When People Die

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
Part of the "How Can I Deal with…" series, this book portrays children's feelings when faced with the death of a loved one. Perspectives of children and their friends are examined. Each three-page section includes a brief introduction followed by first-person narratives from children's perspectives. Each section ends with suggestions for what the child can do to improve the situation, as well as a short narrative of what the child did about the situation. Due to each section's brevity, the solutions are necessarily short and generic. Most include encouraging children to talk to their parents, their friends or another adult. A list of ideas at the end gives children sensible ways they can deal with their grief. The text is accompanied by realistic photographs of children, their friends and their parents. Both genders are equally represented, and families of various ethnic and racial backgrounds are shown. While this may be useful as a conversation-starter, the situations and suggestions lack depth. The reading level would allow third or fourth grade children to read this book on their own, but the context and the subject matter are such that they would benefit more from reading aloud passages with a counselor or a parent. The endnotes include a glossary, a list of references and an index, as well as notes for parents, caregivers and teachers. Reviewer: Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
School Library Journal

Gr 2-5

These titles feature a selection of fictional case studies. After a child (and sometimes her friends or family members) explains the problem and her reaction, the author provides a list of choices the girl could make, followed by an explanation of what she chose and why. Although each book includes a few pages of background information about its topic, the emphasis is on the case studies, inviting reader participation. Each scenario addresses a slightly different situation; for example, When People Die includes children dealing with the death of parents, siblings, friends, and grandparents. Divorce, Stepfamily, and New Baby focus mostly on the emotions (sadness, anger, fear, guilt, uncertainty, loneliness, and jealousy) that kids experience with family changes. Hewitt is careful to show multiple perspectives; Bullying and Racism, for example, tell stories from the point of view of both victims and perpetrators. Each title ends with a dialogue between two kids explaining how they successfully coped with the issue. The large font size, inviting layout, and color photos (with a multicultural cast of characters) will attract students, including reluctant readers, though the format is also ideal for use by teachers or counselors who want to encourage classroom discussion. Unfortunately, the kids' voices in the scenarios don't always sound authentic, and the solutions are covered so briefly they sometimes seem simplistic. In addition, the word "gang" is used in the British sense (meaning a group of friends), and, though defined in the glossary, this may confuse American readers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599202310
  • Publisher: Black Rabbit Books
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Series: How Can I Deal With Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Table of Contents


I Don't Know What's Happening!     4
What Is Death?     7
I Don't Want to Say Good-bye!     8
What Happens at a Funeral?     11
I'm Angry with My Brother for Leaving Me     12
Will I Ever Stop Feeling Sad?     15
I'm Afraid I Will Die Too     18
My Parents Don't Love Me Now     21
I Miss Granddad Too     24
How Can I Remember Someone Special?     27
When Our Friend Died     28
Glossary     30
Further Information     31
Index     32
Notes for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers     32
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