Based on a true story and written by a former teacher and musical director, the children's book "Sammy the Tin Man" aims to help kids cope with the loss of a loved one.
Losing a loved one is difficult at any age, but it can be especially devastating for young children. A retired teacher and resident of Mastic Beach in Suffolk County, Lisa Ockun’s new book, "Sammy the Tin Man," aims to help kids cope with the loss of a family member.
“Sammy the Tin Man,” written by Lisa Ockun and illustrated by Brandon Coleman, is available at Barnes & Noble and on amazon.com (AuthorHouse; $19.99). Courtesy Authorhouse.
Ockun drew inspiration for her 32-page book from an experience with a former student. Sammy, the book’s 10-year-old main character, is based on one of Ockun's former fifth-grade students at P.S. 162 in Bayside. After Sammy’s father passed away, the boy found solace in performing in his class’s production of The Wizard of Oz.
Sammy gave an outstanding performance that prompted his interest in the creative arts and eventually inspired him to pursue a degree in theater. Ockun, a Queens College grad with 27 years of teaching and 15 years of musical directing under her belt, is an advocate for the therapeutic effects of the creative arts in schools and argues that these programs are an integral part to our children’s education.
“Death is a part of life, and people seem afraid to discuss this subject with children,” says Ockun, who recently lost a parent. “When children face the death of a loved one, they are usually ill-prepared. I feel that music and theater can be great outlets for grieving children.”
Ockun says she hopes the book will teach kids to reach for their goals, cope with loss, and always remember that their loved ones have not completely left them.