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Zayde Comes to Live Hardcover – October 1, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* There are many books that help young children cope with death, but this is a particularly moving one—and it’s surprisingly direct about how different religions view the subject. The narrator’s grandfather, Zayde, has come to live with Rachel’s family because he is dying. Rachel and he still try to play together, but he is tired. Rachel worries about what will happen to him when he dies. Her friend Megan says Zayde will go to heaven—if he believes in Jesus. Hakim says there are milk-and-honey rivers flowing in paradise, but he must believe in Allah. “But we do not. That’s because we are Jewish.” So Rachel asks the rabbi what will happen: “He’ll take one last breath . . . Then his energy will live on with your ancestors in the World to Come.” Rather than a nebulous visual, illustrator Swarner depicts this as family dancing in a circle of love, against a blanket of stars. And Zayde, too, tells her he is at peace and that he’ll live in her love and memories. And, as she snuggles next to her grandfather, Rachel realizes that as long as there is life, another memory can still be made. The artwork, linoleum prints touched with watercolor and colored pencil, focus on the family, but juxtaposed are falling leaves and star-swept skies that add depth. Although this reverberates with the beliefs of a particular religion, the emotions and message transcend. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ilene Cooper

Review

Sydney Taylor Honor Book Award for Younger Readers, 2013
Parents' Choice Recommended Award, 2012
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People /NCSS/CBC/ 2013


There are many books that help a young child cope with death, but this is a particularly moving one…Although this reverberates with the beliefs of a particular religion, the emotions and message transcend. --Booklist Starred Review, Nov 15, 2012

...Sinykin hits just the right balance of communication and reassurance with her storytelling, as does Swarner with her endearing and soothing illustrations. Children will relate to Rachel s concerns and appreciate the comforting and positive messages relayed in a story that takes on a difficult and important subject. --Publisher's Weekly, starred review, Oct 15, 2012

...Sinykin does a commendable job of dispelling fear with empathy and tenderness through some very direct yet positive answers to a child s uncertainty...Though Rachel's quest takes place within a Jewish context, her emotions and situation are near universal, and this artful book handles both well. --Kirkus Reviews, Sept. 1, 2012

School Library Journal (ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE): The beautifully sensitive storytelling comforts readers by showing the inevitability of the circle of life in the context of strong family love. Although the book is aimed at Jewish audiences, the emotions ring true universally. 

Pitch-perfect text and illustrations combine to create a story that will touch readers’ hearts.-Heidi Estrin, Congregation B’nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL 
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Product Details

  • Lexile Measure: 490L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561456314
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561456314
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in Chicago, but grew up in Sacramento, CA. After I graduated from Stanford University, I worked in the Midwest as a newspaper reporter, a hospital PR director, and the assistant director of a convention and visitors bureau. I began writing books for children when my youngest son was born, and collected 156 rejections before my first book sale six years later. In the 1990s, I published seventeen books for young readers, including eight as lead author of the Magic Attic Club. After a long period of loss and writer's block, I earned my MFA in Writing for Children at Vermont College. My critical thesis was entitled "Good Grief: Making Death and Bereavement Authentic for Middle Grade Readers." GIVING UP THE GHOST (Peachtree, 2007) is the first published book of my "second career." It was inspired by my mother's eight-and-a-half-year battle with Stage 4B endometrial cancer, my own work as a hospice volunteer, and a love affair with New Orleans that began when our middle son attended Tulane. Those same events later inspired ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE (illustrated by Kristina Swarner, Peachtree, 2012), my first picture book. It deals with death and the afterlife from a uniquely Jewish perspective, while demonstrating respect for all religions. ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE won a 2013 Sydney Taylor Honor Book Award for Younger Readers and a Parents' Choice Recommended Award. I live in Massachusetts and in Arizona.

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By Sunny Sue on October 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE is a poignant story of a Jewish girl and her concern about her grandfather/Zade's approaching death. In her search for what happens to her grandfather after his death, Rachel is given suggestions from friends of other faiths, which she thinks about, but knows they are not Jewish. Eventually a Rabi and Zade himself help her find answers.
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Format: Hardcover
Zayde comes to live with Rachel and her family because he's dying. No one tells this to Rachel, but with that uncanny ability children have to sense changes, she knows. Rachel's Christian and Muslim friends have different beliefs about what happens after death. She listens but wonders where her ill grandfather will go, if not to Heaven or Paradise. When she asks Rabbi Lev, he is honest about the physical change that will happen. And he tells her about Olam Ha-Ba, the Jewish spiritual afterlife.

Even Zayde helps Rachel accept the inevitable. But he tells her the most important part, that his love will stay. Zayde Comes to Live is a sweet and important book about grief and loss, love and memories. Sinykin's poetic language emphasizes the rhythm of breathing and the circle of life.

Illustrator Kristina Swarner's soft linoleum prints complement the subject, giving the whole book a dream-like quality. Subtle symbolism hints of reality, though. Falling leaves are visible through the window, and a red umbrella waits in the stand by the door.

Other picture books address the subject of death, but Zayde Comes To Live offers a richness not often found. This story honors faith traditions and allows room for discussions of others' beliefs about the afterlife. Sinykin's book joins other sensitively written books that help youngsters understand death. Parents of young children, libraries and church libraries will want to add this book to the bookshelf.
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By Dena on September 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I got this book via Net Galley for review. I only got the text, no illustrations, so I can only comment on the story itself and not the artwork.

Death is a very sensitive topic and one that most people would rather not address. For children especially, it can be a frightening subject. Zayde Comes to Live is a gentle explanation of the complicated experience of death. It is told from a child's perspective, and it is very warm and comforting.

I loved the part where the rabbi comes to visit the family and tells Rachel that Zayde is living until the moment he dies. It calms her fears and helps her make the most of his last days.

While this story was distinctly for those of the Jewish faith, it was respectful to all religions and can apply to a broad scope of people. This is definitely a book that I will be reading to my children when it comes out.
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Format: Hardcover
Sheri Sinykin has offered us a real gift in Zayde Comes to Live. The story of a young, Jewish child who is trying to understand what will happen to her grandfather once he passes, this story is told in a very tender manner. As adults, it is easy to forget what life looks like from a child's point of view, but Sinykin's careful prose honors the child's perspective and their still-innocent world.

While this book is focused on the experience of a Jewish child, other religions'perspectives on death and what happens to us after we die, are briefly addressed within the context of the main character's quest for understanding. This may provide an opportunity for further discussion.
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