ALL OF A SUDDEN AND FOREVER by Chris Barton
Kirkus Star

ALL OF A SUDDEN AND FOREVER

Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 11
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 killed 168 people, “but the awfulness of that moment is not the end of the story.”

A man parks a truck in front of a big building and walks away. The bomb explodes. And “all of a sudden—and forever—so much was ruined.” Barton tells exactly what happened and how it affected so many people. Xu’s illustrations, created with ink and Photoshop, are dark and eerie, capturing the mood of loss. Grief knows no boundaries, and white and brown-skinned people walk through misty landscapes, as if the dust from the bombing is still in the air. But an American elm near the blast survives, and its roots entwine scenes from page to page, as if wrapping those still living in its embrace. The tree itself is featured on the cover, its branches outstretched, welcoming all who gather. This Survivor Tree is a generous one, offering seeds for remembrance, a place for gathering, even a spot for a wedding. A touching final double-page spread represents the many people—black and white, young and old, those who stand and those who use wheelchairs—who assemble there. They hold hands, their shadows reflected as if in a misty gray-blue pool, the Survivor Tree’s roots swirling underneath. And the final words: “We will remember.”

An affecting story of loss rooted in one specific tragedy. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, interview subjects, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5415-2669-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Carolrhoda
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2019




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