Recommendation: ... Libby Died by Jack Simon, Age 5
February 18, 2006
I just wrote about Mocking Birdies, by Annette Simon. I also read an older book, published in 2000, written by Annette's son Jack, age 5 (and illustrated by Annette). The rather lengthy title of the book is This Book Is for All Kids, but Especially My Sister Libby. Libby Died.. The book chronicles Jack's comments and questions to his mother after the death of his younger sister from a rare disorder. Despite the sad topic, the book is surprisingly upbeat and filled with humor, though it brought tears to my eyes, too.
Even more so than in Mocking Birdies, the fonts and colors and illustrations make the book really stand out. Some words are in a huge font, like shouting, while others whisper from a tiny font at the bottom of the page. Clever touches abound, like the question mark that has a picture of the Earth for the period beneath it (on a page with oversized text asking "In heaven, are you as big as you were on Earth?").
Jack's questions and observations range from the mundane ("And when you die, you don't even have food"), to the humorous, to the profound ("And when you die, you're set free"). Overall, the book is uplifting and positive. The Amazon reviews are all highly enthusiastic, too.
I think that this book could help any child to understand and deal with loss. Though the book is focused on the loss of a sibling, I think that it speaks to anyonewho has lost a parent or grandparent or other loved one. And I think that the simplicity and faith of Jack's responses will help adults, too. Which is a pretty remarkable achievement for a 5-year-old.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.