The Funeral

The Funeral

Illustrated by: James, Matt
Written by: James, Matt
ages 4 to 7 / grades P to 2

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A New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book
New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor Winner

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.

Key Text Features
speech bubbles

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

A New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book
New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor Winner

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.

Key Text Features
speech bubbles

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Apr 1, 2018
Specifications 40 pages | 8.75 in x 12 in
Illustrated by

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.

Written By

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.

Illustrated by

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.

Written By

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.

Winner, Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor, 2019

Short-listed, Elizabeth-Mrazik Cleaver Award, 2018

Commended, New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book, 2018

Commended, New York Public Library Best Books for Kids, 2018

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

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

“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.” —Publisher's Weekly

“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

“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

“[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