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If Nathan Were Here
Karen Jerome Skillins
Mary Bahr
Ages 5-9
Full-color Illustrations Throughout
Lexile: AD480L
PAPERBACK; Published: 3/25/2000
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5235-9
Price: $ 10.00
32 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 8 x 10
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Other Editions: Hardcover

If Nathan were here, we would meet in our tree fort. . . we would take the shortcut through the woods. . . we would try to splash each other in the puddles. . .

In If Nathan Were Here, author Mary Bahr gently explores the grief of a young boy whose best friend has died. With the help of an understanding teacher, a kind neighbor, and an empathetic parent, the boy finds ways to give expression to his questions and sorrow and to reach out to someone else who needs him.

Mary Bahr's evocative text conveys a child's grief with honesty and sensitivity, while Karen Jerome's soft watercolors poignantly capture the tender nature of children's friendships.

Association of Theological Booksellers,
Publishers Weekly
"This affecting story is a solid choice for children mourning the loss of a peer."
School Library Journal
" A simply expressed, sympathetic portrait of a boy's feelings of loss and bewilderment after the death of his best friend. . . . The soft watercolor illustrations have a fine, tender quality. The emotions of carefree happiness before the child's death and poignant grief afterward are beautifully handled. The sketchy figures are filled with life and feeling, and the warm red and yellow tones promise that sorrow will be overcome, although memories will always last."
"The story offers no easy solution as it moves through the boy's anger and isolation to his rejoining life in gradual, unforced steps. The bright watercolors have a gentle, shining quality that enhances the book's hopeful message."
Book Page
"If Nathan Were Here is a warm, sensitive story of how one little boy is encouraged and supported to find his own way to remember his best friend. A comforting, empathetic squeeze from his father, a quiet time sitting by Nathan's favorite strawberry garden, and an understanding teacher who allows classmates to fill a memory box help the young boy think through the things he and Nathan enjoyed doing together. If Nathan Were Here is written in simple, honest language, and the warm, expressive watercolors by Karen A. Jerome tenderly express the sensitive story of children's friendships."