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Children's Fiction Death & Dying

Sitting Shiva

by (author) Erin Silver

illustrated by Michelle Theodore

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
May 2022
Death & Dying, Jewish, Religion & Faith, Parents, Other, Religious
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 3 to 5


A little girl grieves the loss of her mother, but she can’t grieve alone.

When her friends and family arrive at her house to sit shiva, laden with cakes and stories, she refuses to come downstairs. But the laughter and memories gradually bring her into the fold, where she is comforted by her community. By the end of the book, she feels stronger and more nourished, and she understands the beautiful tradition. Then, when sees her father sitting alone, she is able to comfort him in his time of need. Sitting Shiva is a beautiful, heartfelt story about grief and loss, but also about comfort and community. It shows that no matter what religion you practice, we are all more similar than we are different.

A note from the author explains the ritual of sitting shiva, a seven-day period of mourning for the death of a family member observed in Jewish homes.

About the authors

Erin Silver is an award-winning children’s author. Her books include Just Watch Me (Krystal Kite Award nominee), What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19 (Hackmatack Award nominee), Proud to Play: LGBTQ+ Athletes Who Made History, Rush Hour: Navigating Our Global Traffic Jam (Blueberry Award winner), Sitting Shiva (Vine Award finalist, TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award finalist) and Good Food, Bad Waste: Let’s Eat for the Planet (2024 American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books finalist). Erin was chosen to tour during Canadian Children’s Book Week in 2023 and is a sought-after speaker at schools, libraries and conferences. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction and a postgraduate journalism degree. Erin lives in Toronto.

Erin Silver's profile page

Michelle Theodore was born and raised in Edmonton. She loves making intelligent and captivating illustrations that evoke a deep emotional connection. Her recent work focuses on exploring the intangible feelings of childhood memory and her strong obsession with the pull of the ocean.


Michelle Theodore's profile page


  • Short-listed, The Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature - Young Adult/Children’s
  • Commended, Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) Sydney Taylor Book Award - Honor Book
  • Commended, The Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (ILA CL/R SIG) Notable Books for a Global Society list
  • Nominated, Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets Top Ten

Editorial Reviews

“A thoughtful and gentle introduction to shiva, grief, and mourning to even the littlest of readers.”

Association of Jewish Libraries

“Shows great empathy for a child’s feelings when coping with loss. That Silver does this task in a unique and emotional way that manages to convey the traditions associated with the practice of sitting Shiva is admirable. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Explains the Jew­ish mourn­ing peri­od in a gen­tle, easy-to-under­stand, car­ing man­ner…Sim­ple and acces­si­ble...Care­ful­ly phrased, evoca­tive­ly illus­trat­ed, and empha­sizes time spent with fam­i­ly and friends.”

Jewish Book Council

“With its lovely, warm illustrations and perfectly pitched storyline, provides an accessible introduction to shiva for readers of all ages…A sensitive, powerful treatment of a child’s grief.”

Kirkus Reviews

“The comforting text and the warm images will help young readers begin to understand what shiva means in Jewish families.”

Sal's Fiction Addiction

“This poignant story about mourning and finding comfort in community is universally relatable.”


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