Like many children’s books, Cry, Heart, But Never Break began in reality. Glenn Ringtved takes on the difficult subject of death and loss. These were his mother’s words shortly before her passing, and these were the words with which he tempered the souls of his children.
The story begins bleakly, as grandmother lies sick with an inky cloaked Death her imminent visitor. The children recognize Death immediately and, (bless them!) in complete innocence, they offer him cup after cup of the strongest coffee they can make, to keep him away from their grandmother. But Glenn’s Death is kind.
“Some people say Death’s heart is as dead and black as a piece of coal, but that is not true…”
Death drinks every cup offered as he tells them a story. It is a story of Grief and Sorrow personified, who find their counterparts in Delight and Joy. Compassionately, he shows them the duality of life and death, and darkness and light, and though the children don’t fully understand, they begin to see.
“”No,” Nels said. “Life is moving on. This is how it must be.””
This moving and extremely quotable Danish book is made complete by Charlotte Pardi‘s illustrations. In using watercolours and pencils, the paintings are soft but saturated with emotion. What captures the eye is the depth of character in each expression. On the outset, her Death is the typical European Grim Reaper, but one that leaves his scythe outside the door. She draws his face as a human face and not a skull. It is not a face of fear, but of compassion and sorrow in balance.
Death is unbearably difficult for an adult, so how does one go about explaining it to a child? When’s the right time? Instead of tackling the matter, some ignore it. Others turn it into a metaphor, and others yet, sugar-coat it, until sickly sweet, it remains undealt with. Glenn’s tale offers a way- for the heart to grieve and cry, but not break.
Writer at Art1st
PS. Our library is always growing. If you have any recommendations for gems like this one, do let us know!
I’m sooooooo bored!
Well, isn’t this a familiar situation? Our young protagonist says she’s bored, like many others her age. But what happens when boredom is confronted with… a talking potato?
Michael Ian Black picks up on the adorably annoying nuances of a bored child. They seek to understand what lies behind the ‘bored’ and confront it with the unexpected potato. With roles-reversed, the bored whippersnapper suddenly has something to prove.
Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s wonderful digital illustrations bring to life the expressive face of the young girl, as she journeys from boredom into adventure. The pictures and words are well-choreographed, making ‘I’m Bored’ a visual comedy for all ages.
The series continues as Black and Ohi tackle similarly recurrent themes in ‘I’m Sad’, featuring the flamingo from its cameo in ‘I’m Bored’, and ‘Naked!’.
Writer at Art1st
Fresh off the Art1st Library Shelves, self-acceptance has never looked more colourful!
In Michael Hall’s ‘Red’, our beloved narrator takes the form of a classic Yellow Pencil as he takes us on ‘Red’ the crayon’s journey of self-discovery.
The story throws out the age-old art teacher’s motto of ‘practice make perfect’ and replaces it with the more current educational focus of exploration.
The narrative spills out of the words into the simple but clever visuals and is enhanced through the little details, like how the older and more experienced crayons are smaller than the newer ones like Red and Berry.
What do you do, if you’re trying to be Red, but you’re always Blue?
Why, you draw Blue Strawberries of course!
‘He was red. But he wasn’t very good at it.’
Writer at Art1st
Art work from our Incredible You workshop, Bombay, 2011
Quote by Dr. Seuss, Artwork from Gundecha Workshop, Mumbai, 2011