When My Baba Died, by Marjorie Kunch, helps children understand the activities during funeral and burial services. Written according to the Serbian/Slavic Orthodox traditions, this book touches upon many details a grieving parent might struggle to explain. There are several things I truly appreciate about this book.
First, the author uses Slavic words, like baba, paniknida, pomen and slava. Although she explains what these mean in their context, there is also a glossary at the back of the book. As a Greek-American, I appreciate that the book is written in the Slavic tradition. It is a reminder that Orthodoxy is made of multiple cultures. The Glossary also provides more technical terminology related to the funeral, such as hearse, eulogy and headstone.
Second, Ms. Kunch, a Certified Funeral Celebrant, offers children (and adults) clear steps of what to expect every step of the way: at the funeral home during viewings, in the church during the funeral, and at the cemetery for the burial. I appreciate that she forewarns the reader (listener) that adults will be crying, the body will be cold to the touch, and that the embalmer will try to make Baba look like she did when she was healthy, “not sick and frail like when I saw her at the hospital.”
And finally, the author does a wonderful job in offering kind and comforting words for inquisitive children, ages 4-8. I must admit, at first I was a bit put-off by the 51 page, softcover book. I assumed it was going to be overwhelming. Instead, I was thankfully surprised to see that it is a quick read. The length of the book is due to the large and colorful photos softened to look like watercolor paintings. Be prepared to see pictures of a funeral, but not to worry; everything is staged and the casket is empty.
When My Baba Died is available online through our AMAZON store.
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