The Forever Kid is an important picture book narrative that deals with the issues of grief and remembrance. I got the idea for this book when I was thinking about my uncle who I never met. He died when he was a teenager before I was born. My father often spoke about him and described how sad the family was that my Uncle John had died, even though he had been ill for a long time before then.
Just as we cannot always be with our loved ones when they are alive, we are also separated from loved ones by death. This does not mean we do not care about that person anymore. In fact, having a chance to think about them and to remember and celebrate their lives is a way of feeling close to them when you cannot be physically close to them.
Questions to ask when reading the story:
What do you notice about the way the illustrations show that the family is celebrating despite this also being a sad day as their brother is no longer with them? Did you notice the clouds in the background and the sea and ship images?
How did the children feel about celebrating even when their brother is no longer with them? Talk about what it might feel like when it’s somebody’s birthday and they’re not with you because they live far away. Explain that death is another way that takes people far away from their loved ones.