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All of a Sudden and Forever
Cover of All of a Sudden and Forever
All of a Sudden and Forever
Help and Healing after the Oklahoma City Bombing
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A profoundly moving nonfiction picture book about tragedy, hope, and healing from award-winning author Chris Barton. Sometimes bad things happen, and you have to tell everyone. Sometimes terrible...
A profoundly moving nonfiction picture book about tragedy, hope, and healing from award-winning author Chris Barton. Sometimes bad things happen, and you have to tell everyone. Sometimes terrible...
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Description-

  • A profoundly moving nonfiction picture book about tragedy, hope, and healing from award-winning author Chris Barton.

    Sometimes bad things happen, and you have to tell everyone. Sometimes terrible things happen, and everybody knows. On April 19, 1995, something terrible happened in Oklahoma City: a bomb exploded, and people were hurt and killed. But that was not the end of the story.

    Those who survived—and those who were forever changed—shared their stories and began to heal. Near the site of the bomb blast, an American elm tree began to heal as well. People took care of the tree just as they took care of each other. The tree and its seedlings now offer solace to people around the world grappling with tragedy and loss.

    Released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, this book commemorates what was lost and offers hope for the future.

    "[A] sensitively written and thoughtfully illustrated resource."—starred, School Library Journal

    "An affecting story of loss . . ."—starred, Kirkus Reviews

About the Author-

  • Chris Barton is the author of acclaimed nonfiction picture books including Dazzle Ships, Whoosh!, and What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?. His books have won several awards including a Sibert Honor for The Day-Glo Brothers and an Orbis Pictus Recommended for All of a Sudden and Forever. Chris lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from November 15, 2019
    The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 killed 168 people, "but the awfulness of that moment is not the end of the story." A man parks a truck in front of a big building and walks away. The bomb explodes. And "all of a sudden--and forever--so much was ruined." Barton tells exactly what happened and how it affected so many people. Xu's illustrations, created with ink and Photoshop, are dark and eerie, capturing the mood of loss. Grief knows no boundaries, and white and brown-skinned people walk through misty landscapes, as if the dust from the bombing is still in the air. But an American elm near the blast survives, and its roots entwine scenes from page to page, as if wrapping those still living in its embrace. The tree itself is featured on the cover, its branches outstretched, welcoming all who gather. This Survivor Tree is a generous one, offering seeds for remembrance, a place for gathering, even a spot for a wedding. A touching final double-page spread represents the many people--black and white, young and old, those who stand and those who use wheelchairs--who assemble there. They hold hands, their shadows reflected as if in a misty gray-blue pool, the Survivor Tree's roots swirling underneath. And the final words: "We will remember." An affecting story of loss rooted in one specific tragedy. (author's note, illustrator's note, interview subjects, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-11)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2020

    Gr 2-5-Barton commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing with a tribute that uses spare text to explain the events, the immediate aftermath, and the longterm ways people helped others. The narrative states that 168 people died but does not go into detail. Instead, the author emphasizes the vulnerability and humanity of the victims and their relatives, friends, and neighbors. A tree near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was still standing after the attack and became known as the Survivor Tree-a potent symbol of growth and renewal. A memorial and museum was built. Some people cared for the tree, then collected and replanted its seeds. Seedlings were given to the families of the deceased and were also shared with others who experienced traumatic attacks to provide a gesture of comfort. Debut picture book artist Xu employs ink and Photoshop to create images that are appropriately dark and somber. More greens and blues are added as the tree grows healthier and people reach out to one another. The people, depicted with a variety of skin and hair colors, do not have facial features or expressions, allowing readers to project their own anger, fear, sadness, love, or compassion onto the characters. The narrative does not identify people by name, but detailed notes introduce several real people impacted by the bombing. Photographs of the tree are included. VERDICT Books that help elementary-age children understand disasters are more necessary than ever, so it is helpful to find such a sensitively written and thoughtfully illustrated resource.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    January 1, 2020
    Grades 2-4 This moving picture book relates the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. Rather than focusing on the perpetrators and the events leading up to the tragic moment, Barton centers the story around the resilience of the survivors and the elm tree that still stands near the site of the bombing and whose seedlings were dispersed among people affected by the tragedy. The text is at once quiet and impactful: Sometimes the elm trees were reminders of loss. Sometimes they were sources of comfort. Sometimes they were both. Debut illustrator Xu's artwork perfectly accompanies the narrative with muted blues, lavenders, and corals, elevating the spare words with emotion-filled landscapes. Though the characters don't have facial expressions, every figure emotes with its stance, arm position, and shape, and the ever-present greens of the elm tree light up the darkness with perpetual hope. This ultimately triumphant work of nonfiction reverently pays tribute to the memory of those whose lives were forever changed by this tragedy.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Kirkus Reviews

    "Barton commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing with a tribute that uses spare text to explain the events, the immediate aftermath, and the longterm ways people helped others. The narrative states that 168 people died but does not go into detail. Instead, the author emphasizes the vulnerability and humanity of the victims and their relatives, friends, and neighbors. A tree near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was still standing after the attack and became known as the Survivor Tree—a potent symbol of growth and renewal. A memorial and museum was built. Some people cared for the tree, then collected and replanted its seeds. Seedlings were given to the families of the deceased and were also shared with others who experienced traumatic attacks to provide a gesture of comfort. Debut picture book artist Xu employs ink and Photoshop to create images that are appropriately dark and somber. More greens and blues are added as the tree grows healthier and people reach out to one another. The people, depicted with a variety of skin and hair colors, do not have facial features or expressions, allowing readers to project their own anger, fear, sadness, love, or compassion onto the characters. The narrative does not identify people by name, but detailed notes introduce several real people impacted by the bombing. Photographs of the tree are included. VERDICT Books that help elementary-age children understand disasters are more necessary than ever, so it is helpful to find such a sensitively written and thoughtfully illustrated resource."—starred, School Library Journal

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    Lerner Publishing Group
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All of a Sudden and Forever
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Help and Healing after the Oklahoma City Bombing
Chris Barton
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Chris Barton
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