WITH YOU by Susan V. Bertram

WITH YOU

Coping with the Loss of a Loved One
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut picture book for children and adults that offers a positive perspective on loss and grief.

This elegantly simple book by Bertram, an art therapist, focuses on the close relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild. It’s told from the child’s point of view as the youngster processes the impending loss of a beloved grandmother, who once “bathed me, fed me, played with me and loved me.” The grandmother is nearing the end of her life (“[a]s I got bigger, the body Grandma’s spirit lived in became old and tired”), and now she’s being bathed, fed and loved with her grandchild’s help. Grandma’s spirit, the child says, has grown too big for the body that houses it; soon it will “rise up and she will become one with everything around me, including myself. She will be part of the rain, sun, wind, and trees.” In this comforting, soulful view of the afterlife, sunlight will be Grandma’s hug, and the rain will be Grandma saying hello. Sitting high in a “comfy” tree will be like sitting in Grandma’s lap (“I will hear her stories inside me”), and the wind will be Grandma’s invitation to run and play. And “one day,” as is the natural way of things, the child says, “I will grow too big for my house,” and “[a]s the wind, I will sing quietly in your ear….I will be the rain that taps you on the head.” The expressive flow and swirl of Bertram’s and DiGuiseppi’s colorful mixed-media illustrations provide a complementary backdrop to the well-crafted text. The author makes no reference to religion, instead offering readers of all ages an inclusive, uplifting message of transition, connection and spiritual renewal.

A deeply felt, child-appropriate book on dying that’s resonant for all ages.

Pub Date: March 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0615896267
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: BravenArt
Program: Kirkus Indie
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