WHAT IS GOODBYE? by Nikki Grimes

WHAT IS GOODBYE?

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

The unimaginably painful situation of losing a sibling is the theme of this poetry collection, told in alternating viewpoints by a younger brother and sister in the year after their older brother’s sudden death from an unspecified cause. The 52 poems are organized in pairs with the same title, moving in subject from the initial shock of hearing of the death, through the funeral, and then through the stages of grief and on to the gradual adjustment to the new circumstances of their changed family life. Grimes succeeds in creating distinct personalities for each member of the family and distinctly different ways of dealing with their grief as well. Most of the poems by the brother, Jesse, are rhymed and shorter, while those in the voice of his older sister are unrhymed and more sophisticated in structure and introspection. Grimes addresses many areas of the grief process, often in a poignant fashion that is hard to witness; the boy hears his father crying in the night, for instance. Small colored-pencil illustrations thoughtfully capture some of the conflicting emotions and images in the poetry. (author’s note) (Poetry. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7868-0778-4
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2004




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