This morning, my husband read a book titled’m How Far Away is Heaven? by Margaret David Ledford to our kids.
Zachary loves his Papa, and always looks forward to spending time at Papa and Grandma’s house. His cousins come over to play and they always have a great time. One day, Papa is not home. Where has Papa gone? Mommy says that Papa has gone to Heaven . . . but how far away is Heaven?
I beginning to understand that he gets really wrapped up into books and that partly because of our kids, he is more sensitive than before. I think it’s great. While reading this book, he started crying. My kids, not entirely sure why Daddy’s crying, both started laughing but he was able to articulate why the story was sad.
It’s an interesting perspective of the topic of death and what it means to a child to have someone they love not be around anymore, however the story made it seem like the parents are placating the child and not really telling him what happened to his Papa. I also recognize that the illustrations, while beautiful and high quality, portray Zachary to be a child older than the story seems to portray him as and this could contribute to the odd thinking that he should know what happened to his Papa so many of these questions would be answered.
I like that the story doesn’t try to answer where heaven is but instead states that Jesus shows the way to heaven, and when we get there we will be with our lost loved ones. This was an age-appropriate way to describe belief in Jesus = heaven-bound. I was just not fond of the constant, casual questions about where his Papa was, but then I tend to over communicate with my kids too.
Overall, I liked the book and think it’s a good lead into what death is, what happens after death for the family and friends left behind as well as the gospel conversation toward seeing that person again in heaven. It would be even better if there were discussion questions associated with the topic as a help to parents who may struggle with communicating well on such a deep issue they may be going through.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from Ambassador International in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All thoughts are my own.