When the Sun Goes Home

Authored by Momoko Abe
Illustrated by Momoko Abe
Published by Orchard Books (Hachette)

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When the Sun Goes Home, illustrated by Momoko Abe will be familiar to fans of Avocado Asks by the same author/illustrator.
Avocado is stumped when questioned about whether he is a fruit or vegetable! So begins the journey of discovery, learning about identity and being happy with who you are! Momoko Abe has taken another challenging concept in her new book and made it easy to understand and to relate to, regardless of age.

We all know that the sun rises and sets each and every day. It provides warmth and vitality to plants, humans and animals below. The sun loves to make people happy, and Its mega-watt smile can be seen for miles. However, when the moon takes over, the sun goes home, and it is not always an easy place to be. Once the routine of doing a puzzle, eating dinner and practising his smile is finished, loneliness sets in.

Company and friendship are lacking for Sun, and a sense of despair and sadness seem to overwhelm him. Smiling becomes more difficult, and the effort he puts in are taking their toll. The heat within this effort builds to where the sun is falling from the sky with the exhaustion of trying to hold it all together.

So many of us feel that we are using our mega-watt smile, putting on a brave face but truly feeling differently underneath it all. Recently having a conversation with a colleague, she broke down and admitted to putting on a persona with other staff and students so that they would not see her vulnerability. We need to address the issue, offer love, support, and guidance with the overriding message that strong emotions can be overwhelming but will change over time. It is perfectly normal to feel sad, depressed, angry or uncertain. As the clouds, who rush to rescue Sun, say, “No one can smile all the time”.

When the Sun Goes Home is a wonderfully written and illustrated book that allows the reader to empathise with the Sun and his emotions, as a consequence of the global pandemic, emotions and mental health are issues that schools are dealing with more often, and this book may be the conversation starter we all need.

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