If Nathan Were Here

Bahr, Mary

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Children's Literature

Annotated by:
McEntyre, Marilyn
  • Date of entry: Jan-31-2005


The narrator of this straightforward little story about the loss of a friend is a young boy who is remembering what he and Nathan did together. He goes through a series of routine events he and Nathan shared, including teasing Nathan's sister about her pitching arm, nibbling strawberries on the way to school, and practicing their speeches together. The children in class make a "memory box" commemorating Nathan, but his best friend, the narrator, can't participate. His feelings are too complicated. With a little help from an old neighbor, a little time alone in the treehouse and other places he and Nathan frequented, he discovers new possibilities of friendship in Nathan's sister and ways of remembering Nathan that are all his own.


This is a gentle book that honors the need for a child to find his own way through the process of mourning, and in the process suggests some of what that might entail--what kinds of conversations, alone time, and remembering might help. Could be a very useful book for parents of children who have friends who have died.


Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Place Published

Grand Rapids, Mich.



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