Saying goodbye can be a difficult task for individuals of any age, but it is especially challenging for younger children. Transitions for little ones can be jarring, so it is important to always be there for a child when parting with a loved belonging, a familiar face or place of comfort. Goodbye, School (Magination Press) written by Tonya Lippert is a unique children’s book that offers a playful storyline while also providing helpful advice for both children and parents alike.
This story follows the main character, Franny, through an experience that many of us have taken part in over the years, the last day of school. The last day of school is often a cause for mixed emotions. Excitement for the upcoming summer is tinged with sadness that the school year has come to an end. These emotions can escalate when it is not only your last day of the school year, but also the last day of attending a particular school. This is the case for our protagonist Franny.
It is after school has been dismissed, and Franny is taking advantage of the peace and quiet to say her final goodbyes to her adored school. Beginning her last ramble through her school, Franny, finds her misplaced friendship bracelet, a bittersweet reminder of the people she has been lucky enough to know. She then retraces her steps back through the places that she has spent many of her days, saying “Hello” to various memories along the way. She reminisces on the fun times she has shared with her classmates. Franny makes note of the aroma around her, breathing in the scents of books, chalk and graham crackers. This combination will bring her joy and comfort for years to come. Franny is reimagining the times she searched for four-leaf clovers under the trees with her friend Katie when she comes up with an idea for how she can make a gesture of farewell.
Franny goes outside and collects a bunch of four-leaf clovers. She places them all around the classroom as a final tribute to her good memories before confidently saying her last goodbye. When she returns to her mom, she reveals to readers that she keeps a four-leaf clover for herself as well. She holds it in her left hand, the same side that she fastened her friendship bracelet on. Throughout the story we see Franny, beautifully illustrated by Tracy Bishop, wearing the bracelet as a symbol of old friendships and fond ties to the school. The bracelet and four-leaf clover will serve as sentimental momentos to hang on to through her upcoming transition.
Lippert offers a paramount perspective on the topic of saying goodbye as a mental health therapist. She has created a character that readers are able to relate to. As someone who at a young age struggled when it came to moving and changing schools, I would have loved to read a story like this one. Lippert also includes a section in the back for parents and guardians to read, offering guidelines for helping children through a tough transition.
Goodbye, School is available for purchase.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Tonya Lippert, Ph.D., LCSW works as a mental health therapist, an occasional researcher, and a forensic interviewer. She works for Kaiser Permanente at two different clinics, one where she runs therapy groups and one where she’s part of a team conducting evaluations of child abuse and neglect. When she first moved to Oregon, she taught at Reed College as a visiting professor and worked for Oregon Social Learning Center. She sees ADHD up close at work when running groups for adults with the diagnosis and at home, as a mother. This led to co-authoring Transforming ADHD. During her spare time, she writes and writes and writes for children and adults. She has a recently released picture book, Goodbye, School, as well as a short story, “Misreadings,” as part of Strongly Worded Women, The Best of the Year of Publishing Women: An Anthology.
Tracy Bishop is a full-time illustrator with a passion for children’s books. She has a degree in graphic design with a focus on illustration and animation. She lives in San Jose, California. Visit @tracybishopart on Instagram and Twitter.