All of a Sudden and Forever

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Unfortunately, only the cover of the book would download to my device and so I am unable to supply any useful feedback.
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As this is a picture book about the Oklahoma City bombing, it's not exactly something one reads for enjoyment. While I appreciate the intent behind the book, and think it could be a valuable teaching tool, I can't really say that I liked it, or that it's going to be appropriate for everyone.

The narrative is quite simple and focuses mostly on the aftermath and the healing process. (The bomber isn't even named, and the bombing itself takes up a very small part of the narrative.) Much is made of the Survivor Tree, an elm that withstood the blast and has since been propagated and shared as a way to keep life going in the face of tragedy. The pictures are kind of different; the style looks sort of like collage, and details are spare (the people have no facial features, for example). It was probably a good choice to go this route, as too much detail in this could've been overwhelming.

I think I would be really careful about who I chose to share this book with. It would have scared me pretty badly as a child, and I would've been in a panic every time I saw a white truck. If your child is a worrier like I was, and they're too young to understand the statistical unlikelihood of a similar bombing happening in their own neighbourhood, it might be best to hold off on a book like this until they're a bit older. I'd say at least eight years old, because of the inevitable questions about the bombing that are going to arise; kids need to be old enough to handle some of the other details that are going to come up when this event is explored.

But I can see this being a good classroom read. It's especially nice to see what people did to help each other in the aftermath of the bombing. Even though the details in this particular book are a little vague, it gets the ideas across and keeps the memory of the event alive for kids (and potentially their parents) who are too young to remember the bombing themselves.
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I remember the Oklahoma bombing, one of the most horrific terrorist attacks I’d experienced in my young life. Chris Barton’s book All of a Sudden and Forever tells the story with such dignity and reverence, while all the while pointing readers to the hope that brings healing. The illustrations by Nicole Xu are beautiful and sensitive.  I will definitely use this book in my classroom!
Thanks to #netgalley for the e-arc of this terrific book, @allofasuddenandforever
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This is a lovely way to remember the events of April 19, 1995. My daughter was born that day in Indiana, and we watched the story unfold on TV. These words by Barton are perfect (especially repeating "not all at once," to reinforce that healing takes time) and Xu's faceless-and-yet-totally-descriptive-of-families characters add so much to the story of the Survivor Tree. I hope every child gets a chance to read this book and learn more about how to take care of each other in the world.
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I was 9 years old when the Oklahoma bombing happened. I can still feel the understanding for the first time in my life that true evil existed. This was the first awful event I can recall. I can still remember the empty feeling in my stomach and the pain in my heart. That realization changes us all, this was mine. 

This book is a beautiful tribute to an awful day in America’s history. The bombing did not discriminate. Children as well as adults were lost. Families were broken. Lovers were left mourning. I loved how during the embers of this tragedy Hope was found. The survivors tree... was something I was unaware of. The idea of the saplings of this tree standing charred at the site of this horrendous  tragedy growing and bringing life and hope is such a beaut like idea. 

The images are simple. Beautiful. Haunting. They fit so well with the heavy story they help weave. 

While I read this Garth Brooks-The Change played in my brain and I was moved to tears again.
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Beautiful book, but in art and subject. This one talk about surviving a tragedy and keep on living after. Deep, emotional and I believe a book that truly can be helpful. Good job!
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