Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Dear Brave Friend by Leigh Ann Gerk (Book Review and Giveaway!)

Dear Brave Friend is a heartwarming letter written from a dog who has died to his boy owner. 

Book Details:

Book Title: Dear Brave Friend by Leigh Ann Gerk
Category: Middle-Grade Non-Fiction (8 to 12) , 49 pages
Genre: Self-Help
Publisher: Golden Harvest Publishers
Release date: August 2019
Tour dates: Jan 18 to Feb 5, 2021
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

This gentle and heartwarming story captures the love between a boy and his dog, and the sadness that follows after his cherished dog passes away. Written in the form of a letter from the dog to the boy, the letter shares relatable, real life examples of how the boy (and therefore anybody who has lost a dear pet) may be feeling and suggestions on what he can do to help himself get through this most difficult time. The letter also touches on simple acts of kindness that can follow the reader throughout his or her lifetime. The message in this story is applicable to young and old, girl or boy, and to any family pet that has stolen your heart. Story starters, drawing pages, and a place to add pictures of your own beloved pet are also included in the back of the book.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

For anyone who has lost a beloved pet, dealing with the painful loss is inevitable. Pets add joy and love into our lives, and when they are gone, they leave a hole. Dear Brave Friend is a letter written from a dog who has died to his boy owner. The dog helps the boy go through the variety of feelings he may be experiencing and shows him how he could cope with these feelings such as sadness, loneliness, anger, and guilt.

The little dog also talks about how much he was loved by the boy. He goes on to highlight beautiful personality traits of the boy and then encourages him to show these same traits to others. Any child or adult of any age can relate to the sentiments in this letter; it's an ode from a faithful dog to his special boy.

The watercolor illustrations in pastel colors has a softness to it that is perfect for the mood of this book, and appropriate for the intended audience. The scenes are of everyday life of a young boy and taken throughout the different seasons, showing the passage of time, giving the message that grieving does not have a set time. It also shows the boy with his parents planting a tree and in another scene, it seems that the dog's grave is right by this tree, emphasizing the circle of life. So it may be confusing when it also shows in another illustration the dog frolicking in a sort of animal heaven, and sleeping on fluffy clouds. A child reading this book may want to know why the dog is somewhere else after having died and not with him. This presents a conflicting message. 

Apart from this, the idea of a letter from a beloved pet as a parting gift to the boy it loved is touching and heartwarming. In addition, this book can be used as a therapeutic tool because it has pages in the back of the book for a child to write his/her own letter with prompts as to what to include in the letter. There is also space for drawings and pictures to be added.

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Meet the Author:

Leigh Ann Gerk MA, LPC has been in the counseling field for over eleven years. She is certified in Pet Loss & Grief Companioning and the founder and owner of Mourning to Light Pet Loss providing individual and family counseling for anyone grieving the loss of a pet. She currently offers 3 free pet loss support groups in Northern Colorado and is excited to branch out and offer more. Having grown up on a farm, Leigh Ann's childhood playmates included baby calves, horses, bunnies, dogs, and 32 cats that set up house in a boxcar that also served as her playhouse. This upbringing introduced her, at a very young age, to the human-animal bond and instilled in her a deep understanding of, and love for, this extraordinary relationship. Leigh Ann and her husband, Andy, live in Loveland, Colorado, and are the proud parents of identical twin daughters, Heather and Heidi. Their family is made complete by their first grandchild and their cherished therapy dog, Gracie. Visit Leigh Ann online at

Connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ goodreads

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 12, 2021

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  1. Laura thank you so much for your lovely review. I especially loved that you noticed the changing seasons throughout the book. I appreciate your support during my book tour and for helping me reach grieving pet families.


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