Anna Andergrahn has written an adorable book that introduces children to the concepts of death and reincarnation in a way that is reassuring, gentle, and playful. Comparing people to snails and their bodies to shells, the reader follows along as a snail dies, leaving his friends sad and missing him. We see the snail flying around, free of his shell and happy as can be. (”Men snigeln är glad. Det är härligt att vara utan skal. Nu är den helt fri.”)
He is reunited with his grandparents and has lots of fun being so free. After a while, he considers coming back to a shell and begins to choose his new life, complete with ”punkaföräldrar” and electric guitar skills. He forgets the past once he begins his new life, and at the end we really understand that life is just shell after shell, experience after experience.
As much as I hate to admit it, most spiritual-themed books for kids are trite at best, and my kids never want anything to do with them. This one? I had to pry it from my daughter’s hand in order to write the review. Kids love this book because it’s not preachy, and it’s not written like the kid version of an adult self-help book. Instead, it reads just like any other children’s book and lets the child interpret the metaphor to the degree she is comfortable.
Death is not an easy subject for many families. I recommend Tänk om människor(…) as an excellent opener for all kinds of discussions around death and spirituality and for parents wanting to introduce the idea that we are more than our bodies.
The language is mostly easy for a parent new to Swedish. Although I learned some new vocabulary words, it did not feel burdensome to read. The illustrations, drawn by the author, are simple and cute, and the author has a Facebook page where she posts more inspiring and sweet ”Tänk om” ideas.