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Western New York native writes children's book, honors late son

The book 'Just Look Up' helps to explain death and loss to children.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — How do you explain the concept of loss to a child?

One Western New York native is trying to do just that through a new children's book called "Just Look Up." 

The author, Rosemary Voltmann, was back in Buffalo this weekend for a book signing at Dog Ears Bookstore and Cafe in South Buffalo.

She wrote "Just Look Up" from the perspective of her late son, Zach, who died in a tragic accident in 2017.

"I just started writing down thoughts. He loved nature and anything outside. Anything with the sun, the stars, so I incorporated all of that into the book," Voltmann said.

Zach died just two days after his 30th birthday, and his best friend, Paul Besch, struggled to find a way to tell his daughter, Hiedi, what happened.

"Kids are so innocent, and death is so tragic. It's just a hard combo to sort out," Besch said.

After a conversation between Voltmann and Besch, the idea for "Just Look Up" was born, with 9-year-old Heidi as the inspiration.

The book is meant to help parents explain death to a child.

Credit: wgrz

"I didn't want it to be sad, and I wanted to leave people feeling hopeful that their loved ones are always around them, that they're never really alone, and they haven't really left us. Their spirit is always with us," Voltmann said.

The illustrator is a family friend and an art therapist. Many of the images are re-creations of posts from Zach's Instagram.

Zach's organs were donated to three people, all younger than 35. 

In the back of the book, you'll find a page dedicated to Donate Life.

The book is available at Dog Ears Bookstore and through email: wildatheart.byrosemary@gmail.com

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