April 24, 2015

How Far Away is Heaven?


“I looked for Papa, but I didn’t see him. He always used to sit with Grandma at church.”

How Far Away is Heaven?, written by Margaret Davis Ledford, and illustrated by Kaysha Siemens, is a tender story with a very sensitive subject matter. In my opinion, this book should be read with care and only with an adult present to explain its message.

A young boy named Zachary, who experiences the illness and death of his grandfather, tells the story in first person. He doesn’t understand why ‘Papa’ has to stay in the hospital, or later, why he isn’t in church with them. Why are soldiers at their church, holding a folded flag and playing sad bugle music? When his mother explains that Papa has gone to heaven, he wonders how far away heaven is. After talking with his grandmother, he finds comfort in learning that Papa isn’t sick anymore and is living with Jesus.

I found this book sweet, but somewhat unsettling. Some of the material, in my opinion, is too detailed or complicated for young readers—such as the soldier’s gun salute, or the ‘special equipment’ used at the hospital to take care of Papa.

With that said, the book has merit. It covers a sensitive subject that carries a valuable message with adult supervision to answer questions or soothe fears or concerns. I feel it should be read with caution and care.

The illustrations are charming. The engaging drawings, with soft muted colors, exude a Christopher Robin type feel.

About the Author: Margaret Ledford is a mother and grandmother. She enjoys spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She hopes to instill a love for books in all children and loves to teach reading skills. Margaret is a volunteer elementary reading tutor and church librarian. She lives in Upstate of South Carolina.

3.5 Stars

Cover: Love it
Title: Love it
Publisher: Ambassador International
Pages: 32
Target audience: 4-8 age range
First Lines: My name is Zachary. Daddy takes my brother and me to Papa and Grandma’s house every morning.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Review Copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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