- Age Range: 4 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books; 1 edition (February 16, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592701876
- ISBN-13: 978-1592701872
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 12 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 121 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cry, Heart, But Never Break Hardcover – February 16, 2016
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"Now comes a fine addition to the most intelligent and imaginative children’s books about making sense of death the crowning jewel of them all, even." -- Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
"Rich and affecting." -- Mark Levine, The New York Times
"In this empathic picture book, [...] Pardi creates a cozy, lived-in ambiance in her pencil and watercolor art." Publishers Weekly
"The removal of any parental buffer in this episode reinforces the salutary suggestion that children are resilient enough to be in death’s presence without fear. [...] Gentle, wistful reading for times of imminent loss." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Charlotte Pardi: Charlotte Pardi is a well-beloved Danish illustrator, who has created numerous books since her first picture book in 2000.
Robert Moulthrop, an award-winning author and playwright, lives and works in New York City. Two short story collectionsTo Tell You The Truth and Elviss DogMoonbeamhave been critically acclaimed. Jack, The Prince of Ireland, his play for children, was first performed at Manhattan Childrens Theatre.
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In the end, Death takes the grandmother, but the children remember his wise and beautiful words, "Cry heart, but never break." They live out their lives with good memories of their grandmother and what she meant to them.
I loved this book, and admit I cried like a baby when I read it the first time. Glenn Ringtved (a Danish author, this is the translation of the original book he wrote for his children about 15 years ago) has done a wonderful job crafting a story that deals with such a serious and sensitive topic. There's no shying away from the reality of the grandmother's death, and the sorrow it brings the children. But he also shows beautifully how death is not a monster, but a natural part of life, and how our hearts can bear up under the weight of loss. Charlotte Pardi's illustrations are a perfect match.
PS I just love how the children keep giving Death cups of coffee to distract him :-)
it may seem creepy, but if death is going to come to your house anyway ~
i think this book can help your children understand that death is part of life
and be a help to explain that great grief comes only out of great love
and that they go together
and that that is ok.
we have had so much loss lately - both mine and my husband's fathers passed
within 6 months of each other
and right in the middle of the 6 months
we lost our precious granddaughter to SIDS at 67 days old.
now my mom lies in bed with hospice here
this book will help my kids i know
it helped me
Glenn Ringtved usually writes funny and tricky stories. This thoughtful story breaks the mold -- when his mother was dying, he struggled to explain what was happening to their grandmother to his young children. She suggested that he tell them: “Cry, Heart, but never break.” Her message: loss and sadness must be embraced not resisted -- death is an essential part of life.
The story begins outside the “small snug house” where four children live with their grandmother. Death, who has come for the old lady, leaves his scythe by the door. He is clearly trying to avoid scaring the kids, and he sits down at the kitchen table. Only Leah, the youngest, dares to look straight at him.
The illustration of this scene is marvelous; Death looks crestfallen, distressed and yet committed to his task. Text and illustration work incredibly well together -- a metaphor for how essential both life and death are interwoven.
"Some people say Death’s heart is as dead and black as a piece of coal, but that is not true. Beneath his inky cloak, Death’s heart is as red as the most beautiful sunset and beats with a great love of life."
Death tells a story to help the children understand. Two boys meet two girls and they fall in love, two perfectly balanced couples: Sorrow and Joy, Grief and Delight. "It is the same with life and death… What would life be worth if there were no death?"
Deep philosophy here, with echoes from Montaigne, Updike, others.
"The curtains were blowing in the gentle morning breeze. Looking at the children, Death said quietly, “Cry, Heart, but never break. Let your tears of grief and sadness help begin new life.”
Robert C. Ross
I bought it on recommendation of a favorite blogger. I lost someone important to me a little over three years ago. It is a book I wish I'd had then when I was in the midst of my grief. That said, I shed some tears when I read it after it arrived, more than three years after my loss.
It is a poignant look at dying and grieving. It will be useful for adults as well as children. It is beautifully written -- simple, elegant. It is beautifully illustrated.
It is one of the books that I will keep forever and then my children will get it. They will keep it forever as well.
End papers often provide a clue as to the mood or theme of a picture book, but in this case they puzzled me until I reached the story-in-a-story, told by the Visitor/Death. At that point they made perfect sense, representing the delicate balance between all of life's emotions, even it's extremes. Death is unapologetic and yet reassuring that, as the title indicates, life endures and hearts can bear grief, growing stronger and more living in the process. The patience, grace, and manner of Death in this picture book make it an ideal choice to launch a group study of the narrator in THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zusak, with older readers.