Out of the Mouth of Babes

He sat in his chair eating Cheetos for breakfast and continued talking to me as if he’d known me for years. I listened, wondering where he was going with his story and for how long I should let him go on before politely redirecting him to his schoolwork that sat unopened on his desk. He was telling me about his uncle who loved to drag race and had built his own car. I knew nothing about drag racing except that it sounded dangerous. I thought perhaps I could add a few tips about wearing helmets or seatbelts. I tried to picture a drag racing car in my mind and kept seeing a parachute pop out the back. Was this what he was talking about? I wasn’t sure. I listened for a few more minutes as the story became more involved and suddenly he was telling me that his uncle had passed away. At that point, I began watching his eyes closely and planning how I would handle tears. He rocked back in his chair and crunched down on a Cheeto. This wasn’t the time to lecture about choosing the school’s breakfast over his own. I tried to convince myself that his uncle must have been old. Maybe he was a great uncle or a friend of the family that they referred to as uncle. Then the boy told me about his uncle’s daughter who was only six. Now, I was stumped. How did his uncle die? Should I ask? Is this the point of the story? Was this twelve year old trying to understand loss at 7:30 in the morning? I’m conflicted between wanting to begin class and making sure this student is okay. I look around. Kids are finishing their breakfast and we still have two minutes before the bell. I ask, ready to give advice about pursuing dangerous activities. “How did your uncle die?” His answer-

“My uncle had problems with his liver and he didn’t have health insurance so he couldn’t get help. We all had to watch him die. It was hard.”

K.D. Rausin


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The Picture Book Review

Reviews of Children's Board Books, Picture Books, Activity Books, and Graphic Novels

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