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Where Do We Go When We Disappear? is a picture book by Isabel Minhos Mrtins and Madalena Matoso. Originally published in Portuguese, this is an English version published by the Tate gallery.


You can see why the Tate chose to publish this. The artwork is glorious; blocky and colourful, beautifully imaginative and full of life, the art adds a gloriously inventive dimension to this thoughtful, clever book.

The book is not, for the avoidance of doubt, about dying, although it is a topic that might spring naturally from a discussion around what the book discusses, and I think it would be a  great help in encouraging children to explore their feelings around loss of any kind.

The book starts with the idea of people, and the fact that in order for one person to disappear, another person has to be left behind to miss them. It uses this to then discuss other things that disappear, like socks, and clouds and the sun, and where we might go in our dreams. It talks about lots of different types of disappearance and posits lots of different ideas, some of them factual, some of them whimsical.

It is a wonderful, playful exploration of a difficult topic and I highly recommend it from Early Years through to aged 7 for all children. It would be a fantastic classroom resource and a great help at home if you are having to deal with the issue of loss in any way.