What’s Heaven

What’s Heaven

What's Heaven?What’s Heaven

Shriver, Maria




This treasure of a book, for people of all faiths, is a starting point for parents who must talk about the difficult topic of death with their children.
What should parents say when a loved one dies? Heaven is a difficult subject that always comes up at tough times, and Maria Shriver has written a very special book precisely for these stressful moments. What’s Heaven? is the story of Kate, a little girl whose great-grandma has just died. She seeks answers, and her mother helps her learn about Heaven. The many questions in this book are real, coming from Shriver’s own children, nieces, and nephews when her grandmother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy passed away. With 900,000 copies of the book now in print, the loving, confident, and ultimately uplifting answers Shriver provides are helping readers’ families come together, feel closer to one another, and experience peace during the times when they need it most.


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Maria Shriver shows genuine compassion toward children in this book. It is written in such a way as to help children cope with and come to grips with their feelings. And I would also recommend it for adults. It has helped me to deal with the sudden death of my father. I highly recommend this bookd for children of all ages and even for adults.



Kate is a young girl whose great-grandmother has died. Her mother states that she’s gone to Heaven. Kate inquires, “What’s Heaven?” Her inquisitive nature leads to further discussion. She asks more questions in response to her mom’s answers. She learns more about Heaven and related concepts, expresses some thought provoking questions and responses, and draws a few conclusions for herself. This is a good book to have on hand for parents, children, and anyone looking for answers after the death of a loved one. The story incorporates questions asked by Shriver’s own children, nieces, and nephews at the death of their great grandmother. This emotional and complicated subject is treated with simplicity, gentleness, and compassion. I think people of all faiths can use this book as a starting point for discussions. The accompanying pastel illustrations complement the story beautifully.



The author’s name drew my attention to the book, but was not why I bought the book. Professionally (school psychology and christian education), I felt the book spoke to children. It takes seriously the questions they ask. It explains things in terms that make sense to them. The author tried to expand the understanding of death and heaven beyond her Roman Catholic background. I think she was mostly successful; at least the book opens room for discussion. This is not a theological text, but a simple book explaining a child’s questions about death. I bought the book for my granddaughter two days before her great-grandfather died. Her Mother read it to her as they sat in the Memorial Garden right after the inurnment. They sat and talked and cried. They both liked the book. But the real proof is the fact that later that afternoon when all the family was around, my granddaughter was found sitting quietly in a corner reading the book again to herself.