This treasure of a book, for people of all faiths, is a starting point for parents who must talk about the difficult topic of death with their children. What should parents say when a loved one dies? Heaven is a difficult subject that always comes up at tough times, and Maria Shriver has written a
This treasure of a book, for people of all faiths, is a starting point for parents who must talk about the difficult topic of death with their children.
What should parents say when a loved one dies? Heaven is a difficult subject that always comes up at tough times, and Maria Shriver has written a very special book precisely for these stressful moments. What’s Heaven? is the story of Kate, a little girl whose great-grandma has just died. She seeks answers, and her mother helps her learn about Heaven. The many questions in this book are real, coming from Shriver’s own children, nieces, and nephews when her grandmother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy passed away. With 900,000 copies of the book now in print, the loving, confident, and ultimately uplifting answers Shriver provides are helping readers’ families come together, feel closer to one another, and experience peace during the times when they need it most.
Borne from actual questions asked by her own daughters, journalist Maria Shriver’s What’s Heaven? is a gentle narrative following the conversations that pass between a mother and a young daughter in the days immediately following the death of the child’s special great-grandmother. Initially, young Kate’s concern is with the obvious change in her mother. Quickly, one question leads to another. Kate asked, “Mommy, why are you so sad?” Her mom looked at her and said, “My grandma, your great-grandma, has died and gone to Heaven.” Kate thought about this for a moment. “Then she asked, “Heaven? What’s Heaven?” Shriver, who was raised Catholic, delivers a simple, traditional definition of Heaven that is rich in imagery but never overembroidered . Heaven, she writes, “is a beautiful place up in the sky, where no one is sick, where no one is mean or unhappy. It’s a place beyond the moon, the stars, and the clouds…. Heaven isn’t a place you can see…. It’s somewhere you believe in.” As the funeral approaches and Kate’s questions become more pragmatic (“How will she breathe in the box?… Why did Great-grandma look so different?”) her mother slowly and clearly introduces the concept of body versus soul, explaining that Great-grandma’s best and brightest traits will live on forever in the people she loved. It’s hard for Kate to grasp, but by book’s end, when she’s calling up into the sky to her Great-grandma, it is clear Kate understands. “I know you are up there, and if you can hear me, I want you to know that even though you are no longer here, your spirit will always be alive in me.” Generously illustrated with Sandra Speidel’s full-size pastel drawings of the characters, the sky, angels, and family photographs, this is a book that can comfortably be read in one sitting. Not that it will only be read once: it’s got instant-classic written all over it. (Ages 5 and older) –Jean Lenihan
- Color Illustrations on each page