Local woman writes book that uses birds to teach children about death

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MEBANE, N.C. — Death is a part of life, but that’s not always easy to explain to a child.

Nancy Youngdahl’s an avid birdwatcher and she’s using her love of chickadees to help parents talk to their kids about loss.

Youngdahl is often inspired by sitting in her yard and taking in the beauty around her.

“[I] saw this chickadee out front. He was out there a lot and it was in our crepe myrtle tree, so I decided I’d write a story about Joseph Chickadee, the real estate bird,” she said.

That same bird is the inspiration for her latest book, “Remembering Joseph Chickadee.”

“Joseph is old now and he, like all of us at one time or another as we’re older, we die,” she said.

Fellow birds decided to have a remembering celebration for Joseph Chickadee.

Youngdahl hopes that message told through the eyes of a community of animals will make it a little easier for children to understand the deaths we experience.

“A way for a parent to talk about this without bringing up a particular human,” she said.

The story helps children and adults see that even though someone has passed on, it’s up to us to keep their impact alive.

“If you meet somebody in your life that you love and has done something for you, then maybe you would like to be more like them.”

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