Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Zayde Comes to Live

Rate this book
Rachels grandfather, her zayde, has come to live with her family. Though no one has told her, Rachel knows it is because Zayde is dying, and she worries what will happen to him. Her friends religions offer her no solace, and although she gets some answers from her Rabbi about where Zayde may go, Rachel still cant imagine her own life without Zayde in it. It is only when she realizes that Zayde will live on in the love and the memories they have shared that she finally begins to find some peace. Author Sheri Sinykins understated text and illustrator Kristina Swarners beautiful illustrations combine to create a moving story about truth, love, and loss.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sheri Cooper Sinykin

29 books12 followers

Sheri Sinykin was lead author of the Magic Attic Club series in the mid-90s, and published nine other books for young readers. She lives in Wisconsin and in Arizona."

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
20 (23%)
4 stars
49 (56%)
3 stars
16 (18%)
2 stars
0 (0%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
Profile Image for Barbara.
12.9k reviews264 followers
August 20, 2012
One of the most appealing parts of this book about a dying grandfather is the title and the notion that Rachel's grandfather will live every moment until he dies. Death is a topic that many of us would prefer not to tackle in classrooms or at home, but this title does so with grace, wisdom, and respect. By enjoying the remaining time she has with her grandfather, Rachel learns to savor the time she has and the memories they are making right now. The questions Rachel asks about dying and what comes after death are questions many children especially have. Not only is the book filled with beautiful words and sentiments, but the illustrations have been created from linoleum prints with watercolor and colored pencil. I loved the illustration of Zayde and Rachel holding hands near the end of the book. This title certainly fills a void and could be useful in discussing terminal illness and death.
Profile Image for Emily.
144 reviews9 followers
August 19, 2014
Children's books about death and dying are rarely so celebratory, so life-affirming, so reassuring as this one, the story of Rachel and her grandfather, whom she calls Zayde.

It is not overtly religious, but gives a respectful nod to the afterlife expectations of three major world religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Each has value. But, in the end, it is Zayde's life that is the important thing. As the Rabbi says, when Rachel asks if her grandfather is dying, "He is living until the moment he dies."

And each of those moments, though they are a person's last, are simply part of the fabric of the entirety of their lives and the lives of those they have loved and by whom they have been loved. This story made me tear up. Not with sadness, but with appreciation.
Profile Image for Paul  Hankins.
770 reviews281 followers
August 17, 2012
I got to see the ARC of this title at NetGalley. I would like to see the accompanying artwork to this tender text when the book releases in October.

Tender text tells the story of Rachel and when her Zayde comes to live at her house at the end of his life.

This is one of those poignant picture books we talk about that get missed when we write off this format for our younger and older readers. Here is an issue that many of our young people face. I love Zayde's gentle voice and counsel in this one and I am "laddering" this title with Tuesdays with Morrie.

Profile Image for Erika Dreifus.
Author 9 books176 followers
August 26, 2012
The children’s book market isn’t an area I know especially well. But when Sheri Sinykin contacted me to see if I’d be interested in a review copy of her picture book, ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE (illustrated by Kristina Swarner; Peachtree Publishers; release date October 1, 2012), I accepted. Gratefully.

The story introduces us to Rachel, a young Jewish girl whose grandfather (“Zayde”) has come to live with her family. “It’s because he is dying,” Rachel tells us. And Rachel is worried, because she doesn’t know where Zayde will go after he dies.

I’m many years older than the fictional Rachel, and I still don’t quite understand what Judaism teaches about where we go after we die. Like Rachel, however, I take comfort in the teachings shared in this book, particularly about Olam Ha-Ba, the World to Come.

The illustrations are lovely, and the words simple. Everything combines to convey the difficulty–and necessity–of saying good-bye.

I’ve seen a review here on Goodreads in which another reader remarked that ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE brought tears to her eyes. It brought tears to mine, too.
Profile Image for Dena McMurdie.
Author 2 books134 followers
September 24, 2012
I got this book via Net Galley for review. I only got the text, no illustrations, so I can only comment on the story itself and not the artwork.

Death is a very sensitive topic and one that most people would rather not address. For children especially, it can be a frightening subject. Zayde Comes to Live is a gentle explanation of the complicated experience of death. It is told from a child's perspective, and it is very warm and comforting.

I loved the part where the rabbi comes to visit the family and tells Rachel that Zayde is living until the moment he dies. It calms her fears and helps her make the most of his last days.

While this story was distinctly for those of the Jewish faith, it was respectful to all religions and can apply to a broad scope of people. This is definitely a book that I will be reading to my children when it comes out.
Books for Kids
Profile Image for Julee.
348 reviews67 followers
September 29, 2012
A tender story of how Rachel's grandfather, her Zayde, comes to spend the last part of his life with her family. Rachel grasps the concept of her grandfather's approaching death and she begins to worry about what will happen to him after he passes. Her Zayde comforts her by sharing how he is living every moment of his life until his time comes. Like many children who are concerned about a loved one, Rachel is filled with questions that deserve answers. She seeks council from her friends and rabbi but it is her Zayde who offers her comfort in his answers.

Author, Sheri Sinykin delivers a sweet, yet respectful story that is beautifully complimented by the illustrations by Kristina Swarner. A good example of a perfect pairing between author and illustrator whose teaming created a harmonious balance between text and illustrations.
Profile Image for Caryn Caldwell.
434 reviews250 followers
July 18, 2013
When Rachel's grandpa comes to live with her family, she quickly figures out that he's dying. What she can't figure out is what will happen to him when he is gone. She asks her friends and her rabbi, but ultimately finds peace when she discusses the issue with Zayde himself. She decides to simply cherish his last days with her and trust that it will all work out.

This book covers a very sensitive subject in a loving and ultimately uplifting way. While the author shows death and dying from a distinctly Jewish perspective, she also briefly addresses Christian and Muslin beliefs. Would be a good jumping-off point for discussions about what happens when people die. May also provide comfort to children who have recently lost a grandparent or other loved-one.
Profile Image for Sanchi.
56 reviews11 followers
August 20, 2012
So I got this book via netgalley for review. I read this to my boys for bedtime and based on their reaction as well as mine I rated it 3 out of 5 stars. The story is about a young girl named Rachel who is trying to understand about Zayde and why he is dying and where he will go when he dies. I thought the message in the book was a very good one, however the characters were not well developed in the book and I feel there wasn't enough detailed information on them. I was left confused at the end of the story wanting more details about the characters. I overall enjoyed the story for what it represented, but didn't like the writing very much or how the book lacked details.
Profile Image for Susan.
102 reviews7 followers
June 23, 2013
This was a beautiful and touching story. I loved the rabbi's answer to Rachel's question, and I wish we could have had a book like this when my children were small and starting to lose older relatives. I only had a few issues with the theology, and a second reading cleared them up, but one: I don't think it's right to suggest that Jews and Muslims don't believe in the same God. The Arabic name is only slightly different from the Hebrew word for god, and even though the two religions have different beliefs about God, they don't believe in two different gods.
Profile Image for Dina.
250 reviews2 followers
January 28, 2013
This 32-page children's picture book about a very ill grandfather who comes to live with the family of a young girl is truly a wonderful book. It deals with the subject of illness and death directly at the level of a 4 to 6-year-old and is quite poignant but also comforting. The child knows that zayde is dying but is afraid to say anything to her parents. She asks the rabbi when he visits as she knows rabbis never lie. I highly recommend it
Profile Image for Maddypictures.
298 reviews3 followers
October 16, 2012
Stunning, sad and wonderful. Zayde comes to live at their house... but the unspoken truth is that it won't be for long. He's very ill - and this is a book about preparing a child for the idea that our elders won't be with us forever. The grandfather in the story is pictured with oxygen tubes in his nose. A moving story. I cried!
Profile Image for Jayna.
176 reviews1 follower
July 26, 2013
Ages 5 and up

The story of Rachela as her grandfather comes to live with her family as he is dying. It is a sweet story about celebrating living. This would be good for families that are dealing with the process of losing a loved one. The story is Jewish focused, but the message can be universal.
20 reviews
September 29, 2015
This was a very beautiful book that deals with the death of a loved one from a child's perspective. The many questions and concerns and uncertainties that go along with sickness and death. Even though this book is based on the Jewish culture, I think it can be applied to other cultures as well. It was beautifully written.
Profile Image for Danielle H.
43 reviews13 followers
March 1, 2019
A great elementary level picture book that explores the dying process before death. It focuses on death and dying in Judaism, but also shows how Rachel hears about death from peers who are Christian and Muslim. It can be especially helpful for kiddos in classrooms/schools/neighborhoods with a lot of interfaith culture.
75 reviews
June 24, 2019
This book portrays the Jewish religion in a beautiful and simplistic way. Just as the illustrations are crafted in a simplistic way, which gives them such beauty. The fact that Zayde was able to convey what happens to him after death, in accordance with the Jewish religion, in a way that Rachel was able to understand and come to terms with struck a cord with me.
Profile Image for Samantha.
4,985 reviews59 followers
December 11, 2012
A little girl makes peace with the fact that her grandfather is nearing the end of his life. Illustrations of linoleum prints with watercolor and colored pencil help in a muted palette set a peaceful tone that supports the text.
Profile Image for Toni Palma.
Author 7 books108 followers
February 13, 2013
I read this in galley form. This book is sensitive in its telling and the illustrations spark a dreamy tone. This book is very useful for an adult who is looking for a way to broach the difficult subject of death with a young child.
Profile Image for Barbara.
61 reviews
June 5, 2013
What a special, loving story! The topic of death and dying is hard to write about for young children. This story is touching and would be very helpful for a child with an aging grandparent. To be read one on one.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,083 reviews7 followers
November 13, 2012
An excellent choice for a child with a terminally ill family member. Sensitive, but straightforward.
77 reviews
November 19, 2012
PB25 - I recommend this book for any child dealing with a sick family member or one who has recently passed away.
3,220 reviews
December 5, 2012
Rachel's grandfather is dying. This book about death in Jewish family is an open way to show children about the living days
Profile Image for Kelsey.
2,307 reviews55 followers
December 19, 2012
Religion: Judaism
Tough Issue: Death

I appreciate that the illustrator chose to draw oxygen tubes on the grandpa, providing a realistic portrayal.
Profile Image for Craig Wiesner.
67 reviews6 followers
November 6, 2013
An absolutely beautiful way to look at death and dying with a bit of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim perspectives but in the end being open to all possibilities of what happens when we die.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.