Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sarah's Grandma Goes to Heaven

Sarah's Grandma Goes to Heaven is another book in the Helping Kids Heal series. Written by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Cheri Bladholm, the book deals with the death of a grandparent.
As the story begins, Sarah's grandma has a doctor's appointment because she hasn't been "feeling herself" lately. When Sarah finds out that her beloved Grandma has been diagnosed with cancer, she asks her dad if her grandma will die. Her father replies: "Some people who get cancer or are sick in other ways get well again. We don't know what will happen in Grandma's case. We're taking one day at a time and praying that she will get better." Sarah's Grandma's hair falls out, but she is still able to help Sarah carve pumpkins. Soon, however, Grandma grew so sick that a nurse had to come to stay with Grandma during the day. Sarah continues to pray that her grandma will get better.
Grandma dies soon after Christmastime, and many people visit the house. Sarah doesn't feel like eating although people are bringing lots of food to her house. She and Grandpa talk about heaven and what it is like there. Grandpa tells Sarah that they will see Grandma in heaven when they die.
Sarah has trouble sleeping, so Dad reads her Grandma's favorite Scripture (Psalm 23). Sarah draws a picture of a shepherd with grandma smiling next to him. Sarah was scared when she first sees Grandma in the casket, but she feels better when she thinks of Grandma's spirit in heaven.
There are good days and bad days after the funeral, and when spring comes, Sarah and her grandpa plant the garden again. They think of grandma and how much she loved her garden, and them as well!
What I Like: The illustrations depict the emotions of Sarah and her family very well. The book is very clear that there will be ups and downs to the grieving process, and shows an effective way that Sarah deals with her grief.
What I Dislike: Although this book handles the subject of death and dealing with grief very lovingly, it doesn't cover a sudden death, or some of the more unpleasant aspects of a terminal illness. I know from experience, that the death of a grandparent with a terminal illness, such as cancer, involves some grieving during the process of dying and not just after the death occurs. This is still a very effective book in spite of those things.

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: 4-8
Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2004; ISBN:0310706564 ; Hardback $9.99

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Special Info: See our other reviews of Helping Kids Heal books.

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