Children's Maria Shriver What's Heaven?

ISBN 13: 9780307440433

What's Heaven?

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9780307440433: What's Heaven?

What's Heaven is the story of Kate, a little girl whose great-grandma has just died. She seeks answers, and her mother helps her learn about Heaven. The many questions in this book--childlike and thought-provoking--are real, coming from Maria Shriver's own children, nieces and nephews when her grandmother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy passed away. With loving, cinfident, and ultimately uplifting answers, Shriver taught her family, and will teach yours, how to come together, feel closer to each other, and feel peace.

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Review:

Borne from actual questions asked by her own daughters, journalist Maria Shriver's What's Heaven? is a gentle narrative following the conversations that pass between a mother and a young daughter in the days immediately following the death of the child's special great-grandmother. Initially, young Kate's concern is with the obvious change in her mother. Quickly, one question leads to another.

Kate asked, "Mommy, why are you so sad?" Her mom looked at her and said, "My grandma, your great-grandma, has died and gone to Heaven." Kate thought about this for a moment. "Then she asked, "Heaven? What's Heaven?"
Shriver, who was raised Catholic, delivers a simple, traditional definition of Heaven that is rich in imagery but never overembroidered . Heaven, she writes, "is a beautiful place up in the sky, where no one is sick, where no one is mean or unhappy. It's a place beyond the moon, the stars, and the clouds.... Heaven isn't a place you can see.... It's somewhere you believe in." As the funeral approaches and Kate's questions become more pragmatic ("How will she breathe in the box?... Why did Great-grandma look so different?") her mother slowly and clearly introduces the concept of body versus soul, explaining that Great-grandma's best and brightest traits will live on forever in the people she loved. It's hard for Kate to grasp, but by book's end, when she's calling up into the sky to her Great-grandma, it is clear Kate understands. "I know you are up there, and if you can hear me, I want you to know that even though you are no longer here, your spirit will always be alive in me." Generously illustrated with Sandra Speidel's full-size pastel drawings of the characters, the sky, angels, and family photographs, this is a book that can comfortably be read in one sitting. Not that it will only be read once: it's got instant-classic written all over it. (Ages 5 and older) --Jean Lenihan

From the Publisher:

How do you explain death to children? How do you help them understand the loss of a loved one? Journalist Maria Shriver was faced with this dilemma when her grandmother, Rose, died. Her discussions with her oldest daughter, Katherine, who was six at the time, became the inspiration for Shriver's first book for children, What's Heaven? This touching story, beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Sandra Speidel, is an important tool for other parents trying to explain the mystery of death to their children.

What's Heaven? tells the story of Kate, a young girl struggling to understand the loss of her great-grandmother. Kate is full of innocent and thought-provoking questions young children ask--why do people die? How do they get to Heaven? What is it like? Kate's questions are real, coming from Maria Shriver's own children, nieces, and nephews as they coped with their own family's loss. As they prepare for Great-Grandma's funeral, Kate's mother gives warm and reassuring explanations that help Kate (and the reader) understand that death and grieving are a natural part of life.

Death eventually touches every family, and it can be hard for parents to talk about this difficult topic. Combining her skills as a journalist with her experiences as a devoted mom, Maria Shriver has created a beautiful book that parents of all faiths can share with their children.

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