Maria Shriver, Sandra Speidel (Illustrator)
Reading Level: 4 - 8 years
How do you explain death to children? How do you help them understand the loss of a loved one?
Journalist Maria Shriver was faced with this dilemma when her grandmother, Rose, died. Her
discussions with her oldest daughter, Katherine, who was six at the time, became the inspiration
for Shriver's first book for children, What's Heaven? This touching story, beautifully illustrated
by award-winning artist Sandra Speidel, is an important tool for other parents trying to explain
the mystery of death to their children. What's Heaven? tells the story of Kate, a young girl struggling to understand the loss
of her great-grandmother. Kate is full of innocent and thought-provoking questions young children
ask--why do people die? How do they get to Heaven? What is it like? Kate's questions are real,
coming from Maria Shriver's own children, nieces, and nephews as they coped with their own
family's loss. As they prepare for Great-Grandma's funeral, Kate's mother gives warm and
reassuring explanations that help Kate (and the reader) understand that death and grieving
are a natural part of life. Death eventually touches every family, and it can be hard for parents to talk about this
difficult topic. Combining her skills as a journalist with her experiences as a devoted mom,
Maria Shriver has created a beautiful book that parents of all faiths can share with their children.