Why do we die? Why can't we live forever? What happens to us after death? Moving between science and culture, After Life: Ways We Think About Death takes a straightforward look at these and other questions long taboo in our society. By showing the fascinating, diverse ways in which we understand death, both today and throughout our history, the book also shines a light on what it is to be human. Each chapter includes a brief telling of a death legend, myth or history from a different culture or tradition, from Adam and Eve to Wolf and Coyote, and ends with a section on a common theme in our thinking about death, such as rivers and birds in the afterlife, the colors that different cultures use to symbolize death, and, of course, ghosts. The final chapter is about grief, which is both a universal human experience and unique to each person. The text offers suggestions for ways to think about our grief, when to ask for help and how to talk to friends who are grieving.
"Chapters are packed with information…Kids will love the sidebars…Teachers can use After Life for interventions when death and grieving arise in a classroom and can use it as a comprehensive introduction to the topics for study."
"In the age of social media, it is now more important than ever that we talk about death with young people. After Life explores the subject of death in a compassionate, straightforward and age-appropriate way. It is an essential resource for middle schoolers—and their educators and parents."
"This fresh, friendly and matter-of-fact tone is what makes After Life really work. This is a useful and interesting book intended to help nine to 12-year-olds deal with all of the thoughts and issues around this sometimes shunned topic."
"A sensitive approach to a difficult subject."
"Takes on this difficult topic and offers both historical and mythological perspective while, at the same time, giving concrete advice on ways to personally deal with death…It's a valuable book to have on shelves."
"Wilcox skillfully tackles the subject of death and dying…Thorough and well organized, this book honors its intended audience's ability to handle the subject matter…[A] meaningful, straightforward look at an often taboo topic."
“Colorful photos, archival illustrations, and diagrams are inviting and provide balance to the heavy topic.”
"Young people need death education! After Life: Ways We Think About Death opens the door and welcomes them to learn about this important life event. Merrie-Ellen Wilcox successfully marries culture and the natural world in an attractive and engaging format for readers. This book will be an excellent resource for teachers, parents, libraries and hospices wanting to support young people to learn about dying and death."
"Readers curious or needing solace after a personal tragedy will find this insightful book very helpful…A welcome selection for most collections, especially those in need of bibliotherapy titles for middle schoolers."
"An unashamedly honest, visually compelling guide to death and dying for young readers. Just as essential as Sex Ed!"