Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place to be when the sun is setting on another work day and you’re ready to settle in for a read.
Today’s selection is bittersweet. It explores the love of and for a cherished family member who is nearing their journey’s end here on Earth while seeking an answer to the thought echoed in hearts and minds young and old…where do they go? For those readers that have reached a certain age, we know that they remain with us in our hearts no matter what your religious (or non) beliefs may be but for children, this answer doesn’t necessarily suffice. Such is the case for the young girl featured in this story. I invite you to take a walk hand in hand with Rachel and Zayde as she discovers a world of hope just beyond tomorrow’s horizon. Today’s book of choice is…
When I first approached this book, I thought…now this will be an interesting story. No matter that it didn’t have action and adventure, nor questing or paranormal beings; the cover alone gave me the feeling that the story within had a lot more going for it….heart. Readers? I was right.
Rachel is the young girl pictured, Zayde is her grandfather. Together they are getting reacquainted in the later days of his live. Yes; Zayde is dying. Rachel hasn’t been told in so many words but she is a perceptive girl able to see the changes in her loved one with her own eyes. It worries her as it would most children and adults. She doesn’t want to lose this cherished person in life and yet she can do nothing to stop it…a hard pill to swallow at any age. Her journeys to understand what’s next for her grandfather when his eyes see their last sunrise or his arms feel his last hug is what’s within these pages; the hope for something more for him as well as for her. It’s a hard lesson handled with much care and a warm gentleness that spreads from the pages straight to your heart as she seeks the knowledge of those wiser then her young years.
In my mind, the illustrations are what provide the comforting aspect of this story. Though the words are tender, a thousand words are spoken by the images. As opposed to being simply about someone growing old, taking their last breaths, and leaving their loved ones behind, the pictures show us that there is so much more to understand. From the loving gaze of a grandfather for his family to the hopeful eyes of a child for someone they feel slipping away, each emotion is etched on the pages to be taken in and felt as opposed to simply seen. The “next lives” discussed between well meaning friends and finally Rachel and Rabbi Levy provide us with the promise of something more beyond the world we see no matter what our beliefs. The heart warming conclusion and understanding reached by book’s end will bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your heart.
In the end, it’s a story of endings AND beginnings but much more about the middle…the LIVING. It reminds us that one day we will all reach the end of our roads, it’s inevitable, but that each of us will live on in the hearts and minds of those whose lives we’ve touched. How will you be remembered? Have you created any memories today? Even the smallest of steps creates a ripple effect felt across the miles…make yours with care and a love filled heart.
Recommended read for all ages; inspirational for older readers, encouraging for youngsters and certainly a story that could help little ones deal with unfortunate situations of this nature in a more positive light. Review copy received courtesy of Emily at Peachtree Publishers. (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as their complete catalog, be sure to visit them online, check out their blog, like them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter. This book was released just last month and should be available now on a bookstore shelf near you.
Until next time…happy reading!