Bigger Than a Dream

Bigger Than a Dream

Jef Aerts


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People fear death. We don't know how to talk about it, especially to children, and we're afraid to bring it up for fear of making people sadder.

Yet children, especially, have questions, and this incredibly gentle and surprisingly light story is full of both comfort and vividly imagined "answers." The first one gives the book its title: A boy hears the voice of his sister calling him one day, a sister he's never met because she died before he was born. The sister in the faded photograph on the wall. So that night he asks his mother what death is like and she tells him, "It's like dreaming, only bigger."

That's lovely, but he still has questions, which it turns out his sister can answer! On a dreamy, carefree adventure they ride their bikes together, (not always on the ground), visiting places that were special to her when she was alive. And she talks to him in the older sister, teasing, straightforward, loving way that is exactly what he needs. (It turns out that death is not the only thing that can be Bigger Than a Dream.)

Much, much more than bibliotherapy, this is a work of art that speaks with honesty and tenderness about one of life's great mysteries.


Jef Aerts:
Jef Aerts grew up in a wooded village in Belgium. His first picture book, Bigger Than a Dream, has won multiple awards and has been published in nine languages. His most recent novel, The Blue Wings, was named a 2020 IBBY Honor book. Aerts lives with his wife and three children on a small farm. Visit him online at