving others and caring for them the way her mother had loved her,” said Hoffman. 

Hoffman hopes that by integrating her story into a book, she can help other people, especially children, work through their grief.

“If they can see the story from someone else’s perspective that’s in the book, then it makes it feel more normal to them,” said grief therapist Kristy Fuller. 

Fuller says books are used commonly in counseling. 

“Those kinds of things make it more comfortable for kids to open up. It’s hard to just sit down with a young child and have a conversation about grief but having a book like this opens up that conversation in a very nonthreatening way,” said Fuller. 

Here I’m Happy is available in bookstores online, nationwide.