Perfect Picture Book Friday/ The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

Hi Friends!

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! I don’t think Thanksgiving is over do you? Yes, Black Friday started earlier than ever but really aren’t you still in the thankful mode? I am. I just keep feeling so blessed by family and food. I have enough. That is more than so many. I have enough. The reality is I have so much more than enough. My pantry is full. And even though I didn’t have a big meal with family on the same day as everyone else we celebrated last weekend with a wonderful dinner out, with wine and appetizer. It couldn’t have been nicer.

Then yesterday I was looking for a book to do for today and came across this beauty. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf. I wasn’t going to do PPBF this week but at the last-minute changed my mind. That’s why you’ll see two posts today. A Perfect Picture Book Friday post and one I just wanted to do for me. Actually it turned out I was doing both for me. You’ll see.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1991 my late husband lost the use of his legs due to cancer. We found out the following week that it was because the tumors had invaded his thoracic spine and death was imminent. On that day, that Thanksgiving day I didn’t know that then however. Everyone was so nice. I called our Oncologist who recommended I call the local pharmacist who opened his doors for me to buy a urinal. We stayed home till the following Monday when the ambulance took my husband to the hospital for radiation treatments and a seven-day stay while we set up hospice and a hospital bed in the downstairs room, my late husband’s office.

This whole Explanation is the introduction to the following book. It was given to me following his death a month later, December 21, 1991.

Title: The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

Written by: Leo Buscaglia, PhD

A Story of Life for All Ages

Henry Holt and Company, Slack Incorporated, 1982

Resources: How the book ends with these words “The Beginning” of learning to live through loss. Understanding the cyclical nature of life for ages K through grade 5. Teaching end-of-life issues in the classroom.


Themes: grief, seasons, loss, religion, philosophy, reassurance, comfort, relationships, questions, Nature, Interconnectedness, Hope, Concepts, Spirituality,

From the Jacket: This new story by Leo Buscaglia is a warm, wonderfully wise, and strikingly simple story about a leaf named Freddie. How Freddie and  his companion leaves change with the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with winter’s snow, is an inspiring allegory illustrating the delicate balance between life and death.

Both children and adults will be deeply touched by this inspiring, thought-provoking treatment of so sensitive a facet of true life.

Why I Love it: So you see why I picked this one. It spoke to me this Thanksgiving Day. I hadn’t gotten a special book from the library and went looking here at home for one. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is a book one can read to the children when one is too overcome by grief to take care of theirs. This was so very true for me.

In fact it is “dedicated to all children who have ever suffered a permanent loss, and to the grownups who could not find a way to explain it.” I think I did a wrong to my boys by being cheerful on the way to school and then coming home to cry. I would wonder if they saw through my fake cheery mood.  Instead now, years later I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to be honest and talk to them about my feelings of sadness. I’m sure they were feeling sad too.

And that was years ago. Two decades ago.  I am now happily married to wonderful man, a gift really, for going on 15 years. Something to be exceptionally grateful for.

What about you? What are you most grateful for?

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna

Cover of "The Fall of Freddie the Leaf"

Cover of The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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31 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday/ The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

  1. Richa Jha says:

    Your today’s post has rendered me speechless, Clarike. It’s moving, poignant, honest, inspiring, full of hope and sadness, and the need to be grateful for every little thing that we have in our lives…It’s wonderful to know you through your posts.


  2. Catherine Johnson says:

    Oh Clarike, that is heart-wrenching. Thanksgiving must be a hard time for you. The book sounds beautiful. *hugs*


  3. Linda Hoye says:

    I bought this book for my children almost thirty years ago after my parents died. I still have it, in fact. Thank you for this touching reminder of its message.


  4. Your post is so beautiful and inspiring Clar! My heart is sitting in my lap right now! I only wish I’d known about it sooner to share with friends, so I am grateful to you for sharing it – so I can have it on hand. Thanks you.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Julie., Yes, your friends will thank you for it. Yes, it is a nice book to give at a loss of someone special.

      You can even read it aloud to the kids after they loose a pet. 🙂


  5. Margot Finke says:

    Oh Clar, your wise and wonderful words bring home to me how lucky I am, and how I really, as you say, have enough – even more then enough. Freddy beings loving wisdom and so do you. Thank you.

    Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks so much, Margot.

      Sometimes I don’t know where to start with my blessings. The small things or the big things. And where to judge the size? So grateful for having enough. 🙂


  6. Joanna says:

    Thank you for sharing so intimately and meaningfully with us today, Clar. Thanksgiving must indeed be a bittersweet celebration for you each year. This story sounds quite unique and precious for very specific children and families. Thank you for reviewing it.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Joanna,

      One doesn’t’ need to be experiencing a loss to benefit from this book, though. The message is clearly on to bring meaning into life and deals with it in the full question of what does it mean. It is just a little deeper than most picture books. I took it a step further and told you about what it meant for me.

      Everyone in life will experience a loss sometime and reading this before hand and asking those questions before a really big one will insulate a child and prepare him for it painlessly. It may be that a deep thinker is needed to enjoy it, I don’t know. 🙂


  7. Thanks for being willing to share with us a difficult time in your life, Clar. I’m so glad that wasn’t the end of the story for you…there were good things to come! An appropriate thing to remember this Thanksgiving season. I’m checking this one out…it’s a beautiful way to talk about death with young ones.


  8. Thank you for sharing so deeply of your life and of this book with us — such sharing is a blessing indeed.


  9. Your beautiful post is a reminder to me to show those I love/like/spend time with that I am grateful to share my life with them. Thank you for sharing this book and a snippet of your life with us.


  10. Clar, I have not heard of this book. What a wonderful book to share along with how you received the book. We lost our grandson on Thanksgiving Day and that association is hard for his immediate family. This book on the seasons/cycles of the year are such a perfect way to help children understand grief. I am always looking for good grief books. Thank you for sharing your story!


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks so much, Patricia.

      It is hard to have losses on holidays. They are always a reminder of the love lost. I am so sorry for your loss. I can feel it deeply. Having a death in the family on a holiday makes the anniversary of it that much harder.

      This book is one way to ease the pain and explain those nagging questions of “why”, and deals with the loss in a practical way.



  11. Great message about life and death (both the book and your story). You are right that parents should be honest about feelings to their kids. I am glad you still have things to be thankful for.


    • clarbojahn says:

      OH I am so thankful for so much, Erik. I just couldn’t tell it all in one post. It would be over 500 items long. This post just wrote itself and I’m sorry if it was sad.

      I am more thankful than ever for my family. They mean everything to me. And I couldn’t be more proud than I am of my boys.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting. 🙂


  12. What a great book with a great message. A book on grief has to have a nice balance to be meaningful. It sounds like this one got it right. Thanks so much for sharing it, Clar.


  13. Clar…thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story…I’ve had it for a long time…but the message never grows old. 🙂 Perfect review and great resource/activity list!


  14. document says:

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when
    new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.
    There has to be an easy method you can remove me from that service?


    • clarbojahn says:

      ASKING All COMMENTERS! Does anyone know how to do this? It doesn’t mean comments on all subsequent posts does it? I went to my dashboard and found the one comment that had been asked to see the rest but there was no place for me to unclick or uncheck that link.

      So sorry you’re not happy but there doesn’t seem to be anything else I can do. 🙂


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