What Is Death - A Book Review

What Is Death - A Book Review

Take a look at the children's book by Etan Boritzer that addresses a difficult subject.

What happens after someone dies is one of the most difficult questions a parent deal with. In his book What Is Death? Etan Boritzer discusses the issue from a multi-cultural point of view. This addition to the What is... series is superior to Boritzer's What Is God?, but still attempts to address too many issues in one short book. There are many, many concepts crowding into the narrative. On the other hand, it may open a door allowing discussion between a parent and child who have recently experienced a death.

Nancy Forrest's illustrations are soft water colors that offer a softened image of death. To be honest the images are a bit too sympathy card looking for my tastes. Since the book is geared toward children these illustrations are appropriate. The paintings have been criticized for making everyone in the book appear "too white" and not reflecting various cultures appropriately.

While I would not share this book at story time, it may be a useful book for school counselors or to recommend to parents looking for books to assist in explaining death to their children.

If your budget is limited and you must make a choice there are other books that I recommend before What Is Death?. Such of them are:

  • The Two of Them, Aliki
  • When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death, K. Brown & Marc Brown
  • The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, Leo Buscaglia
  • Everett Anderson's Goodbye, Lucille Clifton
  • Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, by Tomie dePaola
  • Tough Boris, Mem Fox
  • Sam Bangs and Moonshine, E. Ness
  • Life's a Funny Proposition, Horatio, B.G. Polikoff
  • The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, Judith Viorst
  • I'll Always Love You, H. Wilhelm

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