Too Far Away to Touch by Leslea Newman, Catherine Stock |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Too Far Away to Touch

Too Far Away to Touch

by Leslea Newman, Catherine Stock
     
 
Zoe has an especially close relationship with her uncle, Leonard, who is now sick with AIDS. Following a visit to the planetarium, he explains to her that when he dies, he will be like the stars: too far away to touch. "The book is a poignant respite from the more didactic and bibliotherapeutic titles that have sprung up in response to the AIDS crisis." -- Bulletin of

Overview

Zoe has an especially close relationship with her uncle, Leonard, who is now sick with AIDS. Following a visit to the planetarium, he explains to her that when he dies, he will be like the stars: too far away to touch. "The book is a poignant respite from the more didactic and bibliotherapeutic titles that have sprung up in response to the AIDS crisis." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Stock's (Tap-Tap) soft-focus watercolors provide a delicate foil for this exceptionally thoughtful story of a girl whose uncle has AIDS. Zoe treasures her visits with Uncle Leonard, but on this particular outing-to the planetarium-he seems different. He tires easily, and his once-abundant hair is now sparse, hidden beneath a beret. At a cafe, he tells her that he is sick, and answers questions honestly ("Are you going to get better soon?" "I don't know, Zoe"). His surprise for her-glow-in-the-dark stars for her bedroom ceiling reminds her of something he said at the museum, that the stars are "too far away to touch, but close enough to see." This comforting message is repeated on a later trip to the beach, where the two watch for shooting stars and discuss the possibility of his death. Newman's (Fat Chance; Heather Has Two Mommies) treatment of her subject is singularly sensitive, carefully tuned to a young audience. Uncle Leonard's partner, for instance, is mentioned matter-of-factly, though the relationship itself is left unexplored. Despite the sombre theme, the story ends on an uplifting note, and it's hard to imagine a more appropriate book for young readers that deals so gently and insightfully with such an important topic.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stock's (Tap-Tap) soft-focus watercolors provide a delicate foil for this exceptionally thoughtful story of a girl whose uncle has AIDS. Zoe treasures her visits with Uncle Leonard, but on this particular outing-to the planetarium-he seems different. He tires easily, and his once-abundant hair is now sparse, hidden beneath a beret. At a cafe, he tells her that he is sick, and answers questions honestly ("Are you going to get better soon?" "I don't know, Zoe"). His surprise for her-glow-in-the-dark stars for her bedroom ceiling-reminds her of something he said at the museum, that the stars are "too far away to touch, but close enough to see." This comforting message is repeated on a later trip to the beach, where the two watch for shooting stars and discuss the possibility of his death. Newman's (Fat Chance; Heather Has Two Mommies) treatment of her subject is singularly sensitive, carefully tuned to a young audience. Uncle Leonard's partner, for instance, is mentioned matter-of-factly, though the relationship itself is left unexplored. Despite the sombre theme, the story ends on an uplifting note, and it's hard to imagine a more appropriate book for young readers that deals so gently and insightfully with such an important topic. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Zoe adores her Uncle Leonard who always has delightful surprises in store for her. On a trip to the planetarium she comes to realize that her beloved uncle is very ill. Soon he will be like the stars, too far away to touch, but close enough to see in her mind. We gradually come to understand that Uncle Leonard has AIDS. This is a sensitive, touching treatment of a difficult subject.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-This is a beautifully done, quiet tale that will be meaningful to all children who have lost a beloved relative to any illness, but especially to AIDS. Leonard, Zoe's favorite uncle, takes her to the Hayden Planetarium. As they enjoy the show and the twinkling sky, Uncle Leonard explains that the stars are too far away to touch but close enough to see. When they return home, he covers the ceiling of her room with glow-in-the-dark stars. Because Leonard is losing his hair and tires easily, Zoe begins to wonder about him dying. When they take a special nighttime trip to a beach, he reassures her that although he will not be close enough to touch when he dies, he will always be there for her in her memories. The soft watercolor paintings add to the warm tone. A special story of the enduring nature of love.-Mary Rinato Berman, New York Public Library
Carolyn Phelan
Zoe looks forward to her outings with Uncle Leonard, but now that he has AIDS, some things are different: most of his hair has fallen out, he takes pills, and he tires quickly. Following a trip to the planetarium, he puts glow-in-the-dark stars on her bedroom ceiling. When Uncle Leonard and his friend Nathan take her to the beach one evening, Uncle Leonard reassures Zoe that when he dies, he'll be "too far away to touch, but close enough to see," just like the stars. Written with honesty and restraint (and only one mention of the word "AIDS"), the story has a universality that will touch readers of any age who face the death of a loved one. Stock's expressive watercolor illustrations reflect the innocence of the child and the beauty of the book's message.
From the Publisher
"The book is a poignant respite from the more didactic and bibliotherapeutic titles that have sprung up in response to the AIDS crisis." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This is a beautifully done, quiet tale that will be meaningful to all children who have lost a beloved relative to any illness, but especially to AIDS. Leonard, Zoe's favorite uncle, takes her to the Hayden Planetarium. As they enjoy the show and the twinkling sky, Uncle Leonard explains that the stars are too far away to touch but close enough to see. . . . When they take a special nighttime trip to a beach, he reassures her that although he will not be close enough to touch when he dies, he will always be there for her in her memories. The soft watercolor paintings add to the warm tone. A special story of the enduring nature of love." School Library Journal

"Stock's soft-focus watercolors provide a delicate foil for this exceptionally thoughtful story of a girl whose uncle has AIDS. . . . It's hard to imagine a more appropriate book for young readers that deals so gently and insightfully with such an important topic." Publishers Weekly, Starred

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395689684
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/27/1995
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.33(w) x 10.33(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Catherine Stock, known for her sensitive paintings, has illustrated many books for children, including several for Clarion. She divides her time between Rignac, France, and New York City.

Lesléa Newman is the author of more than 40 books, including Matzo Ball Moon and Remember That. She lives in Massachusetts.

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