Morning Leaves

Reflections on Loss, Grief, and Connection

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Pub Date May 16 2023 | Archive Date Jul 01 2024

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Steeped in beautiful art and verse that invites reflection, Morning Leaves is the perfect gift book or self-purchase for those grieving the loss of a loved one.

An honest, insightful, and beautiful gift for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. In the wake of the untimely death of the author's younger sister and isolated by the pandemic, Rikkers produced Morning Leaves, a book of vulnerable, evocative, and ultimately hopeful poems. She introduces her story and explains how counseling, the artistic process, and nature helped her through the healing process. Her poems, paired with Kelly Leahy Radding's stunningly realistic botanical paintings, metaphorically describe the range of emotions she passes through while grieving. Rikkers seizes the opportunity to be attentive to who she is and, more importantly, who she wants to be, leaving space for the reader to do the same. Her writing is soulful, open, and accessible and the artwork is exquisite. Ultimately, readers are invited to reflect on themselves as they address the grief and loss they have experienced in their own lives.

Steeped in beautiful art and verse that invites reflection, Morning Leaves is the perfect gift book or self-purchase for those grieving the loss of a loved one.

An honest, insightful, and beautiful...

Advance Praise

“The poems within Morning Leaves are tender, compassionate and full of wonder. Laing's writing and Kelly's illustrations are conduits for healing and hope.” –Kristin A. Meekhof, co-author of A Widow's Guide to Healing

“Laing Rikkers’ first book is a wonderful example of the ways in which communion with the natural world can calm, restore and heal. Dedicated to her late sister Ginna, it makes a meaningful argument for the power of quiet observation in the midst of chaos, and an appreciation for the beauty and wisdom which is all around.” –Anna Holmes, award-winning writer and editor at publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The New Yorker, and founder of the site Jezebel

“So beautifully written and thoughtfully constructed. Visceral. Visual. Vulnerable. The passages cracked open my heart.” –Amy K. Hutchens, award-winning speaker and bestselling author of Get It and The Secrets Leaders Keep

"Through Morning Leaves, Laing has found an elegant, beautiful way to deal with her loss. Poetry is so helpful here, isn’t it. The book is quite beautiful to look at as well." –Nils Peterson, first Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County and author of The Comedy of Desire

“The poems within Morning Leaves are tender, compassionate and full of wonder. Laing's writing and Kelly's illustrations are conduits for healing and hope.” –Kristin A. Meekhof, co-author of A...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781685555955
PRICE $19.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 27 members

Featured Reviews

This book has some seriously beautiful words, I totally recommend for anyone going through grief after loss.

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If you need quiet moments with your thoughts, this is the book for you. It offers a quiet respite from the world. Besides the prose, the illustrations offer beauty that touches the heart. The author wrote this book while working through her grief from losing her sister. But this is not a sad book. It is a hopeful book. I thank NetGalley and The Collective Book Studio for this peaceful look into a tranquil place.

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The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous. I want prints of them on my walls.

The idea of poetry centered on nature is nothing new, but still difficult to accomplish. I don’t know if this really touches on grief and loss the way the author intended, but I applaud her for jumping in on something new during an extremely difficult time in her life.

I expected a lot more out of this after dealing with my own loss and grief in 2019. I wish it would have done more. Themes could have been more prevalent, ideas expanded upon, and overall just more could have been done with each poem. They felt like little half thoughts written down quickly and forgotten.

My favorite line though was “My heart is an avocado pit pierced with toothpicks, hanging in my chest.” It’s so strange, but also fully speaks to how you feel after losing someone so loved.

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I really enjoyed this book. I've been looking for something similar to help expand my relationship with God and this was absolutely perfect to achieve my goals.

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Short and sweet, Morning Leaves packs a punch directly the heart. Written during the pandemic, the longing, loneliness, loss, and reaffirmation of strength is palpable on the pages. With beautiful artwork accompanying each poem, the nature presented throughout this collection makes the reader pause in its beauty, feeling the heartbeat of the wild through Rikkers’ use of senses. It was such a touching read and an important one for anyone dealing with a sense of loss or grief.

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I knew a photographer once who told me that the world is full of unnoticed things. This book takes the time to notice, consider, and empathize. The poems are simple, generally choppy, filled with short phrases and impressions. But I feel them.
I particularly adore the pea sprout, hibiscus, and buttercup poems, but I didn't find a single poem in this book that didn't make me feel something. I want this book on my shelf where I can read a little each day and revel in the feeling of being connected to something beyond myself, even if it's just a plant--especially if it's just a plant.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC. All opinions are my own.

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I was immediately drawn to this book, even more when I saw that it covered themes of grief. This is obviously a personal book for the author, but it also feels like I could have written it, too. I really loved the metaphors the author made between nature and the experience of grief. The poems are told in free verse, which I think is perfect considering the subject matter. There is no rhyme or reason to free verse, just like grief. The author was so spot on with her metaphors that some of the poems brought me to tears because I could relate to them so much. I will absolutely be suggesting this book to people!

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It’s incredibly rare for me to give a book the rating of five. This book is beautiful, and we need more of that. It blends art and poetry in a soothing and rich way. I love the large artwork on the facing pages and the sweet, miniatures near the poem. Exquisite and thoughtful. I feel each creature and plant speak to me through their poem. I want to see much more like this, it brings me to a place in my mind where I become grateful, despite my grief. As for the classroom this could totally be used to model nature or geo-writing. Let the place and the living things that occupy it, speak.

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Morning Leaves is a truly captivating collection of poems exploring nature, life, and grief that is beautiful, both lyrically and with the illustrations. While poetry isn't usually my thing, the enchanting cover and the promise of finding solace amidst sorrow drew me in. I do wish there were more poems directly addressing the connection between grief and nature, but it was comforting to see the author find beauty in life even after her personal loss.

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Was the artwork gorgeous? Yes.
Were the poems themselves kind of basic? Yes… but hear me out.
While the poems themselves weren’t anything new or particularly skillful, that wasn’t really the point. The point was to use nature to process through grief. Furthermore, I think if you read it you should read a poem a day and take the time to sit on the poems, let them make you feel the palpable emotions she was feeling: the grief and anger and loneliness and protectiveness.

Also, in case you’re wondering, my favorite poem was Buttercup, and not only cause it’s my favorite flower but because it was the most different of all the poems and reminded me of running through the fields of the flowers as a child.

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Thanks to Netgalley for this early read. This collection of poetry while quick to finish straight through was very thought provoking. Written at the beginning of Covid and amidst terrible heartbreak, the use of plants as a visual for emotions was beautiful. You can feel the journey through feelings and struggle to continue on with life and find happiness again after hurt and anger. I really enjoyed reading it.

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Not what I was expecting, but I credit the writer with their openness. The combination of art and poetry is meditative.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The illustrations in this book are gorgeous! I loved the poems. They were very thought provoking. Although some I didn’t get how they related to grief and loss. But nonetheless, they were very well written.

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This book was beautiful poetry! I recommend for anyone who isn’t a big fan of poetry because it is easy to understand and relate with. This book and many great things to say and you should hear. ;)

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WOW!!! I know you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover but I sure did and this time it DID NOT disappoint. These beautiful poems were accompanied by beautiful images that had me feeling what the author must have felt. This book took me on a ride through love and loss and it's connection with nature and all living things! I will NEVER regret this impulse read. Everyone should experience this magical book at some point in their lives.

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I admit I grabbed this because of the cover. And because the 5th anniversary of my Mom’s passing is fast-approaching and I felt drawn to see how someone else dealt with their grief.

What I found inside were simple poems, but some of them felt like the warmest hug and words on paper of how I feel about life at this moment.

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The sentiment behind Morning Leaves is very beautiful. This was written as an exercise in managing the author’s grief of losing her sister during the pandemic. Although there are wonderful illustrations, I think the poetry is a bit too abstract to connect with. It felt like someone completing a prompt with various plants and animals. I didn’t feel the profound sense of connection I was anticipating in reading the introduction.

Thank you to NetGalley, The Collective Book Studio, and the author Laing F. Rikkers for this ARC!

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This collection is poetry feels like wearing your coziest, well worn sweater on a cold day. Accompanied with beautiful illustrations, I found myself taking deep breaths in between each section of poetry.
Ideal for any person experiencing grief or loss as well as looking for a light and airy pause in typical reading material.

Thank you, NetGalley for providing me with this collection is poetry to read and review.

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I recently lost my grandmother- a vibrant soul taken too soon. Laing F. Rikkers writes a beautiful, poetic story of grief. They portray so well how grief takes many forms and creates a connection with nature to help encapsulate the complexity one feels. I really enjoyed the verse and how the flow changed poem to poem.

To the author Liang - Thank you for sharing your story with us, you showed how grief is harrowing and beautiful all at once.

The art!!! Absolutely breathtaking. I want prints in my home I love it so much. I will absolutely be picking up a copy when it is released.

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