QUINCY -- Quincy author Tracy Schlepphorst recently published her third installment in her Emotion Belly Books series, a semi-autobiographical children's book about grieving the death of a parent.
"Eden and Her Joy" took Schlepphorst two years to complete. A former teacher with a master's degree in education, she hopes the book can serve as a tool for teachers who deal with death in their classrooms.
"It's an important conversation for teachers to have in their classroom," Schlepphorst said. "When I lost my dad, my whole class shared the experience."
Schlepphorst relied heavily on her own experiences when drafting the book. Her father died when she was 6. The dining room and family rooms depicted in the book are modeled after her childhood home. The clock on the wall shows it's 3:30, the time of her father's death.
She also interjected into the story her own memories, like the detached feelings that came with attending the funeral and going back to school.
"It's extremely uncomfortable when you have to go back into public again," she said.
Schlepphorst included on the final page of the book a list of discussion questions. Among them were "Do you think it is hard for Eden when she has to go back to school?" and "What are some helpful things that friends can do for friends when they are grieving?"
"We want to protect kids from this concept, but they already know about loss by the time they're in kindergarten," she said.
The book was drawn by Quincy illustrator Charlie Martin. It joins Schlepphort's other Emotion Belly Books, "Eden and Her Happy" and "Harry and His Manners."
"Eden and Her Joy" is being sold at County Market and the Salty Sun and online at emotionbellybooks.com.
Schlepphorst will have a book signing from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the County Market at 48th and Broadway.
"The support of the community on this has been huge," Schlepphorst said.