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If Nathan Were Here
     

If Nathan Were Here

5.0 1
by Mary Bahr, Mary Bahr Fritts, Karen A. Jerome (Illustrator)
 

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If Nathan were here, we would meet in our tree fort… we would take the shortcut through the woods… we would try to splash each other in the puddles…

In If Nathan Were Here, author Mary Bahr gently explores the grief of a young boy whose best friend has died. With the help of an understanding teacher, a kind neighbor, and an empathetic parent, the

Overview

If Nathan were here, we would meet in our tree fort… we would take the shortcut through the woods… we would try to splash each other in the puddles…

In If Nathan Were Here, author Mary Bahr gently explores the grief of a young boy whose best friend has died. With the help of an understanding teacher, a kind neighbor, and an empathetic parent, the boy finds ways to give expression to his questions and sorrow and to reach out to someone else who needs him.

Mary Bahr’s evocative text conveys a child’s grief with honesty and sensitivity, while Karen Jerome’s soft watercolors poignantly capture the tender nature of children’s friendships.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
A simply expressed, sympathetic portrait of a boy's feelings of loss and bewilderment after the death of his best friend.... The soft watercolor illustrations have a fine, tender quality. The emotions of carefree happiness before the child's death and poignant grief afterward are beautifully handled. The sketchy figures are filled with life and feeling, and the warm red and yellow tones promise that sorrow will be overcome, although memories will always last.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Explaining and accepting death is difficult at any age, and probably more so for young kids. A young boy has lost his best friend (we do not know the cause, which gives the book wider use). How he copes along with his classmates and teacher are the focus. Nathan is gone and the teacher suggests that the class create a memory box. Our protagonist just isn't sure what he will put in it. This theme would have been sufficient, but another character Mary Kate, Nathan's sister is also part of the story. While Nathan was alive, he avoided playing with his sister and escaped with his best friend to their tree house. At the end, the boy's decision to let her up into the tree house just seems unlikely and out of character with what has been told previously. Interestingly, nothing in the text or the soft-toned illustrations clearly shows that the protagonist is a boy. It is only the jacket copy and summary that make this point. That aside, the book does offer an opportunity to discuss a difficult subject, to raise questions about what it is like to die, and the real issue of the young boy who wonders what he will do without a best friend. 2000, Eerdmans, Ages 5 up, $16.00. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
From the Publisher
AWARDS and RECOGNITIONS
Association of Theological BooksellersTheologos Award for Best Children's Book (2000)
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year AwardsSilver Medal, Children's Picture Book (2000)
Bank Street CollegeBest Children's Books of the Year (2001)
Kentucky Bluegrass AwardMaster List (2002)
Arkansas Diamond Primary Book AwardFinalist (2002)
Library Talk!The Editor's Pick


Publishers Weekly
"This affecting story is a solid choice for children mourning the loss of a peer."

 
School Library Journal
" A simply expressed, sympathetic portrait of a boy's feelings of loss and bewilderment after the death of his best friend. . . . The soft watercolor illustrations have a fine, tender quality. The emotions of carefree happiness before the child's death and poignant grief afterward are beautifully handled. The sketchy figures are filled with life and feeling, and the warm red and yellow tones promise that sorrow will be overcome, although memories will always last."
 
Booklist
"The story offers no easy solution as it moves through the boy's anger and isolation to his rejoining life in gradual, unforced steps. The bright watercolors have a gentle, shining quality that enhances the book's hopeful message."
 
Book Page
"If Nathan Were Here is a warm, sensitive story of how one little boy is encouraged and supported to find his own way to remember his best friend. A comforting, empathetic squeeze from his father, a quiet time sitting by Nathan's favorite strawberry garden, and an understanding teacher who allows classmates to fill a memory box help the young boy think through the things he and Nathan enjoyed doing together. If Nathan Were Here is written in simple, honest language, and the warm, expressive watercolors by Karen A. Jerome tenderly express the sensitive story of children's friendships."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802851871
Publisher:
Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
05/28/2000
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
6 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Mary Bahr (1946-2014), who described herself as a librarianby profession and an author by addiction, graduated with aBachelors of Science degree in Library Science from theCollege of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota. She wonnumerous awards for her writing, which includes over 125stories and articles for both juvenile and adult publicationsas well as inspirational pieces published in five anthologies.Her picture book Memory Box (Albert Whitman)received multiple honors for its sensitive portrayal of a childdealing with a grandparent's Alzheimer's disease. In additionto writing, Mary led writing workshops, served as the SCBWIretreat Director for the Rocky Mountain Region, andreviewed children's books for The Five Owls.

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If Nathan Were Here 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago