Cry, Heart, But Never Break, by Glenn Ringtved (2001, 2016)

Illustrated Book
Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn RingtvedThis is the second of two books I’m reviewing today on grief and death. They are challenging issues for any of us, and when children are involved, books can offer a way for adults to help kids grasp an understanding of death and accept the pain of loss. This tender and sensitive book offers an honest and gentle approach to an impending loss. Four children are sharing a kitchen table with Death, who has come for their beloved grandmother. Death is presented as a visitor, a kind one, whose heart is surprisingly full of a love for life. The children naturally try to deter Death from his task. To help them understand, he shares a story they will always remember, just as the gentle breeze will always remind them of the grandmother they love so deeply. Originally published in Danish in 2001, it is beautifully translated by Robert Moulthrop and published in North America in 2016. This edition includes the original full-bleed watercolour illustrations, by Charlotte Pardi, which switch appropriately from muted to exuberant, an allusion to Death’s message that grief and joy “couldn’t live without the other.” The endpapers reinforce the message with a repeating pattern of two houses – a colourful one set in a sunny flower-filled garden and the other a dark and dreary home hunkered down in a rainstorm. The translated edition quickly gained critical acclaim and earned the 2017 Mildred Batchelder Award for excellence in a translated work for a young audience.
More discussion and reviews of this picture book:


2 thoughts on “Cry, Heart, But Never Break, by Glenn Ringtved (2001, 2016)

  1. Thanks for both these reviews, Michelle. I will get both books for my grandkids. I always read your reviews…love how you write and the clarity of your comments. Old friends in GF talk about what a contribution you are both making to the community. It makes me happy to think of such good people in our dear old house. Best, Leslie >

  2. Thank you for your kind comment, Leslie. I’m humbled! And I think this house attracts people who love and believe in community. We are so happy to honour your own great legacy. Do let us know your thoughts on the books.

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