The heavy bag - ELSA Support for emotional literacy

The heavy bag

The Blurb

The heavy bag follows a little girl called Enid who has just lost her Granddad. As Enid goes out for a walk with lots of different emotions whooshing around inside her head she feels the weight of the heavy bag that she is carrying. Along her journey, Enid comes across different kinds of people who encourage her to talk about how she is feeling. With each meeting she offloads an item from her bag that represents a stage of grief and talks about how she is feeling. Inevitably, as she takes each item from her bag, it feels lighter and she can walk along her journey easier.

I was sent this book by the author Sarah Surgey and I really do like it. The title and concept reminded me of a huge bag of worries which I am sure we are all familiar with. This time though it is feelings caused by grief that is causing the heaviness of the bag. The bag metaphor is such a great one because all children can identify with carrying a heavy bag and there are activities you can do with a bag to show children how things can weigh you down. One activity that springs to mind is using a bag and potatoes and adding things to a bag to show each worry or feeling. The bag gets heavier as you add more potatoes. To make the bag lighter you offload your worries or think of coping strategies and you get rid of each potato, one at a time.

This is what Enid is doing by talking to each person she meets on her journey.  She offloads a telescope and explains how Grandad had said he would look at the stars with her but now he has left her. She offloads a large wooden boat that grandad made with her last summer and she explains how they were going to sail it together. As she removes each item and expresses her feelings to someone her bag feels lighter. Eventually she is left with memories that weigh nothing at all. She knows those memories will always be there.

The writing is very descriptive and paints a lovely picture and the illustrations are delightful. I am sure it will help many children suffering from grief.

To purchase the book please pop along to Amazon by clicking the picture below.

Resources to support the book

Sarah kindly gave permission for me to create some worksheets to support the book.

Here they are to download. Please click the link to download a PDF file of the worksheets  Heavy bag worksheets 

We now have a DUTCH version of the worksheets which you can download here The heavy bag Dutch version


We have lots of GRIEF resources on the website and you can find a list of links and resources here. There is a large pack of free resources so do check it out by clicking the picture.

bereavement resources


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