Groundwood Books

The Funeral

Illustrated by Matt James

For kids 4 - 7 years old | Published 2018-40- | ISBN 9781554989089
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Death, Grief, Bereavement

Cover of The Funeral

Regular price $18.95 CAD

40 pages | 12 in × 8.75 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

The Funeral

Matt James

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.

About the Author

Matt James

Matt James is a painter, author/illustrator and musician whose many highly acclaimed children’s books include Yellow Moon, Apple Moon by Pamela Porter (New Mexico Book Award); I Know Here by Laurel Croza (Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award) and its companion volume, From There to Here; and The Stone Thrower by Jael Ealey Richardson. Matt’s illustrations for Northwest Passage, a stunning tribute to the iconic Stan Rogers song, won the Governor General’s Literary Award. He also wrote and illustrated the highly acclaimed book The Funeral. Matt lives in Toronto.

Awards and Praise

Praise for The Funeral:

Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor 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
White Raven Selection

“James uniquely and playfully captures the particularities of a child’s perspective.” — Booklist, starred review

“[A] book that gives young viewers a glimpse of the funeral experience but tacitly champions their right to process it in their own way.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

“Enveloping and original, James’ authorial debut offers an honest exploration of a difficult and delicate subject. Exceptional.” — Kirkus, starred review

“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.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“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.” — School Library Journal, starred review

“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.” — Shelf Awareness, starred review

Praise for From There to Here by Laurel Croza, illustrated by Matt James:

“[A] low-key, emotionally true approach to a common and usually upsetting childhood experience.” Kirkus, starred review

“James’s naive style has an infectious, unfettered energy. Croza’s spare text captures the narrator’s feelings of displacement with poetic immediacy.”Quill & Quire, starred review

Praise for Northwest Passage as seen by Matt James:

“This stunning portrayal of early efforts to explore Canada’s Northwest Passage presents Rogers’ 1981 song in combination with glorious illustrations … Both realistic and allusive, these images are as haunting as the song. For U.S. readers, an illumination of a little-known history; for all Americans, a treasure.” Kirkus, starred review

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