Ronan and the Endless Sea of Stars written by Rick Louis and illustrated by Lara Antal

Trigger warning for child loss.

It’s seldom that I read a book that leaves me in tears. Ronan and the Endless Sea of Stars written by Rick Louis and illustrated by Lara Antal emotionally devastated me and tore out my heart. This graphic novel memoir tells the story of one parent’s journey caring for his son with a terminal diagnosis. Rick Louis beautifully wrote this story about his life, while Lara Antal illustrated his words with sensitivity. The pallet of blues, whites, and blacks is breathtaking and tenderly adds to the story of the before, during, and after his son’s life.

Rick and Emily were overjoyed when she became pregnant. After their son Ronan was born and as his development progressed, they noticed a slight issue with his vision that necessitated a trip to the doctor. That visit led them down a rabbit hole of other doctors and ended with a devastating diagnosis for Ronan. Ronan has Tay-Sachs, an incurable neurological disorder. Rick and Emily have to deal with the practical issues of raising their son, while also paired with the emotional hurdles of loving their son under the shadow of their inevitable loss and his inevitable death. They are trapped in an impossible situation with very little positives.

This book was heartbreaking, yet told beautifully by a father destroyed by the loss of his young son. I strongly recommend this book (though have the tissues ready). While this story is sad, Rick also lightens his telling with comedy paired with gorgeous artwork. It’s full of warmth and heartbreak, sorrow and joy, as Rick discusses the importance of finding joy no matter how your life is at the moment.

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