Zayde Comes To Live

Zayde Comes To Live
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Release Date
October 01, 2012
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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.

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This is a lovely, poignant story of a little girl struggling to understand what happens when a loved one dies. Told from a distinctly Jewish perspective, the story deals with emotions that I think readers will find universal. While there isn't a firm answer given to the girl about where her grandfather will go when he dies, she understands that she'll be able to keep the memories she makes with him while he's alive. Cherishing each breath and moment is a lovely lesson to leave with any child.

As a note to non-Jewish parents: The afterlife teachings of both Christianity and Islam are mentioned respectfully, though of course their answers aren't the ones that are given as the "right" ones to the Rachel. The teaching in this book is that the body goes back to dust and the spirit moves on (either in memories and love or into the place where his ancestors are waiting). Some parents may find this book instructive in teaching their children how other faiths approach death, and I believe all parents could find the empathetic approach to a child's fear and grief over losing a beloved grandparent helpful in accessing those emotions in a young reader.
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