Death is stupid

Anastasia Higginbotham

Book - 2016

Walks through the emotions and confusion it is common for young people to experience when someone dies, and describes some of the ways to celebrate love and life.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Higginbo Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
New York City : The Feminist Press, at the City University of New York 2016.
Language
English
Physical Description
64 pages : color illustrations ; 23 cm
ISBN
9781558619258
1558619259
Main Author
Anastasia Higginbotham (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Following Divorce Is the Worst, this second installment in the Ordinary Terrible Things series acknowledges that despite the aphoristic things adults might say to soften the impact of death, it won't necessarily help. In collages assembled on brown paper, Higginbotham introduces a boy whose grandmother has died. There are images that may be familiar to readers (flowers, a coffin, a hearse), along with well-intentioned but confusing condolences. "Now your gramma can watch over you wherever you are!" reads one, as the horrified boy imagines a spirit swirling overhead as he guzzles whipped cream straight from the can. It's that exact mix of true-to-life humor and unflinching honesty that makes Higginbotham's book work so well, and many of the plainspoken sentiments she includes ("Dying is not a punishment.... You might be freaked out by the grief of those you depend on"), as well as several included ideas for how to remember and honor those who have departed, may be eye-opening for readers facing grief themselves. Ages 4–8. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 3—This exploration of death and grieving begins with a boy mourning the loss of his grandma and his bold observation that "When a loved one dies/people can say some/…stupid things"—referring to the platitudes offered to him (e.g., "Just be grateful for the time you had with her."). Through mixed-media collage, speech bubbles, and simple text, Higginbotham explores a child's experience of loss: "Dying is not a punishment. But it mostly doesn't feel fair." The bold collages, set against a plain brown background, visually reinforce the child's disoriented swirl of emotion. A few of the images are unclear or ambiguous, but the boy's grief and responses are kidlike and recognizable. Readers follow along as he contemplates the reactions of his family members, imagines having a conversation with Gramma, and continues to feel her absence in his life. Eventually, he shares cherished memories with his father, and they work together in Gramma's garden. The author recommends activities that may help ("keep someone and, at the same time, let them go"), such as reading the same books that they enjoyed. She also offers suggestions for dealing with the death of a pet. VERDICT Clearly written to validate and respect a child's feelings, this book is a useful resource for parenting collections or patrons looking for a relatable exploration of death.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA [Page 124]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"This exploration of grief and mourning recognizes the anger and confusion that a child feels around death while offering possibilities for celebrating life and love. This is the second book in the series, Ordinary Terrible Things, following the first installation, Divorce is the Worst"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Walks through the emotions and confusion it is common for young people to experience when someone dies, and describes some of the ways to celebrate love and life.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

""She's in a better place now," adults say again and again. Butmortality doesn't seem better, it seems stupid. This forthright exploration of grief and mourning recognizes the anger, confusion, and fear that we feel about death.Necessary, beautiful, and ultimately reassuring,Death Is Stupid is an invaluable tool for discussing death, but also the possibilities for celebrating life and love. The Ordinary Terrible Things Series shows children who navigate trouble with their senses on alert and their souls intact. In these stories of common childhood crises, help may come from family, counselors, teachers, or dreams-but crucially, it's the children themselves who find their way to cope and grow"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Death Is Stupid is an invaluable tool for discussing death, but also the possibilities for celebrating life and love."She's in a better place now," adults say again and again. But mortality doesn't seem better, it seems stupid. This forthright exploration of grief and mourning recognizes the anger, confusion, and fear that we feel about death. Necessary, beautiful, and ultimately reassuring. The Ordinary Terrible Things Series shows children who navigate trouble with their senses on alert and their souls intact. In these stories of common childhood crises, help may come from family, counselors, teachers, or dreams'but crucially, it's the children themselves who find their way to cope and grow.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Poignant and unfeigned, Death Is Stupid cuts through platitudes and gives an honest voice to children's first brush with death.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

Death Is Stupid is an invaluable tool for discussing death, but also the possibilities for celebrating life and love.

"She's in a better place now," adults say again and again. But mortality doesn't seem better, it seems stupid. This forthright exploration of grief and mourning recognizes the anger, confusion, and fear that we feel about death. Necessary, beautiful, and ultimately reassuring. 

The Ordinary Terrible Things Series shows children who navigate trouble with their senses on alert and their souls intact. In these stories of common childhood crises, help may come from family, counselors, teachers, or dreams—but crucially, it's the children themselves who find their way to cope and grow.