5 copy price $1.28
10 copy price $1.19
Anybody who has worked with children for any length of time will know the confusion, pain and fear experienced by a child when someone they know dies. Confusion about where they have gone, pain that they aren’t around anymore and real fear that other people they know will go away also. 10 of those in partnership with Day One have produced ‘When someone you know dies…’ to try and help with the pastoral care of these little ones. The book is very readable, extremely clear and well illustrated. It is a great conversation starter and one saturated in the gospel, that shows the joy of certain hope trusting Jesus the one who removes the fear of death. There are some very good illustrations, particularly the analogy about the conker and the oak tree to show the eternality of the soul but the transience of the human shell. I think this book is a great resource to have in every child workers drawer to be given to parents and children struggling with the loss of a loved one.
Much as we would want to protect young children from some of the harsher realities of life, there are situations and times when death rears his ugly head even at the nursery window. It is extremely dificult to explain death to a very young child; until they actually lose someone they love that way, they can have no concept of its strangeness, its finality and its pain, nor would you want them too. Until then, even to children systematically taught scriptural truth, death is just a word. For many years there have been secular storybooks to help children understand and come to terms with the idea of death – John Burningham’s Grandpa is one such – and there has been some Christian material which broaches the subject, but not a lot for the younger primary age–group. When someone you know dies is in the form of a small booklet, with a page of thoughtful, coloured illustration to every page of text. It draws on one of the best Christian explanations of death for children I know: the story within a story from Patricia St. John’s The Tanglewoods’ Secret. In that book an old shepherd comforting a grieving child uses the analogy firstly of a lamb and then of a conker. It is tenderly told, pointing clearly to resurrection hope. Nor does the booklet shirk the thorny question of the destiny of unbelievers. This is done truthfully and gently and leads into an explanation of the gospel of grace and the triumph of our Saviour. A very useful tool for parents and children’s workers.
This wee pamphlet on a wildly difficult pastoral subject is gem. If you do find yourself in the situation of working with a child who is grieving or if you’re a parent, grandparent or friend of a child who is, read this through with them. Listen to them talk. Sit quietly with them. Pray with them. Be encouraged that however ill equipped you feel God is good and will work through your efforts. The strength of this pamphlet is its simplicity and clarity, it’s a great jumping off point for your own conversations.
There are many things I appreciate about this book. However there is in my opinion and I am happy to be corrected, a gaping hole which leaves me unable to wholeheartedly recommend it. The book clearly explains that at the point of death the shell (body) is in the ground but the person (spirit/soul) is with God. The book also explains that Jesus rose back to life. But devastatingly, the book does not link the resurrection of Jesus to our future bodily resurrection. In other words at the end of the book a child and adult would be left thinking that for the rest of eternity the one who died will live without a body and yet 1 Cor 15 and 1 Thess 4 make it so clear that when Jesus returns the bodies of those who have died will be raised back to life. It would be wonderful if in a reprint of this book, this Biblical truth could be included in the story as then I think this book should be recommended to everyone who wants to help a child deal with death.
Total Price: $1.99