Artist Creates A Unique Tribute to the Son He Lost During the Pandemic.
In an unconventional take on loss and grief, this dad created a touching whimsical book to honor his infant son who passed away in March of 2020.
— Strange creatures, vivid colors, and space travels are not typically associated with books about grief, but these are ideas Adam Sanford used to transform his pain into art. When he and his wife lost their infant son, Samuel, he turned the traumatic event into a sci-fi adventure children’s book titled Samuel Shootingstar. The book was chosen to be published by Jumpmaster Press with an official release date of March 1.
The real Samuel was diagnosed with a rare type of birth defect of the neural tube that affects the brain during the pregnancy. When the labor began Dad and Mom knew they were not going to have their much anticipated, joyful delivery. Adam says the experience was a strange juxtaposition of trauma and beauty.
“It all happened during the shelter in place order. We couldn’t have anyone at the hospital with us, not even our parents or Samuel’s brothers. We spent 12 precious hours in his presence cradling him, bathing him, singing to him, and crying over him. Because his life was brief but beautiful, we called him our shooting star. Because of all the chaos going on in the world, my wife and I felt like lonely travelers dealing with a tragedy that was so much bigger than we could handle. ”
Adam Sanford is an award winning artist, a certified art educator, and now author based in North Georgia. He earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of Art and Design at Kennesaw State University. As an illustrator he has worked with performers, authors, conventions, photographers and media companies across the country and internationally. Adam lives in Chatsworth Georgia with his wife and sons, and teaches digital art in the town where he grew up. His sons are his favorite source of inspiration for all his work. Readers can find out more about Adam and his work at adamsanford.com.
The beautifully illustrated book is more parable than straightforward telling of Samuel’s life. The story encapsulates the feelings that the two parents dealt with as they faced the challenges of their grief journey. Samuel Shootingstar is traveling the galaxy searching for a new home for his best friend Luna Bunny after the destruction of her old one. Along the way they meet many strange creatures, and it is often hard to tell which are friends and which are foes. While they may feel very small in a big universe, together they learn that trust and friendship can persevere through seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This book is for anyone who has ever had a difficult time navigating the ups and downs of life. Adam says, "This is a very personal thing for me, but I hope this book will be a comfort and encouragement of hope for children and families going through tragedies or hardships."