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For Your Library

Making Toast: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt, HarperCollins Publishers, www.harpercollins.com , 2010.

Spare, restrained, unsentimental, moving and beautiful. These are words to describe Roger Rosenblatt's story of his family following the unexpected death of his thirty-eight year old daughter, Amy. Following Amy's death, Roger and his wife move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three grandchildren, seven-year-old Jessica, five-year-old Sammy, and twenty-month-old James (Bubbies). Rosenblatt (called "Boppo" by the children) describes daily activities of living, such as making toast, after Amy's unimaginable death. He reflects on Amy's life as child, daughter, physician and mother. A talented and attentive observer, he describes the details of appearance, children's toys and activities and the uneven steps of a family finding its way while all live with the pain and the differences in their lives. The family is not religious and the God in which Rosenblatt believes offers neither care nor comfort. How he finds a way to walk and "make toast" in this new family and unwelcome world is poignant and instructive.

Some Folks Say: Stories of Life, Death and Beyond by Jane Hughes Gignoux, illustrated by Stephan Daigle, FoulkeTale Publishing, 1998.

Origins of death, balancing life and death, lessons for life and after death and reconciliation with death are the themes covered in this unique resource which explores how diverse and ancient cultures have grappled with questions of life and death. Most of the stories are short, only a few pages at most, and each is followed by reflections on themes raised in the preceding story. The cultures represented include: Native American, ancient Greece, various African tribes, German, Norse, Babylonian, Egyptian and Melanesian. Different present-day religious traditions are also drawn upon including Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim. These are stories with differing and common perspectives and could be very useful for creatively evoking discussion on big issues. The included story of The Cow-Tail Switch from the Jabo of Liberia has been an effective and well-liked story to use with children to help teach the importance of remembering those who have died.

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