Shira

Sharon Grollman, Author, Harold S. Kushner, Illustrator, Edward Epstein, Illustrator Doubleday Books for Young Readers $13.95 (84p) ISBN 978-0-385-24114-4
Shira is the true story of a nine-year-old girl who dies of a rare form of diabetes, told in journal accounts. Some of these were actually written by Shira, as were all the poems in the book. But, the majority of the entries were written by the author after extensive research into Shira's life. The introduction by Rabbi Harold Kushner addresses the reasons why readers need a book in which a child becomes ill and then dies. Shira's story is enormously painful to read. She is no angel who waits glowingly for her ascent into a higher reality. She loves life, her family, her friends, and she's afraid to die. She has good days and bad, days of courage and days when she lapses into whining. The strength of this story is in the discovery that Shira and her family persevered, that they loved one another right down to Shira's last days. Readers will come away having learned about an exceptional experience. Highly recommended for all ages, the book raises issues that may require discussion between adults and children. Included is a foreword by the author, an epilogue by Shira's mother, a glossary of medical terms and illustrations that portray moments from Shira's short life. Ages 8-up. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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