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The Scar

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  510 ratings  ·  124 reviews
A little boy responds to his mother’s death in a genuine, deeply moving story leavened by glimmers of humor and captivating illustrations.

When the boy in this story wakes to find that his mother has died, he is overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and fear that he will forget her. He shuts all the windows to keep in his mother’s familiar smell and scratches open the cut on his knee
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Candlewick (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  510 ratings  ·  124 reviews

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Lisa Vegan
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: as a bibliotherapy book for young children who have lost a parent
Recommended to Lisa by: Randie D. Camp, M.S.
This is an excellent bibliotherapy book for young children who’ve lost a parent, I’d say ages 3-8.

Hopefully they’ll have as good adults as the child in this book, but even if they don’t this book might be helpful for dealing with the grief and confusion of losing a parent.

I appreciate how this child feels, and expresses, anger, and a whole range of emotions. I appreciate all the thought processes the child goes through. Nothing feels inauthentic; it seems as though a chil
Deb Tyo
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
This one came out of nowhere and hit hard.

I grabbed this book off the 'New Picture Books' shelf at the local library looking only at the cover thinking it was a story of a boy who fell on the playground and hurt his leg. I was not prepared for the first page of the story.

"Mom died this morning.
It wasn't really this morning.
Dad said she died during the night,
but I was sleeping during the night.
For me, she died this morning."

Whoa. I think there was an audible gasp as I
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic tells the story of a young boy trying to grieve, adapt, and accept the death of his mother. Told with such straight forward, simple gestures and emotion from anger to tears, this book will make your heart ache.

“I’m trying not to forget what Mom smells like, but it’s fading, so I close all the windows so that it won’t get out.”

An important, powerful, and emotional book for any family’s book collection to spur discussion and perhaps hope and healing.
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The first sentence of this book is "Mom died this morning." This book is so warm, so touching, so real without giving dippy rationalizations like "Mom's in heaven" or things about life cycles. It has depth as it explores not only the boy's feelings, but his dad's and his grandmother's. It explores a range of emotions and acting out and irrational fears (don't open the windows--mom's gonna disappear for good). I think this is a great little book.

The only problem with it is the title a
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I had a strong, tearful reaction to this book. Not typical for me, and certainly not for a children's book. I do work in a hospital, and work with children of gravely ill parents. Many books exist for children to help them face grief, but are often written with a "helper" voice. This book is not like that. The young boy narrates this story, and I was struck by the quality of tone and style. Thet includes the artwork. A great stand-alone book for children and adults, regardless if the reader is f ...more
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kelly H. (Maybedog) by: Lisa Vegan
Extremely well written. Concepts are pretty advanced for picture-book aged kids but I think they would relate to the feelings. I think this is a good book for adults to understand how kids feel upon the death of a parent.
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Oh, goodness...This is the sort of book one must read sparingly. The emotions are simply too volatile, too enormous, too crushing, too powerful. Read books like The Scar often, and you'll find yourself on the verge of tears all the time. Yet the story's message is profound, and needs to be relayed and received. We all need a book like this to act as our North Star and show us where in the world to go next when we suffer a loss as emotionally catastrophic as that of one's mother. What can we do with ...more
I've now read a fair few books about bereavement and this one stands right in between Missing Mummy and Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute?: Explaining (sudden) death in words very young children can understand in terms of dealing with the issue of parental loss from the child's perspective. All are very honest books which show children that feeling angry, betrayed, confused and misunderstood are all viable and important emotions to express; the power of Elke's book is that it is a true incident and that the wor ...more
This may be the best picture book I have ever seen that deals with the subject of death, as viewed through the eyes of a child. Usually when the topic is tackled in a picture book it's a grandparent or a pet that's died. Our young narrator has just lost his mother, and he knows death is permanent: I knew that she wasn't gone--she was dead and I would never see her again. They were going to put her in a box and then in the ground, where she would turn into dust. I know very well that dying means that you'gone--she ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
A young boy is faced with several different emotions and challenges when his mom dies. The boy feels angry at his mom, burdened with caring for his father, scared his brother's scent is leaving him, worried that his eyes remind his dad of his mom, and is full of grief. When he acquires a scab from falling outside he briefly hears his mother's voice but with the help of his grandma he learns that his mother will always be in his heart.

This book is immensely emotional but captures a la
Katie Light
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
The first line of this book really hit me! A fantastic book about the loss of a loved one and the different emotions associated with this - including anger!
Kimberly Robello
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book at the library without knowing what it was about. The illustrations captured me and I thought it was going to be a cute book.

As I read the book to my kids, I realized that it was about a boy whose mother dies. My 7-year-old loved this book. He wanted me to read it over and over to him. I read it 5 times already and he wants me to buy the book. It's disturbing that he loves this book so much (because I'm not dead!), but I think what he is responding to is the emotion and hu
Jessica Harrison
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, picture
Read full review at Cracking the Cover

Losing a loved one is never easy, but it’s even harder for a young child, who doesn’t necessarily understand everything but understands more than adults think.

In “The Scar,” by Charlotte Moundlic, we meet one such little boy.

“The Scar” is one of the sweetest, saddest and most beautiful picture books you may come across. Author Chalotte Moundlic captures the pure, raw emotion of loss in a way that everyone can relate to. She also m
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I came across this book when I was browsing the children's section of my local bookstore. I picked it up merely because the cover seemed interesting, and I assumed that it was a book about a child scraping their knee, or something of the sort.

As I flipped through the pages to look at the imagery, the words, "Mum has been dead for a few days," jumped out at me. I flipped back to the first page and began to read. I felt the colour rise in my cheeks as I was transported back to my child
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
" 'No! Don't open the windows! Mom's going to disappear for good....'
And I fall and the tears flow without stopping, and there's nothing I can do and I feel very tired."

I love the syntax of the last sentence of this quotation; all those "and"s are perfect as part of the young narrator's voice; they also effectively convey the crushing power of grief. The loss of a parent--whatever the age of the child--can reduce one to this rather primitive level of thought. Within this simplicity, however, t
Paul  Hankins
A boy wakes up to find that his mother has passed away in the night.

Moundlic's words and the page breaks guide the reader like bated breath compels each of us to ask where from where these emotional responses are coming. For anyone who has lost and grieved, we find our child's heart in this little boy as he comes down the stairs.

THE SCAR would work wonderfully well as a biblio-therapeutic title for younger readers dealing with loss and subsequent grief.

I really like the message that comes out
Sophie Goulding
Wow! This book really hits you hard. I think that even if you haven't lost someone close to you (which I haven't) you are really sympathetic and become empathetic for the child who goes to lengths such as picking off his scab so that he can still be connected to his mum.

The amount the contrast of red and white is used is very interesting. The child goes very red when sad, angry and by the end of the book turns white as he is more satisfied and less angry. There is a range of the use
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Picture books about death especially the death of a parent are hard. I thought this one did a good job of capturing the grieving process in just the right way. Definitely one that I would have on hand when needed
That is a very effective picture book. Funny and sad and very human; it made me cry three times in one reading.
Edward Sullivan
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A powerful, deeply touching story about a young boy grieving for his recently deceased mother.
Ashley Dam
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: realistic
I love that this book introduces a topic that is not often talked about with children. A boy woke up one morning to be told that his mother died. He had no idea how to handle his emotions and he starts to worry if he will ever forget about her. The boy then decides to shut all the windows and doors in the house to try and keep his mothers scent inside his house. The book then takes a turn and he starts opening the scratches he has on his knee to remember the voice of his mother when he got hurt. ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Scar was an emotional story about a young boy whose mother dies. This story had me crying by the time that I got to the second page. As an adult, your heart grieves for this young child and his emotions that he is experiencing losing his mother. Anyone who has experienced loss any level can connect to this story in some way. As a reader, you go through how the little boy grieves in his way and how his thoughts relate to those of a child who may be going through the same experiences. Although ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I currently work at a public library and one of my jobs is to display books in each section. I came across this book while I was choosing one to display and was automatically interested in it. I sat down to read it thinking it was going to be a simple story about dealing with an ugly scar but boy was I wrong. It's a about loss and trying to deal with it In the point of view of a child. I sat there with tears in my eyes wondering was this really a children's book ?? Nevertheless it was a beautifu ...more
Shirley Sun
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I met this book by accident when I was picking books for my 2 yrs old son.

The words used here are simple but powerful. I've read it many times.
Every time when I open it, I still want to cry.
It tells you how a boy tried to understand, refuse and finally accept the death of his mum.
He witnessed his dad's grief and not only tried to cope with the huge change in his life but also try to help the adults to walk out.
He tells readers how he felt and what he did in a direct and
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Why I picked this book , only reason is the beautiful colour and illustration attracted me and story takes to another level of life and reality . “I am trying not to forget mum’s smell , but it’s fading , so I closed all the windows so that it won’t get out “ I want to give infinity starts just for this lines . This is a book with a utter reality and tells how life always move on , and never stops for anyone . Thanks to Charlotte moundlic .
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A young boy's mom has just died at the beginning of the story. He narrates his thoughts and emotions and ways he tries to remember her.
Moundlic captures the feelings children have - taking care of the adults in their lives; trying to trap memories (keeping windows closed to preserve her smell; ripping off his scab to hear her voice again).
Use to open discussion for kids of all ages going through trauma and grief.
Gwen Ayler
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such an intense book. Especially when its intended age is 2-6 years old.
The very first line is about the boy’s mother dying. Prepare yourself for that first page because I didn’t read the description first, and was sort of shocked when I read that first page.
A great resource for a child dealing with the loss of a parent.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
There are not many picture books that deal with a young child losing a parent to death, and this one does a beautiful job of being realistic and emotional and hopeful. I really like that it shows the child struggling, the remaining parent struggling, and the grandparent struggling, but all still trying to help each other. It addresses the fears and truths in a way that kids will understand.
Hannah Hawley
This is a book that deals with death in a realistic and encouraging manner. The book takes you through the stages of grief encountered by the young boy and his father, with insights for adults to relate to as much as for children. This book is a reassuring take on how to deal with the topic of death with young children.
Lynn  Davidson
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is a sweet, emotional story. It's a good one for anyone who has had a loved one die. A boy's mother dies and he now feels he has to take care of his dad while he is afraid of losing his memories of his mother's voice.
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Book Review 4 1 8 Aug 03, 2014 03:55PM  

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Charlotte Moundlic is the art director at Père Castor and the author of several French books for young readers. She lives in Paris.
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