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Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

  • 1.  Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 17 days ago
    In the past week, I have (very sadly) been asked for resources to use with young children who have lost a close family member. One situation is more predictable - loss of a grandparent. The others more tragic - loss of a parent, loss of a child. I am aware of some of the older resources, but I don't feel up to date on best resources. I welcome recommendations for resources for adults as well as for young children.
    Thank you.

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    Mira Berkley
    Quality Improvement Specialist
    QUALITYstarsNY
    Fredonia NY
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  • 2.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 17 days ago
    The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown is a very thoughtful book about death. But because the death in the book is of a wild bird, not a human family member, it might not be a good fit to share with families who have suffered a recent loss.
    https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-028931-7

    ------------------------------
    Peggy Ashbrook
    Early childhood science teacher
    Alexandria, VA
    NSTA The Early Years columnist, Science and Children
    Early Years blogger, www.nsta.org/earlyyears
    Author: Science Learning in the Early Years, and
    Science Is Simple
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 17 days ago

    To explain death, it is helpful to think in terms as it being part of life itself.  For this reason, LIFETIMES (The beautiful way to explain death to children) by Brian Mellonie and Robert Ingpen provides incredibly useful language.  Talking about "life energy" lost has proven to be an understandable opening to such conversations with my preschoolers whether it is due to a human or animal family member or a classroom goldfish.

    The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr is simplistic and on target for the feelings and thoughts that come after losing a loved one.  Like all his books, the art and words are spare and well-chosen to reach even the youngest audience.

    Grief is a Mess by Jackie Schuld explores grief, respecting it for the individual process that it is for each of us.

    Finally, The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers is a story about loss and ensuing grief.  While it does not directly speak of death, through storytelling and lovely artwork, it beautifully illustrates how we are connected to our loved ones and why it hurts when those relationships end.  There is mourning.  And still hope.

    For any discussions about death with young children, I recommend reading these books to yourself before tackling them with your little ones.  There is a lot to digest between the covers.



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    Leanne JaCobson
    Early Childhood Educator
    Sierra Madre, CA
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  • 4.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 15 days ago
    I Have a Question about Death is straight-forward, inclusive and gender-neutral. It includes the full story, suggestions for parents, teachers and caregivers, as well as a short, corresponding picture story. Originally written to support children with special needs around grief and death (it is the ONLY book to do this), it has become an invaluable resource for early childhood educators and parents of young children. Full disclosure: I'm a co-author of this book! Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. (This book is the first in a series that addresses challenging topics. The second is about Divorce and the 3rd, about Cancer, will be released in May.) Available on Amazon and most major booksellers.

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    Meredith Polsky
    New York NY
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  • 5.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 14 days ago
    Meredith:  Your books sound really helpful.  And I'll look at all of the other book suggestions also.  My program gets called in pretty regularly to support teachers, parents, and kids when someone has died or is ill.  I'll be adding some of these to our bookshelf.  I wanted to share this website that has some good suggestions about children and grief:  The Dougy Center has tip sheets, resources, books, etc.      dougy.org




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    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
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  • 6.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 15 days ago
    I want to thank all of you for your kind responses. This "thread" has generated a great list of resources on the difficult subject of death. If/when I am able to compile it, I will share back again.

    ------------------------------
    Mira Berkley
    Quality Improvement Specialist
    QUALITYstarsNY
    Fredonia NY
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 13 days ago
    I was pleased to see Lifetimes by Melloni on someone else's recommendation.  One of the reasons I recommend this book is that it focuses on the natural life cycle.​  parents and teachers can add any religious beliefs as appropriate.

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    Susan Pollack
    Norfolk VA
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  • 8.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 16 days ago
    So sorry to hear about the loss in your classroom. A few suggestions to offer; Tough Boris by Mem Fox, The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, I Miss You: A First Look at Death by Pat Thomas, and Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley. I hope these help. Best of luck for your children and families.

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    Meg Marchese
    Preschool Teacher
    Belmont, NC
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  • 9.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 16 days ago
    If you go to the site, Brainpickings, and look in their archive, there is a whole posting on death with wonderful books for children as well as adults. You can sign up for the site owner's weekly postings. You will love it.

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    Nora Krieger
    Associate Professor Emerita/ Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/ New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 16 days ago
    http://clearlakechildrenscenter.com/resources/bibliotherapy/ provides a list of books on many topics, including death and grief.  It also provides guidelines for ages for the books. I can't say how "recent" it is.
    Some others I didn't see already listed (or missed them)
    I miss you - a first look at death  by Pat Thomas
    The Memory Box by Joanna Rowland
    Where are you - Laura Olivieri
    Always remember  - Cece Meng

    ------------------------------
    Joanna Grymes
    Arkansas State University
    State Univ AR
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  • 11.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 16 days ago
    Others have recommended some of the books I would list :)  In addition to those, I also love "The Fall of Freddie the Leaf" which tells the story of a leaf letting go of life on the tree and is appropriate for all ages.  I also think "Saying Goodbye to Lulu" is a lovely developmentally appropriate story about death, though may not be the best fit for your current situation as it focuses on the death of Lulu the dog.

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    Sherrie Rose Mayle
    Director/Teacher
    Campbell Parents' Participation Preschool
    Campbell, CA
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  • 12.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 16 days ago
    Sesame Street has great (free!) resources for both.

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    Jennifer Monson
    ECE Teacher
    Denver Public Schools
    Denver, Co
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  • 13.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 16 days ago
    The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst is about the family cat dying. The child's job is to think of good things to say about the cat at the "funeral".

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    Vicki Knauerhase M.Ed.
    Child Development Specialist (retired)
    Weston OH
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  • 14.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 16 days ago
    Mr. Rogers authored a very useful pamphlet that has been updated and re-issued. It's available here
    https://www.fredrogers.org/frc/store/product/talking-young-children-about-death-bundle-50

    And my favorite book on the topic addresses the loss of a loved one  When Someone Dies by Sharon Greenlee. I've shared it frequently. It's out of print but you can find some reasonably priced copies  such as online vendor Thriftbooks.

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    Nancy Freeman
    Seattle WA
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  • 15.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 16 days ago
    So sorry to hear about this but here are some books we have shared amongst our social services team:

    Books for Children

    About Grief:

    Lifetimes – Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen

    When People Die – Joanne Berstein

    Love, Mark – Mark Scravani

    The Kids Book About Death and Dying – Eric Rolfes

    When Someone Very Special Dies – Marge Heegard

    Aarvy Ardvark Finds Hope – Donna O'Toole


    About Sibling Death:

    Am I Still a Sister? – Alvin Sims

    Children are not Paper Dolls – Erin Linn Levy

    My Brother Joey Died – Gloria McLendon

    Losing Someone You Love – (older children) – Elizabeth Richter

     

    About Parental Death:

    A New Mother for Martha – Phyllis Green

    Good-bye Chicken Little – Betsy Byars

    How it Feels When a Parent Dies – (older children) – Jill Krementz

    Geranium Morning – Sandy Powell

    Books for Parents/Guardians

    No Time for Good-Byes: Coping with Sorrow, Anger, and Injustice After a Tragic Death – J. Harris Lord

    Beyond Sympathy: How to Help Another Through Injury, Illness, or Loss – Janice Harris Lord

    Dear Parents: Letters to Bereaved Parents – Centering Corporation

    How Do We Tell the Children? – Dan Schaeffer and Christine Lyons

    Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child – Earl A. Grollman

    Bereaved Children and Teens – Earl A. Grollman

     

    Books and Workbooks for Professionals

    Grief Comes to Class – Centering Corporation

    Helping Activities for Children in Grief – Gay McWhorter

    Mending Hearts – When a School Grieves – Amy Murray

    When Something Terrible Happens – Marge Heegaard

    When Someone Very Special Dies – Marge Heegaard

    What Color Are Tears? – Marianne Vandawalker

    Bereavement Support Group Program for Children – Beth Haasl and Jean Marnochoa


    Hope this helps, Mira. :-)

    ------------------------------
    Jacqueline Clark
    FRC Liaison
    Washington Resource Information Center (WRIC)
    Phoenix AZ
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 16 days ago
    Wonderful list of books! Here are a few more and a source for finding books.
    • Goodbye Mouse  Robie Harris.  Although this is about a pet dying, it's explanation of death and of sorry is perfectly pitched for three and four year olds. Beautifully written.
    • Grandpa's Soup, Eiko Kadono: After Grandpa dies, the family makes the soup he used to make and remembers him. 
    • My Grandson Lou, Charlotte Zolotow: A grandson and his mother remember the grandfather and both miss  him and still love him.
    • Papa's Latkes, Michelle Edwards: This is the first Hanukkah since Mama died, and the family prepares her latkies in sorrow and in love for their going on together.

    Check out www.childpeacebooks.org. There's  wonderful data base that let's you look up high quality books by age appropriateness, by social identities, by type of book, and by special topics - one of which is death.

    So glad the families involved have an Early Childhood program that supports them.

    ------------------------------
    [Julie] [Olsen Edwards]
    Soquel CA
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  • 17.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 14 days ago
    Mira, thank you so much for posting your original request, as it is timely for me, too. The daughter of one of my childhood friends just lost her husband suddenly in a mining accident; they have four children, the oldest of whom is just 4. Thank you to everyone for sharing so many rich and thoughtful ideas and resources - I will share.

    ------------------------------
    Kathie Reid-Bevington, Ph.D.
    Prof Emerita of Child and Family Science
    Associate Dean, Retired
    Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences
    and Technology
    California State University, Fresno
    Now Resides in Bend, Oregon
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 12 days ago
    The Invisible String by Patrice Karst (link at the bottom) is a wonderful book about separation and loss. It connects to all children on a variety of levels. It is not specifically on death, though it does mention it.

    I also wrote a blog piece about integrating death into your curriculum. Activities such as gardening and walks through cemeteries are great ways to start to build a child's understanding of death. For example we'll say the plant died, it was living and now it is not. The children can see the transition between life and death and start building their understanding. It's called "Death and Your Curriculum" and you can find it on our website.



    ------------------------------
    Sasha Shunk
    owner/director
    Shunk Child Care
    https://shunkchildcare.blog/
    Portland ME
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  • 19.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 11 days ago
    One book that I have used more than once to broach the subject of death with young children is The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst.  The book begins with "My cat Barney died last Friday.  I was very sad."  The story does end on a happier note.

    This book HAS been around for awhile, but I still find it one of the best.  Judith Viorst uses her story to deal somewhat subtly with the circle of life, and that basic premise is a wonderful way to approach the concept of death.

    Shari

    ------------------------------
    Shari Jarvis, M.A.E.
    Educator
    Winona MN
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  • 20.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 10 days ago
      |   view attached
    Please see attached file for dozens of books for children, and books for adults helping grieving children.
    Best of luck!

    ------------------------------
    Hazel Osborn
    Consultant
    Loveland CO
    ------------------------------

    Attachment(s)



  • 21.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 7 days ago
    This post made me remember and order my favorite book about death and how to deal with it for children. It is called Nadia the Willful. This book is out of print but can be easily ordered from Amazon.

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    Jayne Bey
    owner
    Little Hearts Daycare
    Dayton OH
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  • 22.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 5 days ago
    Ida Always by Caron Levis is a beautifully written book about terminal illness. I accidentally posted this elsewhere, as I am new to this forum and was technically challenged:)

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    Hilary Laing
    Teacher
    Orono Discovery Center
    Orono MN
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  • 23.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 4 days ago
    The following books are old but still good.  They are my favorites:
    1.  Love You Forever by Robert Munsch  (death of a mother)
    2.  The tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst (death of a cat)
    3.   I'll Aways Love You by Hans Wilhelm (death of a dog)
    4.  Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie de Paola (death of grandmothers)
    5.  Mama One, Mama Two by Patricia MacLachlan (death of mother)
    Hope these help.

    You also might check out my website for the book I wrote, "Teaching With Heart"





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    Joyce Gerber
    Annapolis MD
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  • 24.  RE: Children's books re: death - Suggestions requested!

    Posted 3 days ago
    So many great suggestions here! I recently discovered a new title, Where Are You? A Childs Book About Loss by Laura Olivieri.
    A very simple, yet straightforward story about questions and emotions children may have with the loss of a loved one. It can be adapted for so many situations because the text is so simple. Highly recommend.



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    Darlene Howell
    Napa County Office of Education
    Napa CA
    ------------------------------