Death is Stupid
Death is stupid. This book is not.
As the title suggests, it's a book about death. It addresses the reader frequently. There's a child who kind of represents the reader, or listener, and it talks about how people say things when someone you love dies that don't make a lot of sense. Sometimes they say the wrong things. It gives suggestions on how to start coming to terms with going on living when someone you love dies. It's completely open to any kind of beliefs about afterlife and it kind of skips over that, which is nice, and talks about having a conversation "in your imagination" with them. The child character has a conversation with a grandmother who just passed away. One page I'm not too keen on is page 44, where it says that if you ask them questions, you might get a reply in a dream or in a sign. That's a little spiritual or superstitious for me. At the end, the child goes outside with the father and starts taking care of the grandmother's garden. At the very end, it has suggestions of things that you can do to both continue living and to celebrate the person who has died. Like playing games that they played or wearing the clothes that they wore. And it mentions that sometimes when a pet dies, some people may try to discount your feelings, but not to listen to them. It reinforces that it's okay to move on and and still remember your your loved ones.
The art style is collage with mixed-media, and the characters in the book have their skin made with brown paper bags, so they're ambiguously multicultural, which is nice. I'd have absolutely no problem reading this to my child if they were dealing with death. I probably wouldn't spring it on them out of nowhere, but I think it would be very helpful to children who had a loved one pass away, and help the parents open up conversation with the child about it. There's definitely some times when you need to be by yourself and be introspective about death, but there are also definitely times when you need to talk and to make sure that you and your children are not suppressing your feelings, and that everyone is getting their needs met.