How Far to Heaven? - Chara M. Curtis
A little girl notices her grandmother on her porch swing-- lost in thought and smiling. “What were you thinking about, Nanna?” she asks. Nanna smiles into the distance, and tells her granddaughter that she was having a chat with her grandpa. But he’s in heaven, the girl protests—and then asks “Is heaven very far?” Nanna jumps up. “Let’s go...Let’s find out just how far it is!”

In this delightful story written by Chara M. Curtis and illustrated by Alfred Currier, a grandmother and her “Little One” stroll through the garden gate and discover heaven—in the lush green meadow, feathery clouds, brilliant blue sky, orchestral birdsong, a magnificent thicket of aromatic wild roses, crystal clear water and other glorious sights, sounds, and scents of nature.

They dance and sing, reveling in the beauty of their surroundings—as well as each other. The final song sung by the grandmother in How Far to Heaven? provides the comforting answer to the little girl’s question:

“Forever and always, inside, all around,
Heaven is everywhere heaven is found.
Listen with glad ears, see with love’s eyes,
Give wings to your heart, and cherish the prize!
Forever and always we dance to the sound,
For heaven is everywhere heaven is found.”

Through the author’s poetic prose and depth of wisdom, we experience the enchantment of nature and the power of wonderment—as well comfort in the knowledge that loved ones are near as our breath. The illustrator’s vibrant paintings convey depth of emotion and capture the beauty of sun-dappled faces and nature’s grandeur.

I highly recommend How Far to Heaven? for any child or adult—especially those coping with the loss of a loved one. “For heaven is everywhere heaven is found” is a profound and timely message for all people—and certainly worth remembering each and every day.

Note: How Far to Heaven? is on the Children’s Book Council’s list of good books dealing with trauma, tragedy, and loss after 9-11-2001.

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