- Arcellana, Francisco,
The Mats. 1999 Kane/Miller Book Publishers.
Randy's Review: From the Phillipines, The Mats tells a beautiful story
of a father remembering his children, present and past with beautiful mats that
he brings back from a trip. Beautifully illustrated and translated so well as
to not compromise the uniqueness of the Filipino cultural backdrop, The Mats was
the winner of the 1995 Phillipines National Book Award for Children’s Literature.
- Blackburn, Lynn
Bennett The Class in Room. 1991 Centering Corporation.
Randy's Review: Classmates of a deceased child often suffer in silence
with schools too often scared to discuss death and dying in the classroom. In
an easy to read story format, The Class in Room 44 illustrates the need for discussion
when a classmate suddenly dies. The real jewel of this book is found at the conclusion
of the story in a section entitled "A Few Thoughts For Teachers and Parents".
It is here that parents and teachers are given useful instructions on dealing
with the subject of death with schoolage children in and out of the classroom.
An important book for parents that underscores the need for this type of discussion
in the classroom setting.
Jim & Joan, Goodbye Forever. 1994 Boulden Publishing.
Randy's Review: A great workbook for Kindergarten to Grade 2-age children
having experienced a loss of a sibling or friend. It explains death and the customs
surrounding death while dispelling some of the well-intentioned misinformation
that parents provide their children (such as death is like going to sleep). While
"Goodbye Forever" is a colouring book, it makes for a great bedtime story for
children soon after they have experienced a loss.
Brown, Laurie Krasny, Brown, Marc, 1996 When Dinosaurs Die. Little,
Brown and Company.
Randy's Review: A child's definitive guide to understanding death, "When
Dinosaurs Die" explores the terminology and feelings surrounding death. It may
make you wince when you discuss death in such vivid terms with your youngster
for the first time, but this book will go a long way in helping your children
cope with the death of a loved one. The book is colourful, well illustrated, and
contains a glossary of death and bereavement terminology in the back.
Buscaglia, Leo, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf. 1982 Slack Incorporated.
Randy's Review: A children's book that is great for people of all ages
helping to explain death as the final episode in the passage of life. This book
brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Buy it for your kids; buy it for
youself. It makes a great keepsake next to "I'll Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch.
Lucille Everett Anderson's Goodbye.
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd.
A simple but touching story of loss combines the strong writing talent of Lucille
Clifton with the true to life imagery of illustrator Ann Grifalconi. While this
is book is intended for children, all ages will be able to empathize with Everett
Anderson’s loss. This book is a Coretta Scott King Award winner. Bravo.
Cave, Anne Good, Balloons For Trevor. 1998 Concordia Publishing House.
"Based on the experiences my family went through after the death of our son's
best friend, 'Balloons for Trevor' is a children's book designed to help parents
help their children grieve. I found that so many books about death end right after
the ceremonies are over, but the grief process really takes a lifetime. That is
why I always say that 'Balloons for Trevor' is not about death, but about grief.
It follows a child through his bereavement for about a year, exploring the confusing
and conflicting emotions he experiences, as well as offering simple, Christian-based
explanations for common children's questions. A list of suggestions for parents
is included." -- Anne Good Cave
Randy's Review: Balloons is a beautiful children story that introduces
children to death by describing a young boy's experiences with the loss of his
best friend Trevor. Heartwarming and moving, "Balloons For Trevor" helps children
deal with death and offers hope through a Christian religious theme. While the
religious learning will mean it is not suited for everyone, the realism of having
the child confront the death of his friend brought tears to my eyes.
Cindy Klein, Heiney, John T., Daddy's Promise. 1997 Promise Publications.
Randy's Review: For young children, the death of a parent might be the
hardest loss of all. Daddy's Promise will bring tears to your eyes as it tells
the story of the loss of a father through the eyes and with the language of the
young child character. A heart wrenching yet heartwarming account of loss that
is well suited to children and adults alike.
Paola, Tomie, Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs. 1978 Puffin Books.
Randy's Review: A favorite in the child bereavement community, "Nana Upstairs
& Nana Downstairs" is the loving tale of a child experiencing the death of a grandparent.
This book provides a good introduction to death for young and old children alike.
Suitable for ages 3-8.
- Fitzgerald, Helen,
The Grieving Teen. A Guide For Teenagers And Their Friends. 2000 Fireside.
Randy's Review: Written for the 13-19 year old age set, The Grieving Teen
helps to address the many questions that teenagers have in respect to dying and
death. Over and over again, the author answers the questions about what came be
done to assist the dying and bereaved in practical terms. Written to teens, for
teens, this book might be a helpful read for parents who are trying to understand
their children better in the midst of a loss.
Grollman, Earl A., Talking About Death. 1990 Beacon Press.
Randy's Review: This is such a gem of a book for bereaved parents with
children that I don't know where to start. Using the pretext of a child's story,
"Talking About Death" helps parents understand and confront bereaved children
about the subject of death and dying. The children's story at the beginning of
this book helps parents and caregivers deal with the difficult questions children
have about death. If you didn't know how to approach the topic of death with your
children, then this book is a must for your library. A well prepared and organized
reading list for children to boot!
- Heegaard, Marge,
When Someone Very Special Dies. 1988 Woodland Press.
Randy's Review: When someone very special dies allows the child to be an
active participant in their healing process by allowing them to express their
feeling surrounding grief on paper. A helpful workbook that allows children to
work through their grief. A great guide for facilitators is included for parents
Joy, Johnson, Marvin, Children Grieve, Too. 1998 Centering Corporation.
Randy's Review: Another great resource from The Centering Corporation that
intended to be read immediately after the death and before the funeral. This publication
is a guide to understanding and responding to the initial symptoms of grief in
infants and children. Includes a great explanation for young children of what
- Joslin, Mary,
The Goodbye Boat. 1998 Lion Publishing.
Randy's Review: Especially well-suited to younger children, the Goodbye
Boat provides hope and comfort when someone special dies.
- Johnson, Joy &
Marv, Where’s Jess. 1992 Centering Corporation.
Randy's Review:For youngsters coping with the loss of a brother or sister,
Where’s Jess answers questions young children might have about death. An easy
- Kaldhol, Marit,
Oyen, Wenche, Goodbye Rune. 1987 Kane/Miller Book Publishers.
Randy's Review: Originally from Norway, Goodbye Rune tells the story of
a young child coming to terms with the death of a close friend and playmate. Speaking
frankly about loss and the rituals surrounding death, Goodbye Rune is a relevant
guide for discussing grief with young children. A kind, gentle, and loving story
of loss, grief, and what to do with tomorrow. A children’s story that stands out
in the crowd.
- Leavy, Una, Good-Bye
Papa. 1996 Orchard Books.
Randy's Review: A moving story of two boys having to come to terms with
the loss of their dear grandfather. A lesson on saying goodbye, Good-Bye Papa
is beautifully illustrated and well-suited to children of all ages.
Cynthia, "Why Do People Die?". 1999 Carol Publishing Group.
Randy's Review: The problem in teaching children about death and the rituals
associated with death is that it is typically initiated following the death of
a loved one. When your children are hurt, scared, and angry, you are suddenly
cast the responsibility of teaching one of life's most difficult lessons. Use
this well written and beautifully illustrated "Why Do People Die?" story to teach
your children about what happens when life comes to an end. The content in this
book is heavy for young readers and some questions may arise that will cause you
to read this storybook over a number of sittings. Don't be scared to talk about
death with your children because it is a bitter pill to swallow when the lesson
is suddenly necessitated as a result of a loss.
- MacLachlan, Patricia,
Baby. 1993 Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers.
Randy's Review:A children’s tale about love, loss, an risk. Well-suited
for school age children.
- Mellonie, Bryan
and Ingpen, Robert, Lifetimes. 1983 Bantam Books.
Randy's Review: This children's book explains how every plant, animal
and person has a lifetime consisting of both a beginning and an end. "Lifetimes"
is well illustrated and explains dying as a process of life itself in a gentle
caring way. This may be very comforting for young children experiencing the death
of a sibling.
- Mood, Pat, Whittaker,
Lesley, Finding a Way Through When Someone Close Has Died. 2001 Jessica
Randy's Review: Created by children for children, this unique workbook
is written and illustrated by young people who have experienced the loss of someone
close to them. Childlike, yet it touches upon a lot of serious subject matter
for your school age children.
Michaelene, Sad Isn't Bad. 1998 Abbey Press.
Randy's Review: I so wish that I had such a wonderful book to read to my
children in the weeks and months following the loss of their brother. Well-written
and well-illustrated, Sad Isn't Bad tackles the tough questions that children
have following the loss of a loved one. Perhaps a "Guidebook for Kids" as the
author suggests. Read it again and you will see find that Sad Isn't Bad is a great
guidebook for bereaved parents as well.
Robert, Love You Forever. 1986 Firefly Books Limited.
Randy's Review: Love You Forever is a book that chronicles the passage
of life for young readers. Like a lot of Robert Munsch lessons on life experiences,
expect the wisdom in "Love you Forever" to be passed from parent to child and
from your children to theirs. A truly loving story of a young boy growing up and
experiencing his parents love endure and cross over to the next generation.
Old, Wendie C., Stacy Had A Little Sister. 1995 Albert Whitman & Company.
Randy's Review: This is a children's story that addresses a little girl
coping with the loss of her infant sister who suddenly dies from Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS must be one of the most difficult things to explain
to a child and hopefully Stacy Had A Little Sister will make it a little easier
for bereaved parents, relatives, and grief counsellors. Such a well written book
that just the thought of this story brings tears to my eyes.
Palmer, Pat, I Wish I Could Hold Your Hand. 1995 Impact Publishers.
Randy's Review: What a wonderful story to read a young child who is beset
by the death of a loved one. "I Wish I Could Hold Your Hand" reaches out to the
child reader and describes what normal grief reactions should feel like. With
young children so scared to acknowledge their feelings surrounding the death,
this book draws out these feelings and helps them deal with them in practical
terms. If you have young children who have experienced a loss, than this book
may help draw out their suppressed feelings.
- Roper, Janice,
Dancing on the Moon. 2001 SIDS Educational Services.
Randy's Review: A moving story of how a 5 year old is helped by her mother
to love the younger brother who has died suddenly. This beautifully illustrated
children’s story is magical, honest, and charming. A wonderful storybook that
will help your young children understand grief.
Rothman, Juliet, A Birthday Present For Daniel. 1996 Prometheus Books.
Randy's Review: A good storybook for children who have experienced the
loss of a sibling. While the author acknowledges writing "A Birthday Present For
Daniel" for a young child, I feel it delves into areas that may be inappropriate
for a very young child. I read it to my 5 year-old and he had difficulty understanding
some of the concepts. I suggest it to be read to grade 1-3 aged children.
Silverman, Janis, Help Me Say Goodbye. 1999 Fairview Press.
Randy's Review: This book is well suited for teachers, school counsellors,
and professional children's grief counsellors who want to use the questions to
evoke questions and drawings from grieving children. If parents want to read this
book, they might want to skip right to the suggestions and ideas for coping with
the death of a loved one contained on pages 20 and 21.
Silverstein, Shel, The Giving Tree. 1964 Harper Collins Publishers.
Randy's Review: For over 30 years, "The Giving Tree" has been a source
of inspiration for children and adults alike who learn the lessons of giving and
loving. And why is a book that seems to have nothing to do with bereavement in
this recommended reading list you ask? Don't forget to teach your children the
positive lessons of living and loving in equal time to the brutal realities that
may await them. Shel Silverstein and The Giving Tree provide will set you on the
path to teaching your first lesson. A keeper for your children and your children's
- Simon, Jack, This
Book Is For All Kids, But Especially My Sister Libby. Libby Died. 2001 GSD&M
Idea University Press.
Randy's Review: Through the eyes of a young child, this book is authored
by 5 year old Jack Simon as the book jacket says, “as told to his mom, usually
at bedtime”. This lovely story written by young Jack and his mother will bring
tears to your eyes as it captures the innocence of how young children confront
death and bereavement. A book for all ages that will touch you like no other.
Buy it for your children; buy it for yourself.
Reader's Review: There is a wonderful book for grieving children called
"This Book Is for All Kids but Especially My Sister, Libby. Libby Died." It's
by Jack and Annette Simon who are a mother-son team. This book came to my attention
through a mom who lost her daughter a couple of years ago. She described it as
"A Godsend" because it was written from a child's perspective. I have since given
two copies as gifts (I'm sad to say) to parents, one who lost a husband, and one
a child. In both cases, there were young children in the family who were grieving.
It is very touching and believe it or not, even funny in places. It's a great
book for kids who may be holding back their feelings. - MaryEllen Rasnic
- Simon, Norma,
The Saddest Time. 1986 General Publishing, Limited.
Randy's Review: The three smaller stories that fill the pages of this book;
the death of a young uncle with a terminal illness, of a classmate killed in an
accident, and of a grandparent help children see death as part of the natural
cycle of life. While the stories are filled with sadness, they remind and inspire
the young reader to cherish the life of the deceased as they mourn his/her death.
There are a few bedtime stories in the pages of this book.
- Singleton Prestine,
Joan, Someone Special Dies. 1993 Fearon Teacher Aids.
Randy's Review: What I found so remarkable about Someone Special Dies is
that it is so well suited to bringing out discussion in preschooler audiences.
Without identifying who has died, the child character in the book discusses death
and the feelings of permanent loss. I think that books such as Some Special Dies
should be part of the prescribed preschool curriculum.
Temes, Roberta, The Empty Place. 1992 Small Horizons.
Randy's Review: The Empty Place is suitable for older children
in grade 2 or 3 but may be disturbing to younger children. It addresses the issues
surrounding death in grade 2-3 age appropriate language and raises issues pertinent
to that age group. Dont let the childlike writing and illustrations fool
you. This is a serious storybook that is sure to generate discussion between you
and your children.
Viorst, Judith, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. 1971 Aladdin Paperbacks.
Randy's Review: A touching story of a boy coming to terms with the death
of his cat. Reminding us that a child's first experience with bereavement is often
experienced with the death of a pet, the author tells a heartwarming story through
the eyes of a child. You don't have to have experienced the loss of a pet to enjoy
"The Tenth Good Thing About Barney".
Jane Loretta, After the Funeral. 1995 Paulist Press.
Randy's Review: After the Funeral is a well-illustrated book for children
having to come to terms with the loss of a loved one following the funeral. A
light read that will provoke discussion with your young children. It did with
Alan D., A Child's View of Grief.
1991 Center for Loss and Life Transition.
Randy's Review: If you want to help your children better cope with the
death of a loved one, A Child's View of Grief provides some great resource material
to help you understand the signs of grieving in your bereaved children. This book
speaks to parents that they become good observers and listeners as they look to
guide their children through the grief process. Wolfelt is right on the money
with A Child's View of Grief.
- Wolfelt, Alan
D., Healing Your Grieving Heart For Kids. 100 Practical Ideas. 2001 Companion
Randy's Review: A practical idea book for grieving children to help them
mourn the loss of a loved one. The book provides practical ideas and exercises
to help bereaved children release the pain they are feeling. Don’t miss the 10
Grief Rights that the author includes at the back of the book.