Sorry For Your Loss

Governor General’s Award Finalist (Young People’s Literature – Text)

2022 Canadian Jewish Literary Award Winner (Youth category)

2022 Sydney Taylor Notable Book.

2023 Forest of Reading – Red Maple Honour.

2022/2023 Red Cedar Awards Nominee.

2023 Rocky Mountain Book Award Nominee.

From Orca Book Publishers! Add to your Goodreads TBR.

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Download the discussion and activity guide here.

See this page for behind-the-scenes access into my research for the book.

Evie Walman is not obsessed with death. She does think about it a lot, though, but only because her family runs a Jewish funeral home. At twelve, Evie already knows she’s going to be a funeral director when she grows up. So what if the kids at school call her “corpse girl” and say she smells like death? They’re just mean and don’t get how important it is to have someone take care of things when your world is falling apart. Evie loves dusting caskets, polishing pews, and vacuuming the chapel―and on funeral days, she dresses up and hands out tissues and offers her condolences to mourners. She doesn’t normally help her parents with the grieving families directly, until one day when they ask her to help with Oren, a boy who was in a horrific car accident that killed both his parents. Oren refuses to speak and Evie, who is nursing her own private grief, is determined to find a way to help him deal with his loss.

SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS is a heartwarming, honest, respectful, and sometimes wry look at the inner workings of a Jewish funeral home through the lens of a tween who simply sees it as the family business.


The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids & Teens 2022 – * Starred selection.

“Reading Sorry for Your Loss as a class was a powerful and moving experience. It provided the perfect vehicle to teach about death, loss, and burial customs, as well as to explore the challenges of the grieving process – how it is uneven, personal, long lasting, and, most importantly, normal. This book served as a touchpoint for so many important conversations. When a coworker suffered a loss in her family, I noticed how the students were more empathetic, and had the language to respond to her. Additionally, we enjoyed the character interactions, humor, and storyline. I am so grateful we brought this book into our classroom.” — Mindy Civan, Fifth grade teacher, Perelman Jewish Day School

Named in the “The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2021” list from Tablet.

“What comes after the hardest thing in the world? Joanne Levy answers this question the way a ten-year-old needs it to be answered. Sorry For Your Loss is funny, moving, deeply researched, deeply felt and, above all, hopeful. Deceptively simple and simply marvelous.” — Adam Gidwitz, author of the Newbery Honoree, The Inquisitor’s Tale

“Joanne Levy writes of death, grief, and friendship through the eyes of the delightful Evie Walman as she negotiates both the rather small and very big stuff in her life. A heartfelt glimpse into Jewish family and mourning rituals written with empathy and, of course, humor.” — Lisa Brown, bestselling author/illustrator of The Phantom Twin and The Airport Book

* “…a heartfelt and expertly written tale of loss, family, and friendship that will have readers blinking back their tears as they follow Evie and Oren as they navigate their way through their new companionship. … A beautiful and sincere story of death, healing, and family.” — Kirkus (Starred Review)

“This contemplative novel sensitively depicts a straightforward and compassionate view of death and grieving and explains the Jewish customs for burial preparation. Character development is the strength of the novel, especially in emotionally charged moments. This highly discussable novel navigates complex feelings gracefully. VERDICT: Despite the heavy topics this unique novel addresses, it features humor and warmth and characters young readers will care about.” – SLJ

“While deeply poignant and heartbreaking, there are also moments of lightness that offer much-needed levity against a more serious foundation. In all, Sorry for Your Loss is an enlightening, delicately hopeful, and beautifully rendered story.” — Quill & Quire

“This impor­tant top­ic is sen­si­tive­ly han­dled, turn­ing an already excel­lent com­ing-of-age tale into an impor­tant addi­tion to the mid­dle grade bookshelf.” — Jewish Book Council

“Anyone who has felt the loss of a loved one, who knows what it’s like to feel alone in your grief, or who has wanted to help someone else without knowing how can find comfort in this story. Written for middle-grade readers, this book is a reminder that while pain may not go away, it will get easier with time.” —Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“Grief and mourning are difficult topics for anyone at any age, and Levy’s book treats her subject matter and her readers gently and with understanding. … While the themes might be painful, the book is anything but sad, and it will give its readers some insight into grief as well some tools and suggestions for dealing with it in a proactive and positive way. Highly Recommended.” — CM – Canadian Review of Materials

“Though this may be a difficult read for some, the care in discussing death and dying, family, friendships, and survivors’
guilt results in a touching story that is a delight to cry through.” — Association of Jewish Libraries

“A sincere story about hope, healing, and a blooming friendship amid grief.” — ALA_Booklist

“Varied Jewish traditions and beliefs around life and death are an essential part of this story featuring two singular, quirkily realistic kids, both white, whose burgeoning friendship is a delight in a sometimes funny, always moving story.” — Cooperative Children’s Book Center (Chosen as Book of the Week)

Reading and Discussion of SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS:

An interview with CHCH Morning Live’s Annette Hamm about SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS:

Books for tweens and immature adults.