Last Updated Jan 8, 2020 3:45 PM EST
By the time Sarah Corbett Lynch was 8 years old, she had lost three parents, been moved back and forth halfway across the world twice and experienced more loss than anyone of us do in an entire lifetime, let alone childhood.
Sarah's birth mother died when she was just an infant. A few years later, her father Jason, a successful Irish businessman, married their young, beautiful American nanny, Molly Martens. The newlyweds, Sarah and her older brother Jack, moved from Limerick to North Carolina. Molly was the only mother Sarah had ever really known and the two were incredibly close.
But the married couple grew apart and on August 2, 2015, Jason wasby Molly and her father Tom Martens. They claimed it was self-defense. Within days of Jason's death, a very public and ugly international custody battle ensued between Molly and Jason's sister, Tracey Corbett-Lynch. Tracey prevailed. The children abruptly moved back to Ireland to live with their aunt, uncle and two cousins. Molly and her father were convicted of murder and sentenced 20 to 25 years in prison.
You might expect a child exposed to so much loss and pain from a violent act to lash out at some point, but for Sarah, the pen became mightier than a sword. Now 13 years old, the young author has just published a series of children's books.
"Some kids have a really gentle, fun life. For some of us we are not so lucky," she told The Irish Times. Perhaps the way in which she lost her parents was unique, but Sarah realized the overwhelming feelings of loss were not. "It basically helped me feel less alone and so I began to write about my experiences through my stories," she said.
"Noodle Loses Dad" is the first book of the Boogawooga series — a tale of young brother and sister wolves whose father is snatched by an evil vulture, never to be seen again. The frightened cubs are taken in by a kind and generous family of monkeys, a mother, father and two boys, who live "across the pond" on an island. Despite the simple words and soft pastel illustrations, the similarities between Sarah's real-life drama and the misfortunes that befall the cute, innocent forest animals are undeniable.
"These stories are a means for Sarah to share her experiences over recent years transforming her story into something that can be understood by other children coping with loss, grief, blended family and being re-homed due to personal circumstances," said Sarah's uncle, David Lynch.
In the end, the orphans successfully learn to live a very different life than the one they had planned. A fitting end for the book and hopeful beginning for a teenager recently honored with the Limerick Garda Youth Award for Most Courageous and Inspiring Young Person [watch video below.]
The book can be purchased online through Sarah's website.