Book Review: Zayde Comes to Live, by Sheri Sinykin/Kristina Swarner (Illustrator)


Rachel’s grandfather, her zayde, has come to live with her family. This
is because he is dying, she realizes. Rachel can’t help wondering where
he will go when he dies. She asks her friends. She asks her rabbi. She
asks Zayde.

No one has the perfect answer, but eventually Rachel
finds a way to make peace with the fact of her grandfather’s passing.
She learns to gather all the moments she can, and to honor his life one
small memory at a time.

In this sensitive portrait of a young
girl and her grandfather, author Sheri Sinykin approaches the issue of
death from a distinctly Jewish perspective while demonstrating respect
for all beliefs. Kristina Swarner’s lush illustrations add layers of
depth and wonder to the story.


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.

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (October 1, 2012)
Language: English

Where to Buy:

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