A Book About Death, Inspired By Life
Normally, Glenn Ringtved writes clever, funny books, but this one is about death. He wrote it for his own young children when his mother was dying, moved to do so by the words she spoke to comfort him: "Cry, heart, but never break." She wanted him to know that it was all right to feel really sad, but also to remember that life would go on.
Cry, Heart. But Never Break tells the story of Death, a cloaked but kindly figure, visiting four children as their grandmother is dying. To help them understand, Death tells the grandchildren a story about joy and sadness existing together. The fable Death tells the children ultimately brings them solace, and helps them understand their grandmother's passing.
A sensitive story about learning to say goodbye to those we love, Cry, Heart, But Never Break shows us death as a natural part of life–both necessary and inevitable.
How This Story Matters
Starting a conversation about death and dying can be difficult, especially in a culture that treats death as something separate from life. The difficulty can double when explaining life and death to children, but it doesn't have to. As millions of families recently witnessed, the Pixar film Inside Out displayed the crucial connections between narrative, visual storytelling, and the necessary complexity of living an emotional life. Similarly, Cry, Heart, But Never Break manages, in just a few pages, to use the magic of words and pictures to help children explore one of life's greatest challenges.
Claudia Bedrick, publisher of Enchanted Lion Books, writes: “Here we do not encounter the stages of grief or any message about how the death of a loved one is something that can be gotten over or put behind us. In Cry, Heart, But Never Break, we learn that Death’s heart beats with a great love of life; that joy requires sorrow, and life, to be good, depends on death. In these pages, we encounter a philosophy that solidly grounds death as a natural and essential part of life and avows that while our experiences of grief and loss will become part of the fabric of who we are, those experiences need not break us or tear us apart."