The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole

by Michelle Cuevas, published 2017

” I closed my eyes, feeling a point of infinite love and infinite grief, and comfort in knowing, for the first time, that I have infinite space inside for both.”

Children's Book - Pet Black HolePerhaps in the same way that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, a children’s book of imagination and far-fetched ideas makes the lessons of grieving more bearable. I don’t know how else to describe a book like this, which is both extremely silly and far-fetched, yet profoundly moving and insightful about handling loss.

As one discovers in the first page, the scientific black hole is also a metaphor for loss, in this case, the loss of a beloved parent. A great deal of the children’s book merges the two very deftly, as Stella uses the ‘real’ black hole to dispose of the pain that causes her inner black hole. The lessons she discovers along the way are so important, that I would encourage a parent of any child who is dealing with loss to read this children’s book first. It provides wonderful inspiration as a way to talk about holding both pain and sorrow.

I was particularly struck with how well-written this book is, and it inspired me to search for other books by the same author. I think finding a very literate book goes a long way in my mind to creating an environment where children can both learn something important and be amused. I don’t feel the author became too didactic, but rather moved slowly, slowly, to the wounded heart, and then filled the reader and the character with love and healing.

A beautiful children’s book. I would suggest that if a child has experienced great loss, it would be best to read it after at least a year has passed. If a child has not, this is a great book to read as a way of knowing that life will have its ups and downs, and we can hold it all.

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