Ezra Jack Keats Award Honour Winner
Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award Finalist
A New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book
New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
Norma and her parents are going to her great-uncle Frank’s funeral, and Norma is more excited than sad. She is looking forward to playing with her favorite cousin, Ray, but when she arrives at the church, she is confronted with rituals and ideas that have never occurred to her before. While not all questions can be answered, when the day is over Norma is certain of one thing — Uncle Frank would have enjoyed his funeral.
This sensitive and life-affirming story will lead young readers to ask their own questions about life, death and how we remember those who have gone before us.
In his first outing as author, Canadian artist James examines the way the funeral of a distant relative feels to a child. . . . [the story] traces with a big heart the way she makes sense of this puzzling event.
[A] book that gives young viewers a glimpse of the funeral experience but tacitly champions their right to process it in their own way.
[An] oddly exhilarating story . . . James ("When the Moon Comes") has an ear at child level and beautifully and convincingly shows us children . . . . who are full of life.
Enveloping and original, James' authorial debut offers an honest exploration of a difficult and delicate subject. Exceptional.
Not only do readers hear Norma's voice in the words, but also they also see her thoughts in James' illustrations. . . . a sensitive and positive treatment of a difficult subject.
James uniquely and playfully captures the particularities of a child’s perspective.
Matt James's (I Know Here) quiet, child's-eye view of a funeral, with all its mysterious rituals and traditions, is a pitch-perfect introduction to a sometimes-difficult theme. . . . [A] graceful, beautifully illustrated picture book about death, customs and emotions.
James shows how children can remain focused on the joy and playfulness in life, even when surrounded by loss and sadness.
An unexpected but realistic take on the simple ways in which kids process serious events around them.
This captivating take on a child's experience of a distant relative's funeral glows with feeling and joy.
Matt James offers a lighthearted — yet not irreverent — look at the rituals of death, through the eyes of a child. . . . Sweetly, gently funny and poignant at the same time, “The Funeral” is perfectly pitched to a child’s understanding. This uncomplicated story will also charm adults who recognize that being remembered is a gift.
Witnessing the acceptance of varied reactions to death and the elements of memorial will help children prepare for or reflect upon their first funeral. A notable portrayal.