Will I Go to Heaven?

Will I Go to Heaven? coverWill I Go to Heaven?

Submitter: This book comes from a small public library. It has had 4 circulations since 2001. That alone is enough to pull the book. Then there are some questionable illustrations and text that are a bit confusing and likely offensive in today’s social climate. For a children’s book there is A LOT of text. There are also some torn and stained pages. We do get requests for children’s books on death and heaven on occasion. It’s a difficult topic to explain and this book would likely confuse young minds.

Holly: Ughhhhh. I’m really tired of these cartoony images of historical and cultural groups of people. It’s not cute. It’s not the cartoon style, so much; it’s the parody and stereotype of the way the characters are portrayed. Did we ever need children’s books with beer-guzzling Vikings? Ummm…no. We didn’t.



Why do we die?

American Indians


  1. I disagree. I love all of Peter Mayles books and this is no exception. Don’t forget that his children’s books are meant for older ages (10-14, I think.) Death and dying is a hard subject to write about.

  2. Since trees age a lot more slowly than butterflies as well, it’s the tree that should look like a baby while the butterfly should look like an old man.

  3. The American Indian’s page is enough reason to quickly pull this, just on its own

  4. Problems grouping ‘American Indians’/caricatures aside – the passages shown don’t seem too judgmental in their attempt to inform kids the various places people might go after death. Even the blurb on non-believers (‘of course’ they exist, but fewer than others) is accurate and frank. If not following/citing myths to an academic degree, this might at least succeed at provoking interest from children to learn more about these concepts in various cultures.

    I’m struck by the self-doubting final sentence on the astronaut page; any ‘death book’ (if not from a heavy-handed religious perspective) raises questions to which adults don’t have answers. As you acknowledge, it’s a difficult concept to explain. So I’m glad the authors found a subtle way to not guarantee they know what’s going to happen to a dead astronaut – nor that what happens will be what he wants – at the same time as mincing it with a (sorta sweet) concept of what *might* happen.

    So maybe I need my eyebrows raised by the ‘Hell’ section, but I’d still give kids the benefit of the doubt to get something out of it. I’ll also give the authors the benefit of the doubt; they did a better than expected job if that’s the worst of it. TLDR, I expected worse reading the title (And I’m disappointed I still don’t know whether I’ll go or not 😉 )

  5. I was actually reassured that wasn’t some cheesy attempt to terrify children into accepting a particular religion.

  6. This book would probably have been considered odd at the time of publication. The title leads one to believe that issues of death, grief and religion would be addressed. The book doesn’t really do that at all. It’s about mythologies of people of various times, various places and various belief systems.

    The book is so strange that adults working with children would be just as confused as the youngsters. Why would an Astronaut prefer a ‘heaven’ of a large space ship with a pool and Martian ice cream to spending eternity with people s/he loved in life?

    I agree that the illustrations are not appropriate. The text also isn’t accurate. I sincerely doubt that all Native American people viewed the
    afterlife as the ‘Happy Hunting Ground’.

    Dump this one. Don’t even put it in a book sale because it serves no useful purpose.

  7. And now there are NO links to new or old posts at the top of the page — ? I had it figured out that they were backwards — I believe I did also mention this a couple of years ago — and I used the ones underneath the illustrations instead. Which are now the only ones. Fine with me — I just hope that was your intention — ?

    1. They are at the bottom of the post. It’s not my favorite setup. The old plugin was messing up some of the posts. This is the best I could find for now.

  8. The Vikings are probably guzzling mead. Don’t really understand why that would be a problem either.

  9. Gosh, Peter Mayle. It’s possible adults would be interested in this if they’re familiar with his work. I had no idea he wrote for kids. I knew of his caper novels and Provence writings.

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