I first learned of The Invisible String last year, when my daughter’s preschool teacher read it with her students. She shared it with them as they transitioned into being at school, many for the first time, and away from their parents and loved ones. I then revisited The Invisible String earlier this year, when a dear family lost their young father to cancer, and my friend read this with her little ones as they grieved. No matter the situation, The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, oroginally illustrated by Geoff Stevenson, has a powerful message for young children– they are always connected to their loved ones.
In The Invisible String, Karst draws on personal experience as a mom, when her son struggled with separation at preschool dropoffs. She created the concept of constant but invisible connection between her son and herself to help comfort him during those separations… It not only helped him, but helped many other friends in his class! Five years later, the book was born and is still going strong today.
Children who read The Invisible String learn of the power of heart connections, connections they feel in a tangible way when they are apart from someone who is important. They may feel these “heart strings” being tugged when they’re scared or when they’re along. They may get pulled by parents, siblings, best friends, and teachers (my daughter’s class last year used to pull their Invisible Strings whenever someone was absent, to let them know they missed them and were thinking about them!). Karst tenderly connects these Invisible Strings to loved ones who have died, as well as addresses the important concept that “Love is stronger than anger, and as long as love is in your heart, the String will always be there.”
Though I only recently discovered this book, it was first published by DeVorss Publications in 2000. The inside flap of the dust jacket reads:
Specifically written to calm a child’s fear of being apart from the ones they love, The Invisible String… delivers a compelling message in today’s uncertain times. Grown ups and children everywhere who are looking for reassurance and reaffirmation of the transcendent power of love to bind, connect, and comfort will discover how easily they can “tug” on each other’s heart with The Invisible String!
If that was appropriate and applicable 19 years ago, think how much more many children may need to hear that message now!
To that end, you may want to know that Little, Brown rereleased this book, with new illustrations (by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff), in paperback last October! And… there are going to be 3 more spin-off books, making The Invisible String a series! Stay tuned for The Invisible String Workbook, The Invisible Leash (both available later this fall, it appears), and The Invisible Web (currently slated for 2020 publication).
If you liked this, check out:
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
No Matter What by Debi Gliori