"You Weren't With Me"
A children's book written by Chandra Ghosh Ippen, illustrated by Erich Ippen Jr., & a work of Piplo Productions
Little Rabbit and Big Rabbit are together after a difficult separation, but even though they missed each other, Little Rabbit is not ready to cuddle up and receive Big Rabbit’s love. Little Rabbit needs Big Rabbit to understand what it felt like when they were apart. “Sometimes I am very mad. I don’t understand why you weren’t with me,” says Little Rabbit, “I worry you will go away again.” Big Rabbit listens carefully and helps Little Rabbit to feel understood and loved. This story was designed to help parents and children talk about difficult separations, reconnect, and find their way back to each other.
The book may be helpful for families experiencing . . .
Caregiver work-related separations
Military service related separations
Immigration related separations
Child welfare related separations
Parental substance use related separations
Praise for You Weren't with Me
This book is a treasure, exquisitely attuned to the inner life of very young children and people of all ages as they grapple with the universal pain of separation from those they love. The words are just right, the facial expressions and body language are just right, the color scheme is just right. Reading it took me out of myself and into the grief, fear and longing that we all feel when the person we most love is taken away from us. The book speaks eloquently to small children and parents who were separated and feel at a loss to understand or to explain why. It is an invaluable resource for parents, substitute caregivers, clinicians, and all those who endeavor to help young children feel heard, understood and supported in coping with a painful circumstance that no child should have to experience.
Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D.
Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair of Infant Mental Health, Professor, UCSF Department of Psychiatry, author of the Emotional Life of the Toddler and Don't Hit My Mommy, Psychotherapy with Infants and Young Children
For times when painful separation is so difficult to understand or to try to explain, these sweet, poignant bunny rabbits say just the right thing in just the right way. They give voice to a little one’s hurt, yearning, and fear that once experienced is hard to get over; they guide a caregiver on how to hold those feelings and acknowledge them and then use healing words and tenderness to gently move forward. Beautifully written, and the perfect length for a young child’s attention, the book is accompanied by caregiver guides that offer expert advice in the specific context of different types of scenarios children and families may find themselves in.
Lisa Amaya-Jackson, MD, MPH
UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress