Monday, December 3, 2007

Too Far Away To Touch - a Children's Book

I stumbled upon the book Too Far Away To Touch by by accident by Leslea Newman (The cover of the book looks like a girl in a snowstorm - really they are stars).

The book is a gorgeously illustrated story about negotiating illness and the potential death of a loved one. Zoe loves her Uncle Leonard, with his booming laugh and fun adventures. Leonard is gay and has a partner, Nathan, who sometimes accompanies them on their field trips. Leonard is also sick, a fact that emerges slowly in the story. Ultimately, it turns out that he has AIDS and Zoe worries that he is dying. Throughout the story the phrase, "too far away to touch, but close enough to see" is used, to describe stars and people who we lost and miss." Few books prompt conversations about loss and grieving without being heavy-handed and although I found myself a bit teary, this was a lovely way to have the conversation without fear.

Newman is the author of Heather Has Two Mommies as well as many other books -- and lucky for us Mainers, she teaches in the MFA program at Stonecoast Writers.

Catherine Stock is the illustrator and the pictures are beautiful.

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