What is it? This essential question is what has propelled my book, The Invisible String, into a bestselling phenomenon.
No one could be more surprised than I am of its profound reach.
In fact, if anyone had told me when I first wrote and published it in 2000 that I would sell half a million copies and bring healing to children and families worldwide, that the book would be translated into many different languages, and that a whole series of books would spring forth from it, I would not have believed them. Ever.
I have a had a lot of time to ponder just why the book’s simple message about love struck such a chord with young and old alike from all over the world. And the answer is as simple as the message itself… Love is what binds and connects us together. Love is the heartbeat of life. Love is the only thing in the end that really matters.
When I was a working single mom in the late 1990s, the story of The Invisible String was born. My son Elijah suffered painful-to-the-core separation anxiety when I had to drop him off at preschool each morning. It broke my heart to leave his tear-stained face with his teachers, who had to pluck his clinging, shaking body from me as he held on for dear life whenever I kissed him goodbye.
One morning, what poured out of me as I held him was the story of how we had an Invisible String that would connect us all day long. I mean—didn’t everyone know this? Because of this magical String, when he missed me, all that he needed to do to feel my love again was tug on his end of the string, and I would be able to feel him and tug his love right back. A never-ending dance of connections would tether us all day long until we would reunite each evening.
Viola! His tears dried.
“Is there really an Invisible String, Momma?” his little voice asked me.
“There sure is, and it connects our hearts forever,” I replied.
This simple answer changed both of our lives in unthinkably magical ways. For the first time ever, Elijah’s separation anxiety vanished, and in its place, security, confidence, and comfort washed over him. We both could breathe again, and our days were joyful instead of panicked and worried.
Soon his friends asked me to tell them too about this wondrous Invisible String that connected them not only to their working parents, but to their pets that had passed, their grandparents who lived out of state, and their best friends who had moved away. The kids soaked up the message like the little love sponges that they are and were the inspiration for me to sit down and write my book, and to devote my life to spreading this message of love to the planet.
In 2000, the original hardback of The Invisible String was published, and soon after, something amazing started to happen. Military families wrote to say that the story helped children feel connected to their deployed family members. Divorce attorneys were recommending it for families who had a parent living in another home. Hospices, hospitals, and grief organizations were using the book. Soon educators, librarians, and school counselors were using it to teach kindness, empathy, and global connectedness, and counselors, doctors, psychiatrists, social workers and therapists were sharing the book in many ways too. They all wrote to me such personal, intimate stories of how the children in their lives were responding when they learned about their Invisible Strings and just how far they could soar.
One night, my now-grown son, Elijah came over for dinner and saw that I was feeling a bit down. He took a copy of The Invisible String, wrote something on the inside cover, and handed it to me. His note read: “Mom, you wrote this book for me, but a String has two ends. The Invisible String goes both ways. We are always connected. You are never alone. I love you. Elijah.”
And if that is not full circle, I do not know what is.
Hugs and tugs!
Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
With over half a million copies sold, this accessible, bestselling picture book phenomenon about the unbreakable connections between loved ones has healed a generation of readers--children and adults alike--and has been updated with new illustrations and an afterword from the author. Also available: Spanish edition (El hilo invisible) and a companion workbook (The Invisible String Workbook).
Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they're all connected by an invisible string. "That's impossible!" the children insist, but still they want to know more: "What kind of string?" The answer is the simple truth that binds us all: An Invisible String made of love. Even though you can't see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love. Does everybody have an Invisible String? How far does it reach? Does it ever go away? This heartwarming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us, and opens up deeper conversations about love.
Recommended and adopted by parenting blogs, bereavement support groups, hospice centers, foster care and social service agencies, military library services, church groups, and educators, The Invisible String offers a very simple approach to overcoming loneliness, separation, or loss with an imaginative twist that children easily understand and embrace, and delivers a particularly compelling message in today's uncertain times. This special paperback edition includes vibrant new illustrations and an introduction from the author.
"This book is a beautiful way to begin to try, as parents, to instill in children the impenetrable power of the heart, the energy of love, and the flow that can be felt from the grace in every moment." --Tony Robbins