Anni Kunkenrenken, a 75-year-old volunteer, reads to the kindergarten children [Priti Salian/Al Jazeera]

Arnsberg, Germany – The children at Kita Entenhausen Bruchhausen, a kindergarten in Arnsberg, West Germany, are playing on the swings.

When they are called back inside, some protest, but they perk up when they realise that it is reading time.

Anni Kunkenrenken, a 75-year-old volunteer at the kindergarten, welcomes them inside with a picture book which she reads about opa (grandpa in German), who visits an island and does not return. 

The book subtly portrays the death of a grandparent in a story about travel, which the four to six-year-olds listen to attentively until the end.

“Do you know where opa is?” Kunkenrenken asks in German, closing the book.

“Yes,”

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