Tag: death

A graphic of silhouetted tombstones

This Children’s Book Helps Kids Cope with Loss

The truth about death is pretty depressing: it’s inevitable. As adults, we’re consciously aware of this fact mostly because we have no say in the matter—even if we escape death in our personal lives, that luck can only be tragically temporary (just like us, unfortunately!!!).


It’s often easier to joke about death than it is to confront it directly, as evidenced by this article. RIP, human nature. It can be difficult to live with the reality of death… so can you imagine how impossible it might feel to explain it to a kid, like spoiling the ending of an otherwise excellent story. This children’s book can serve as a gentle conversation-starter in a difficult time.


'The Funeral' children's book

Image Via Barnesandnoble.com


Matt James‘ The Funeral depicts a funeral from a child’s perspective. Even in its title, the book hints at the uncanny juxtaposition between the weight of death and the lighthearted whimsy of a child’s perspective—the fun in funeral is a cheery yellow while the word continues in a dim blue. Though the cover depicts tombstones, the two children are smiling and playful. The book opens:


Norma was practicing her sad face in the mirror of her parents’ room. Though she was, in fact, pretty happy. It was a day off from school, and she would be spending it with her cousin Ray. Her FAVORITE cousin, Ray.



'The Funeral' illustration depicting a child cartwheeling in the graveyard

Image Via 100scopenotes.com


The Funeral tackles the difficult questions, but, as in life, the hardest ones go unanswered. Norma asks: “is Uncle Frank still a person?” Instead of explaining to children what death means (or, even more daunting, what actually happens when you die), James simply depicts what the process of death might look like to a child. The book portrays a scene of the funeral itself, during which Norma laments “how looong they sat on those hard seats, with all that talk about God and souls, and not very much talk about Uncle Frank.” The story is unique in that it grounds itself in the physical, sensory details of a death—it is not an explanation but an introduction.



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Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Philip Roth Dies Aged 85

Winner of a multitude of literary prizes including the Pulitzer, Man Booker, and two National Book Awards, Philip Roth has died at 85. His death ending an era in American literature. Some of his most popular works include American Pastoral, The Human Stain, and Portnoy’s Complaint



Image Via L’Express


The New York Times reported that he had died of congestive heart failure.


During his career, Roth was able to explore many versions of himself through his literature, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. He explored what it meant to be an American, a Jew, a writer, and a man. In 2005, Roth became only the third living writer to have his books immortalized in the Library of America


Featured Image Via NJ. 

Ursula K. LeGuin

Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, and More Pay Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin, prolific fantasy author best known for writing The Earthsea Cycle and The Hainish Cycle, passed away yesterday in her home in Portland, Oregon, at age eighty-eight. Le Guin is widely regarded as the greatest fantasy writer of her generation, and one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time, akin, some would say, to Tolkien, Lewis or any of the other leading world-builders.  


Le Guin, rightfully, had an absolutely enormous fanbase, including some of the most famous authors alive, including Stephen King, Michael Chabon, and Neil Gaiman. 


King tweeted, calling Le Guin a ‘literary icon.’



Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon posted this heartfelt message on his Instagram account, referencing his friendship with the author, who had inspired him from childhood. 



Meanwhile, fantasy giant Neil Gaiman seemed lost for words when he linked The New York Times article on LeGuin’s passing.



Later, Gaiman composed a heartfelt tribute to the author, linking a video of himself presenting LeGuin with a lifetime achievement award.



Holly Black, author of the The Spiderwick Chronicles, retweeted several tweets bemoaning the loss of LeGuin, including this one from The Demon’s Lexicon author Sarah Rees Brennan…



…and this one, from American astrobiologist and author David Grinspoon.



Margaret Atwood wrote this moving tribute to Le Guin for The Guardian, referring to her as “one of the literary greats,” and commenting that “her sane, committed, annoyed, humorous, wise and always intelligent voice is much needed now.” 


Ursula K. Le Guin touched the lives of millions and the depth and distance of her reach is undeniable. She will be deeply missed by everyone in the literary world. 


Featured Image Via Time Magazine