Friday, March 26, 2010

Where Do We Go? by James F. Weinsier

I had the opportunity to review Where Do We Go? by James F. Weinsier and illustrated by Cliff Beaman ($12.95, Wondrous Publications, softbound).

Where Do We Go?

James F. Weinsier's child-friendly, non-secular exploration of death compatibly blends with any religious, spiritual or nondenominational framework, opening a pathway for parents, caregivers and other adults to approach the subject of death within any given belief system, while giving children the comfort they desperately need. Where Do We Go? helps them find the answers to the mystery of death within their own hearts.

When I first read the quote above, I was a little concerned. How could a book be compatible with "any religious" framework and still work for my belief system? I believe in a Creator God who has prepared Heaven for His children when they die. How could a book that answers questions about death work for my child and someone from another (or no) faith? The answer doesn't. I mean, the book doesn't answer the questions. The author poses the questions with the intention of beginning a dialogue. The answers you give your child depend on your personal belief system.

My kids and I really enjoyed the questions. The questions range from the weather to every day life, "will we age there?" and "how will we get there?" It was fun to discuss the possiblities of where our pets would be and if balloons would float away or stay and dance around us.

The pictures are delightful. The expressions on faces and the attention to detail are impressive. The use of color is incredible.

The only thing I didn't like--and this is a personal preference--is the font used. The font used on the cover is used throughout the book. I don't mind it for the cover art, but it was a bit "fanciful" for me when I was reading. Another consideration is my 6 year old early reader had a little trouble making out the words with all the curly ques.

Overall, we enjoyed the book. I am sure we will revisit it many times. My oldest son had to learn about death at an early age (he lost 2 grandparents when he was 13 months old). My other two kids have not been touched by death yet.


Born in New York City in 1945, James Weinsier was raised on Long Island. He received an Associates Degree in Applied Sciences from Nassau Community College in 1964, followed by service in the U. S. Navy. Upon completing his tour of duty, he resumed his education at the University of Miami, graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. He is now retired and lives with his wife, in Fernandina Beach, FL.

Weinsier first grappled with writing in 1996, when in anticipation of his daughter's 21st birthday, he decided to give her something unique and straight from his heart. The result was a 100-page journal of special memories he and his daughter shared written in poetic verse. The manuscript was so well-received by his daughter that he published a 70-page book of thoughts for his father, Here…and Afterthoughts, and gave it to him for his 90th birthday. James continued to write, and three years after his first published work was released More…Thoughts was completed. This book contains 199 pages of sentiments commonly shared between parents and their children. James presented it to his father on his 93rd birthday-shortly before his passing.

In 2006, James experienced the devastating losses of three family members: his father, a son and grandson, Isaac Randolph, who died in a neonatal infant care unit from complications of necrotizing enterocolitis (an intestinal disorder) 10 days after his premature birth. In response to the pertinent questions from his other young grandchildren about what happens to us after we die, James wrote a children's book, Where Do We Go?, which was published in 2008.

"Wondrous" events took place a couple of weeks after the book's publication, which was two years after Isaac's death. On the exact month and day of Isaac's death and only a few minutes from the exact time of his death on that date, Weinsier's daughter gave birth to her second child, James Walter. Baby James was premature and followed his brother's path into the NIC Unit. Fortunately, his issues were not catastrophic, and on his 10th day of life, James W. was strong enough to go to his family's home in Kansas; while on the 10th day after Isaac's birth, he had passed away. Both boys went "home" on the 10th day...

This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by: Wondrus Publications for this review.

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