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Where Is Grandpa?

Press:Putnam Pub Group Philomel (January 10, 2000)
Publication Date:2000-1
Author Name:Barron, T. A./ Soentpiet, Chris K. (ILT)


Where is Grandpa? This question haunts a young boy on the day his grandpa dies. 
Grandpa has been so richly present in so many places--at the tree house, at the waterfall, at the door ready to carve pumpkins.
But where is he now? As the boy searches for an answer, he makes a surprising discovery: perhaps Grandpa is closer to home than anyone ever realized.
In this deeply moving tale, the poetic words of T.
Barron and the luminous illustrations of Chris K.
Soentpiet remind us all that a family's sorrow can be shared--and that even in the greatest loss, love can still be found.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-A gentle story of a young boy's grief when his beloved grandfather dies. 
His family talks about their positive memories of him-adventures shared, a funny Halloween incident, and how easy he was to talk to.
However, the narrator cannot verbalize his memories until his father answers such questions as "Where is Grandpa now?" or "Where is heaven?" Struggling with his own grief, his dad tries to answer as truthfully as he can.
He explains that "-heaven is any place where people who love each other have shared some time together." The story is set against a backdrop of the majestic Rocky Mountains.
At first, the watercolor paintings seem to glow with a very bright "liquid light" (a phrase of Grandpa's), but that brightness gradually softens to more soothing colors as the family contemplates the man's death.
After Dad answers the child's questions, the colors lighten again, suggesting the coming resolution of their grief.
A helpful introduction to death and the grieving process.Virginia Golodetz, Children's Literature New England, Burlington, VT Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Barron's young adult novels often use magic and the supernatural as a way of explaining and demanding respect for nature. 
In this touching story, Barron uses nature as a way of helping to explain the life cycle.
When a young boy's grandfather dies, his family shares stories and memories of him.
Grandpa loved nature, and during hikes to waterfalls and climbing expeditions, he taught this love to his family.
The boy is unsure of where his grandfather is now, so his father explains: he is "in heaven--any place where people who love each other have shared some time together." The boy decides that for Grandpa, heaven is the world of nature they shared.
Enriched by vibrant plays of light and color, the illustrations of mountains, waterfalls, and trees are stunning.
Because of the questions the story raises about death and religious teachings, this may be a choice best shared with parents.
Marta SegalCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

From Kirkus Reviews

Barron (The Seven Songs of Merlin, 1997, etc.) makes a heartfelt tribute to a deceased loved one in his picture-book debut, which is given stirring visual expression in Soentpiet's dazzling, crystal-clear mountain landscapes. 
Out on the porch, the young narrator remains silent while each family member shares a fond memory of Grandpa, then asks the title question.
After an uncomfortable pause, his father responds that Grandpa is in heaven, which is, among other things, ``any place where people who love each other have shared some time together.'' Lit by a glorious sunset, Soentpiet's photorealistic figures stand in grave reflection before sweeping mountain vistas, with interposed remembered scenes to lighten the somber mood.
Although the father's definition of heaven is vague, not to mention agnostic, both he and his son find comfort in it, as some bereaved young readers may.
Pair this with Douglas Wood's recent Granddad's Prayers of the Earth (p.
1750) or Elizabeth Hathorn's Grandma's Shoes (1994).
(Picture book.
6-8) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.


"The universality of the response to the child's query of 'Where Is Grandpa?' makes this book appropriate for people of all belief systems. 
The staff within our hospice program has found this to be a most valuable aid in helping children understand and find peace in the loss of a loved one.
I only wish that such a book had been available when my children were struggling with the death of their dear grandmother." -Connie Holden, Executive Director Hospice of Boulder County -- December 1999Here is a poignant, touching, and spiritually evocative tale.
I heartily recommend it to families everywhere.
-- Robert Coles, M.D.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Children of Crisis and The Spiritual Life of Children.

From the Author

For me, writing is exploring. 
Whether it's the surprising connections among people, the wondrous patterns of nature, or the mysterious wellsprings of the spirit--the universe beckons.
I love to explore it, whether by foot or by pen.
Writing is both the most joyous--and most agonizing--labor I know.
And it is by far the best way to travel--in our world or any other.
Ever since my youth on a ranch in Colorado, I've felt passionate about nature--and about writing.
I wrote and published my own magazine as a kid, called the Idiot's Odyssey, which sold about five copies an issue (including the ones my parents bought).
I kept writing during my college years at Princeton, and during my years at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.
During that time at Oxford, I composed stories and poems while hiking in the Scottish highlands, while sitting beneath the boughs of an English oak I named Merlin's tree, while backpacking through Asia, Africa, and the Arctic; and while participating in a traditional roof thatching in Japan.
Even during my years managing a fast-growing business in New York City, I often rose before dawn to write.
Finally, I followed my dream to write full time.
In 1990, I moved back to Colorado and started writing in the attic of my home, with the help of my wife and our five young children.
I am currently writing a five-book epic about the youth of Merlin.
This story gives me a chance to add a new dimension to the rich lore about this enduring figure.
Why am I spending almost a decade writing about Merlin? Because he is much, much more than a great wizard.
His story is, in truth, a metaphor-for the idea that all of us, no matter how weak or confused, have a magical person down inside-waiting to be discovered.
If you would like more information about the epic or my other books, please visit my official tabarron website.
You may have already seen my novels, which include Heartlight, The Ancient One,The Merlin Effect, and The Lost Years of Merlin, a five-book epic that Lloyd Alexander called "brilliant...an intense and profoundly spiritual adventure." You may also have seen my nature books including To Walk In Wilderness.
Where is Grandpa?, is my first completely autobiographical tale, and also my first picture book for children.
Along with my words, it contains the luminous painting of the acclaimed illustrator Chris K.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Maybe you could say," Dad replied, "that heaven is any place where people who love each other have shared some time together." I thought about that idea. 
"You mean...
like up there at the waterfall? And by that old pine tree? And maybe even in my tree house?" He said nothing.
I leaned closer.
"Heaven is in all of those places?" He nodded.
"So Grandpa is in all of those places?" A new look came over Dad's face, and he almost smiled.
I thought about Grandpa in all of those places.
And I almost smiled, too.
I know it might be all right now to climb the old cottonwood.
To stretch my arms.
To stretch my eyes all the way to the Never Summer range of the Rockies.
To see as far as I can possibly see.
Copyright (c) Thomas A.
Barron 1998.


Children's Books,Growing Up & Facts of Life,Difficult Discussions,Death & Dying,Family Life,Multigenerational,Literature & Fiction

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Comment List (Total:7)

  •     Where's Grandpa? touches the heart of anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a loved one or tried to explain loss to a child. The family remembers the wonderful times they have had with Grandpa but the child still wonders, "But where, exactly is he now?" The illustrations are wonderful and compliment the story. This book shows a sensitive way of dealing with bereavement.

  •     Such a beautiful book.

  •     This is a largely autobiographical story that is meant to help young people cope with the death of a loved one. (I don't think this point is made in the book, but it was made in a letter I had from the author.) The illustrations have a surreal quality, and remind me a little of Maxfield Parrish's work. When a boy's beloved grandfather dies, he reminisces about the things they did together, the places they went, about what Grandpa meant to him and the family. He struggles with his feelings and finally says, "Where is Grandpa now?" The answer is not very original, but is as good as anyone has ever offered, and it's an answer that may help other young (and maybe not so young) people deal with the death of someone they love. But this is a book that needs to be read to or with a boy or girl, and not merely handed to them to read on their own. Whether it will be of any value to youngsters who have not yet seen Death's work is questionable, but I think it would help those who have.

  •     I thought this book was creative but did not have a very good plot.It seems suitable for younger kids.His other books are much better.

  •     this is such a good book for children when they lose a grandfather. I bought this for my six year old nephew, who lost his grandfather, who had also been his caretaker. This book helps a child understand that his grandfather is not actually gone. He can just look around, see memories, and realize that Grandpa is in his memory., and everywhere he looks Wonderful for an adult to read with the child. It is not a book you just give the child to read. It helps to have an adult reiterate sections of the book, especially for someone as young and tender as the age of ten and below.. I would definitely recommend this book for children ages 3 to approximately 10.

  •     This is the touching story of a boy who has lost his grandfather. After the family finds out about the death of grandpa, they spend the remainder of the story sharing special memories of him. The boy asks, "Where is Grandpa?" and the father goes onto explain about heaven. I truly enjoyed this book. This would be a wonderful story for children and parents to share together. I am sure the special memories in the story would cause parents and children to remember special memories shared with their grandparents. The illusatrations are fantastic and they help to create the overall mood of the story.

  •     This story is about a kid,his family and his Grandpa. His Grandpa dies and he wonders where he went. I recomend this book to anyone who doesn't mind sad endings.


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