- Seaford Union Free School District
Middle School Teacher Publishes Children’s Self-Help Book
The passing of a loved one can be a difficult concept for a child to grasp, let alone talk about, which is why Seaford Middle School sixth grade teacher Danielle Alveari wrote a book about it. “Little Lucy May’s Loss,” a children’s self-help book on grief, was recently released by Amazon and Ms. Alveari dream of becoming a published author was realized.
“I wanted it to be simple, but I wanted it to be honest,” she said of the book she wrote four years ago. “It’s a topic that not everybody is comfortable talking about. I hope this book helps the lives of many that are struggling with the loss of a loved one. It is already such a difficult time in a person’s life and now more so than ever.”
Ms. Alveari said when her mother was sick several years ago, she spoke with hospice counselors about how to explain the situation to her two young daughters. She based the main character in the book on her eldest daughter, Eloise, now 9, and the emotions she felt in losing her grandmother.
She said there are several messages in the book, which she describes as realistic fiction – helping children understand the grieving process, validating the emotions they might feel, teaching compassion and empathy to youngsters who have yet to experience a loss, and showing ways to celebrate a loved one’s life. For example, Ms. Alveari said she, her husband and daughters planted a tree in their backyard in honor of her mom on the first Mother’s Day after her passing.
Ms. Alveari said she was first inspired to write the book when she was 19, after the passing of her grandmother. Whenever she sees a bird, she takes it as a sign her nanny is watching over her, and birds are included in several illustrations in the book. Samantha Saia, an art teacher on Long Island, was the book’s illustrator and the pair worked as a team to create “Little Lucy May’s Loss.”
“It had always been my dream to write a children’s book,” Ms. Alveari said. “She had always wanted to illustrate a book, so it was perfect for both of us.”
Ms. Alveari has taught in Seaford for 17 years, including the past four as an English and social studies teacher at the middle school. Prior to that, she worked as Harbor and Manor elementary schools, having taught kindergarten, first second, fourth and fifth grades. She hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology and elementary education from Hofstra University and a master’s degree in literacy from Touro College.
As an English teacher, she guides her students through several writing projects each year, including literary essays, opinion pieces and personal narratives. Ms. Alveari said they build upon their writing foundation from elementary school to craft more sophisticated pieces that incorporate greater detail, use more descriptive language and reflect an expanded vocabulary.
Creating the book gave her a greater understanding of the publishing process and wants to impart that knowledge on her students, such as the importance of being patient, persistent and taking risks. In her classroom, peer editing is an essential part of the writing process, in which students read each other’s works and give constructive feedback. She experienced that first hand, noting that suggestions from friends in the early stages of “Little Lucy May’s Loss” really help shape her book and bring her vision to life.