Gary Alan Shockley, Author and Illustrator

This is a beautifully written and illustrated book to support grieving children and those who care for them. The message of this book reflects the very best practices of holding space for others in their sorrow. What a gem!  

Rev. Elaine A. Heath Ph.D. President, Neighborhood Seminary. Author, Healing the Wounds of Sexual Abuse.

This book contains a guide for adults in their conversations with children about death and grieving AND several activity pages for drawings and letters to loved ones.

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Are you, or the children you love, grieving the death of loved one?

My Heart Sings a Sad Song is a beautifully written and illustrated book for children and adults alike who are in need of the love and space necessary for healing, comfort and guidance after the death of a loved one-whether it be a person or beloved pet. Thirty-four brightly colored pages and a useful guide for adults helping children grieve. Several activity pages are also included for drawing pictures and writing notes to loved ones. 

Brief Book Trailer Video

What Others Are Saying about My Heart Sings a Sad Song

"My heart was touched, and my soul comforted by the caring and loving spirit in what Gary has expressed here. This lovely book will be a tremendous gift to grieving children and their families in need of healing, comfort and restoration." Bishop Jeremiah Park, Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church.


"When Gary wrote, My Heart Sings a New Song, none of us knew what a difficult passage the world was entering the 2020. But here we are, and this book is a gift for all ages. On Planet Earth in 2020, we can expect moments when every single one of us 7.8 billion human beings will needs to be held while someone reads to us this precious book!"   Paul Nixon, Author and Coach

"This book provides a gentle approach to some hard realities. It tackles some big questions without giving trite answers. These comforting pages are what you would get if you had the opportunity to sit your grieving child down beside a loving, wise and compassionate chaplain--because that's what Gary is."                                        Larry Dawalt, Board Certified Chaplain, Certified in Thanatology, Chameleon's Journey Grief Camp Director.

"Gary has written a beautiful, helpful and hopeful book for children who have lost a loved one. It's simple story and beautiful illustrations open the door for parents or grandparents and children to talk about grief and loss. I highly recommend this book! It is a beautiful and much needed work."                                                                        Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

"This is a simple yet emotionally rich book, written in a language appropriate for a grieving child. Children often don't have an adequate vocabulary to express their feelings. I think this book will allow both children and adults to start a dialog about the grieving process, to explore and validate their feelings. The illustrations are beautiful and convey such meaning. What a lovely book!" Dr. Mrinalini Joshi, MD Hospice Physician

"Gary beautifully blends his pastoral heart with years of experience working as a hospice chaplain in this book. Age appropriate books on the subject of grieving are much needed and this book fills this void. The resource should be on hand for anyone walking little ones through the loss of someone they love."                                       Sam James, Funeral Director, James Funeral Home NC

"Rare is the publication about grief that deals honestly with its complexity, pain and depth. What Gary has done in his beautifully illustrated book is give voice and vision to the reality of grief that does not patronize the hearts and minds of children with easy, empty answers. His work is a heart warming, empathic invitation for children to be at home with their tears and questions while reminding them that in this honest place, with the support of loving community , healing comes. For those in the ministry and profession of caring for children, this book deserves a place in your library. Just make sure that place is easily accessible as no doubt you will share it often."                Rev. Greg Hathaway, Board Certified Chaplain, Certified Educator with ACPE and Director of Spiritual Care for Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte NC.

"My Heart Sings a Sad Song is a touching journey through one bunny's process of grieving a loved one. Reading this book with your child acknowledges their experiences in understandable language and provides a helpful starting point for conversations about remembering, cherishing, and reaching out." Allison Goforth, MSW, LCSW

"This beautifully illustrated book will comfort your child while serving as a springboard for important discussions regarding loss. The characters gently acknowledge the deep sadness of grief and present questions that may arise from personal loss. " Amy Styers Bissette, Hospice Social Worker

"In, My Heart Sings a Sad Song, Gary Shockley speaks gentle words of grace to children (and adults) who are trying to maneuver through the complicated feelings associated with loss and grief. Gary's book is honest, sincere, and encouraging to anyone who is learning what it means to live without a loved one, while still holding them in our hearts. Thank you, Gary, for providing such a rich resource to the grief community." Rev. Cheri Holdridge, Hospice Chaplain, Toledo Ohio

Meet the Author and Illustrator

Gary Alan Shockley

After over 30 years of pastoral ministry, Gary received training to become a professional healthcare chaplain and served two Inpatient Hospice Units in North Carolina where he worked with dying patients and their families. It was from decades of walking alongside people in their grief that Gary created these resources which have already touched the hearts of children and adults alike. 


Gary is a Certified Grief Counselor through the American Institute of Healthcare Professionals (AIHCP). He is a trained Spiritual Director and a member of Spiritual Directors International (SDI).

 Gary's desire through this resource is for children, young and old alike to grieve well and remember and celebrate the gift of their loved ones.

Gary lives in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania with his wife Kim and dog Zoe.

Gary is a member of the Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators. 

5% of each book sale will support Chameleon's Journey- a grief camp for children and youth through Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region (


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