About the Author

Essie LaflammeEssie Laflamme

Author — Educator — Storyteller

Essie is all about the heart and she signs all she writes, “With peace, light and love.”

These three magic words describe her life as a preschool teacher, writer, puppeteer, and palliative and hospice caregiver. Living in the moment is her gift, bringing love to these moments is her secret power.

Essie speaks to how grateful she is in knowing what she wanted to be when she “grew up.” When the time came for her to forge her path, she chose the path that had “the brightest light.”  Way back when, Essie’s passion and mission was to be of service to children. …Today, it still is.

Throughout Essie’s thirty years as a preschool teacher, she incorporated puppets into her class as a means for children to be able to express themselves through the stories they would tell – dancing, singing and make believe. It was at this time she earned her happy title, “Essie the Puppet Lady.” Essie truly believes that during this amazing period “the stars aligned” as it was also the beginning of a lifelong friendship with co-teacher Marie who shared the same values and love for children. And years later Marie would become the artist and illustrator of the Caring For gentle bereavement series, as well as the Sweet Echo Story series, which introduces “Lola, the Roving Reporter.”

Later Essie became a volunteer at Baystate Children’s Hospital where her puppets ‘tagged’ along. As the child selected the puppets that ‘spoke’ to them Essie states,

“And for a brief moment in time the child became so much more than their illness.  Magic was happening as their beds became their stage and the puppet show became ‘their’ story.”

In her words, “Hospice found me.” After concluding the hospice volunteer training program, Essie requested to be with any child who had a family member in hospice, as well as any child who was directly on hospice care. She is humble as she speaks to how she has been truly blessed.

“I was given the vast privilege by courageous parents who allowed me, a total stranger, into their home and heart, most often toward the end of their child’s life. I could not begin to know what had transpired before I was called in. What I do know is, as I entered and introduced myself, the power of puppetry – and most importantly, the power of the child – began and we were ALL collectively transported to a magical place. At that specific moment in time, there was no sickness, no suffering, and no pain. Most often there was laughter, singing, and pure joy – sometimes in minutes – often in hours. The child had a ‘job’ to do, a ‘show’ to put on, and the CELEBRATION of their life began. I was merely a vessel. The child became the teacher, I, their student. And what life lessons they taught me could not be learned from any book, movie or script. Their stories were improvised and their imaginations soared. The child shared their journey, often whispering their innermost thoughts – sometimes of pain and fear, but mostly of strength, dignity and courage, sprinkled with laughter and love. A safe platform was created by these brave boys and girls, who allowed themselves to speak freely and comfortably about their illness to the puppets, and bare their soul in a safe haven – and to be in control at a time of their life that had spiraled out of control.”

Essie believes that through the puppets the child was allowed the freedom to, “Write the last chapter of their lives.The puppets had no agenda other than providing a sounding board and, for a brief moment in time, all was right with the world.”

Throughout this profound journey, Essie began writing as a means to express what she had seen, heard and observed based on each child’s specific circumstance.

There is a sweet cadence that flows throughout Essie’s bereavement series.“Caring for Mama Bear,” “Caring for Pa,” and “Caring for Gramma Dove” provide hope and comfort as they tenderly touch on loss and grief.

Sweet Echo Stories

In conjunction with her “Caring For” series, Essie introduces, “Lola, the Roving Reporter.” These light-hearted stories center around the whimsical adventures of furry friend Lola and her pals. They softly touch upon the importance of being a good friend, community and respect for one another – and ourselves. They are packed with humor and filled with love.

Essie sees the world through the eyes of a child. She writes her stories from that very same place.