Boo! When My Sister Died – Richa Jha


Boo! When My Sister Died by Richa Jha, is a picture book appropriate for children above the age of 6, and may help them figure out how to cope with the death of a loved one.

Noorie’s sister Zoya ia dead. It seems to Noorie, that her mother has only clichés and platitudes to offer. She thinks, that her mother won’t face the truth. Every little thing in Noorie’s routine reminds her of her beloved sister, but the memories are too painful to process. Every time a memory of Zoya flashes before her, she shuts it out, overcome with grief, since it can never happen again, because Zoya is dead. Although it appears that Noorie is facing Zoya’s death squarely by repeating the blunt truth, she is unable to relive a single memory of Zoya.

Noorie struggles with a turmoil of emotions. She is scared, that she will lose her mother like she lost Zoya. She is angry, because she thinks Zoya’s best friend, Dhara, is trying to replace Zoya in their lives. Noorie can’t understand how to let go of her grief and still make sure that her sister is loved and remembered. Will Noorie figure it out? Read on to find out.

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  1. Many of us find it difficult to broach the subject of death with little kids. This books gives us an opening. It takes us through all the emotions associated with death gently. The fear of losing someone again, the anger of having a loved one snatched away, the guilt associated with wanting to be happy even though a loved one has died, and finally finding a way to move past the grief while still holding on to dear memories of the loved one.
  2. The book shows that sharing the burden of grief makes it lighter and more tolerable.
  3. The illustrations by Gautam Benegal are powerful in conveying the emotions. Gautam beautifully illustrates how the memory of Zoya slowly helps Noorie forge a friendship with Dhara and how Zoya lives on in this friendship created by her death.

  4. The book shows, that accepting a loved one’s death is not about forgetting them, but about being able to remember the time shared with them with warmth and love.
  5. The words are few and there is little drama but the impact is strong.

. . .

  1. The book made me tear up, but I tear up easily while reading. It is probably best if a parent or guardian reads it to the child, the first time, so they can talk about any strong emotions the child experiences.
  2. My 5 year old, who has a 2 year old sister, liked the story. She did not cry and focussed on the positive parts of the story. She loved the idea that Noorie could still watch videos of Zoya. But after I read the story, I found her hugging her sister for quite sometime.
  3. The paper is thick and strong and can survive being wet by a few tears.

Candid but gentle.

A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Pickle Yolk in return for an honest review. Thanks Pickle Yolk.  You can buy the book from Pickle Yolk.

Book Details:

Title Boo! When My Sister Died
Editor(s)/Author(s)/Illustrator(s)/Translator(s) Gautam Benegal, Richa Jha
Publisher Pickle Yolk Books

About Kanika G

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer and a scientist. So I spent 10 enjoyable years being a physicist with a doctorate in theoretical physics. After my older daughter turned 2, I started writing children's stories about everyday experiences seen through the eyes of a little girl, to entertain her. Before I knew it, my old love for writing was rekindled and I was writing stories, picture books and blogs and articles.

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