Children: Books About Death and Dying
Note: This list is not
complete. There are many more children's books on this topic in circulation.
However, because there are so many, I have chosen to include only those which
I feel embody both topical relevance and at least average or above average
literary quality. I have reviewed all these books and can comfortably recommend
them, although some more than others. Books should ALWAYS be reviewed before
use by or with children and evaluated based upon individual needs (e.g. developmental
level, circumstances, etc.). Compiled by Chris Brown, MS, CCLS, Director,
Child Life & Education. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Updated:
- PS = appropriate for
preschool age children
- SA = appropriate for
school age children
- AD = appropriate for
- * = highly recommended
* Alexander, S. Nadia
the Willful. NY: Dragonfly Books, 1983. (SA) Upon the death of Nadia's
brother, her father, the sheik, decrees that no one shall mention his name.
For Nadia, not speaking about her brother means not remembering him. The headstrong
Nadia finds a way to keep memories of her brother alive, and helps her father
Aliki. The Two of
Them. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1979. (PS/SA) This story of a loving
relationship between grandfather and granddaughter is written in verse. Text
and illustrations tell of cherished memories following the grandfather's death.
Anderson, L.C. It's
O.K. to Cry. Chicago: Children's Press, 1979. (SA) A four year old boy
tries to tell his five year old brother that their favorite uncle is dead.
In the second part of the book there are questions and answers that relate
to the story and to the general topic of death.
Bernstein, J. and Gullo,
S. When People Die. New York: Dutton, 1977. (SA) Explains in simple
terms the reasons for death, theories on afterlife, rituals and burial practices
of various cultures, grief, and the naturalness of death in the chain of life.
Bernstein, J.E. Loss
and How to Cope With It. New York: Seabury Press, 1977. (AD) This book
focuses on the death of a loved one and with personal stories about the feelings
associated with such a profound loss. Chapters include What Happens When Someone
Dies, Your Feelings, You Can Handle Your Feelings, and Living with the Survivors.
Blume, J. Tiger Eyes.
Scarsdale, New York: Bradbury Press, 1981. (SA/AD) This fictionalized account
of a teenager whose father has just been killed provides a wonderful analysis
of normal feelings.
Borack, B. Someone
Small. New York: Harper & Row, 1969. (PS) A story about family life and
getting along with a little sister; about the death of a pet bird, and the
children's way of saying good-bye.
Breebaart, J. & Breebarrt,
P. When I Die, Will I Get Better? New York: Bedrick Books, 1993. (PS)
This story, as told by a five year old grieving the death of his younger brother,
tells of Fred Rabbit's illness, death and funeral. Over time, Fred's brother
is able to express his feelings and finally play happily with his friends
Brooks, M. Two Moons
in August. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1991. (AD) Kieran, a new
boy visiting her small town for the summer, helps Sidonie and her family come
together again following the death of Sidonie's mother.
Brown, K.B. & Brown,
M. When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death. Boston: Little,
Brown and Co., 1996. (PS/SA) Another in the popular dinosaur series from Laura
and Marc Brown, contents include "What does alive mean?," "Why does someone
die?," "What does dead mean?," "Feelings about death," "Saying good-bye,"
"Keeping customs," and "Ways to remember someone."
Brown, M.W. The Dead
Bird. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1965. (PS/SA) This classic tells the
story about a group of children who find a dead bird in the park and decide
to have a burial and funeral. Each day they return to the grave with flowers.
They continue "until they forget."
* Buscaglia, L. The
Fall of Freddie the Leaf. New Jersey: Charles Slack, 1982. (PS/SA) This
story tells how Freddie and his friends, all leaves, change with the seasons,
finally falling to the ground with winter's snow. Both children and adults
will respond to this sensitive treatment of the delicate balance between life
and death. The photographs are very effective.
Carrick, C. The Accident.
New York: Seabury, 1976. (SA) A boy witnesses the death of his pet dog who
is run over by a truck. He struggles with his own sense of responsibility
for what happened, becomes angry, and then withdraws until his father helps
him find a suitable gravestone.
Cazzola, G. The Bells
of Santa Lucia. New York: Philomel Books, 1991. (SA) Lucinda loves the
cow bells, school bells, church bells and sheep bells of her Italian village.
When her granny dies, no longer calling Lucinda with the hand bell she constantly
rang from her sickbed, Lucinda hates all bells. When Lucinda must ring the
giant "Grandmother Bell" in the village square to warn of fire, she feels
her granny has helped her to save the beloved lambs.
* Clifton, L. Everett
Anderson's Goodbye. New York: Holt, 1983. (PS) A simple, poetic story
of the death of a young Black boy's father.
Coerr, E. Sadako.
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1993. (SA) Based on Eleanor Coerr's previously
published Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, this retelling of Sadako's
story and message of peace are accompanied by the illustrations of Caldecott
medalist Ed Young.
Cohen, M. Jim's Dog
Muffin. New York: Dell Publishing, 1984. (PS) After his dog is killed,
Jim demonstrates anger and sadness. Friends rally to support Jim in this simple
story of the need to grieve.
Cohn, J. I Had a Friend
Named Peter (PS/SA) Simple, direct language and drawings tell the story
of a child's loss of a friend. A forward for parents accompanies the story.
Cosgrove, S. The Dream
Tree. Los Angeles: Price Stern Sloan, 1974. (PS/SA) A playful, sensitive
story of a caterpillar's transformation into a butterfly. Though this story
is one of change, not death, it can be used as an analogy or with children
who may not be ready for more concrete stories about death.
De Paola, T. Nana
Upstairs and Nana Downstairs. New York: Putnam, 1973. (PS/SA) A small
boy's loving rituals with his great grandmother are terminated suddenly by
her death. He experiences the emptiness and later accepts the fantasy that
she is "upstairs" with the stars.
Dobrin, A. Scat.
New York: Four Winds, 1971. (SA) Scat, an 8 year old black boy, and his family
live with his grandparents in the rural south. Scat loves to hear his father
play trumpet with a band and learns about jazz funerals when the plumber dies.
Later when his beloved grandmother dies, Scat says goodbye with music.
* Doleski, T. The
Hurt. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1983. (PS/SA) Justin's reaction to various
upsetting experiences results in a balloon-type "Hurt" growing bigger and
bigger. Finally, through sharing his feelings with his father and experiencing
reconciliation, Justin is able to let the Hurt go.
* Douglas, E. Rachel
and the Upside Down Heart. Los Angeles: Price Stern Sloan, 1990. (SA)
When Rachel is four years old, her daddy dies, changing her life forever.
At first, Rachel feels so sad it's as if her heart is upside down. This is
the true story of how Rachel rediscovers happiness while keeping the memory
of her father alive in her heart.
* Dragonwagon, C. Winter
Holding Spring. New York: Macmillan, 1990. (SA) Following the death of
her mother, Sarah and her father struggle through the first painful year.
At first separately, then together, they begin to remember Sarah's mother
with joy as well as grief.
Fassler, J. My Grandpa
Died Today. New York: Human Science Press, 1971. (PS/SA) A touching story
about the love shared by a young boy and his grandfather. Grandpa tells David
he is not afraid to die because he knows David is not afraid to live. When
Grandpa dies, David and the adults cry. In spite of his sadness, David goes
on playing and eventually learns why Grandpa had not been afraid to die.
* Fox, M. Tough Boris.
New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1994. (PS) Boris von der Borch is a tough
and fearless pirate. But when his parrot dies he cries and cries. This simple,
brightly illustrated book provides excellent reinforcement of the acceptability
of expressing feelings, especially for boys who learn at a very early age
that it's not OK to cry.
Gerstein, G. The Mountains
of Tibet: A Child's Journey through Living and Dying. Bristol, UK: 1987.
(SA) Based on Buddhist teachings this story tells of a woodcutter living in
the mountains of Tibet who upon his death is given the choice of going to
heaven or living again in whatever form and place he likes.
Goble, P. Beyond the
Ridge. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1989. (SA) At her death
an elderly Plains Indian woman experiences the afterlife believed in by her
people, beyond the ridge, to a more beautiful world.
Greene, C. Beat the
Turtle Drum. New York: Viking, 1976. (SA/AD) Joss, a girl in love with
horses, plans to rent a horse for her birthday. But her beautiful plan ends
in tragedy when she is killed in a fall. This tender book explores the death
of a family member and its impact on the other people in the family.
Greenfield, E. Nathaniel
Talking. New York: Black Butterfly Books, 1988. (PS/SA) Nine year old
Nathaniel tells of his experiences through rap/poetry. Two poems address the
death of his mother and his love for her.
Greenlee, S. When
Someone Dies. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1992. (PS/SA) A straightforward
discussion of the feelings surrounding the death of a loved one. Sensitive
expression of feelings is combined with suggestions for surviving the changes
and remembering the good times.
* Grollman, E. Straight
Talk About Death for Teenagers: How to Cope with Losing Someone You Love.
Boston: Beacon Press, 1993. (AD) This excellent book speaks directly to adolescents,
"the forgotten mourners," in a way that recognizes feelings, encourages discussion
and offers hope for the future.
* Grollman, E. Talking
About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child. Boston: Beacon, 1976.
(PS/SA) The first portion of the book presents a story about the death of
a grandfather in simple language that deals with guilt and commemoration.
The rest of the book is directed toward adults who help children understand
death and dying.
Hammond, J. When My
Mommy Died. Flint, Michigan: Cranbrook Publishing, 1980. (PS/SA) (See
Hammond. J. When My
Dad Died. Flint, MI: Cranbrook Publishing, 1981. (PS/SA) These simple
coloring book style publications tells of the experiences and feelings of
loss associated with the death of a parent from the perspective of a young
child. Activity pages encourage expression of feelings.
Heegaard, M.E. Coping
with Death and Grief. Minneapolis: Lerner, 1990. (SA/AD) A nonfictional
account of change, death, funerals and other traditions, personal and family
grieving. Examples of chapters include: Saying Goodbye is Difficult; Letting
Out Your Feelings; When a Family Member Dies; When Someone Else is Grieving;
Feeling Good About Yourself.
Hoopes, L.L. Nana.
New York: Harper & Row, 1981. (PS) After her grandmother's death, a little
girl finds many happy reminders of her as she wanders through house and garden.
Johnson, J. & M. Where's
Jess. Omaha, NE: Centering Corp., 1982. (PS) This very simple story helps
a child understand a brother/sister death and suggests useful coping techniques.
Joslin, M. The Goodbye
Boat. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books, 1998. (PS) Very simply written
analogy comparing death (in this case of a grandmother-type figure) to a boat
sailing away, providing in the illustrations and text a message of hope that
sadness will ease and that death is not the end ("Yet when the boat has gone
from view, it's surely sailing somewhere new.")
Kantrowitz, M. When
Violet Died. New York: Parents Magazine Press, 1973. (PS) When Amy and
Eva's bird dies, they bury it and invite the neighborhood children to the
funeral. Afterward, as they look at their cat who is about to have kittens,
they realize that nothing lasts forever; they can take comfort in knowing
that new life goes on.
* Krementz, J. How
It Feels When a Parent Dies. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983. (SA/AD)
Eighteen children - boys and girls, black and white, from 7 to 16 years old
- speak openly and honestly of their experiences and feelings when either
a mother or father has died. Photographs of the children compliment this very
effective and useful book.
* Lanton, S. Daddy's
Chair. Rockville, MD: Kar-Ben Copies, 1991. (PS/SA) Following his father's
death, Michael protects Daddy's chair "so he can sit in it when he comes back."
Excellent reinforcement is provided for preschool age children about what
dead means. The story also describes the Jewish observance of shiva. Eventually,
Michael begins to come to terms with his father's death and sits in Daddy's
chair whenever he wants to think about him.
* LeShan, E. Learning
to Say Good-By: When a Parent Dies. New York: Macmillan, 1976. (AD) Openly
discusses the questions, fears, and fantasies many children experience when
a parent or someone close to them dies.
* Le Tord, B. Grandma
Leonie. New York: Bradbury Press, 1987. (PS) A simple, delicately illustrated
book describing the loving relationship between a young child and her grandmother.
When Grandma Leonie goes to the hospital and doesn't come back, memories and
thoughts of "how much she loved me" comfort.
Levy, J. The Spirit
of Tío Fernando/El espíritu de tío Fernando. Morton Grove, IL:1995. (SA)
Written in both English and Spanish, this story tells of the history and traditions
of the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) celebrated throughout Mexico and
London, J. Gray Fox.
New York: Penguin Books, 1993. (PS/SA) Beautiful seasonal illustrations accompany
the story of gray fox - running, hunting, mating. After being struck by a
truck, gray fox is discovered and laid to rest by a young boy. A poetic story
of gray fox's proud spirit which lives on in his cubs and their cubs after
* London, J. Liplap's
Wish. San Fransisco: Chronicle Books, 1994. (PS/SA) Liplap sadly remembers
his grandmother as he builds the winter's first snowbunny. Liplap is comforted
by an old Rabbit's tale his mother tells of how, long ago, when the First
Rabbits died, they became stars in the sky. And to this day, they come out
at night and watch over us, reminding us that our loved ones shine forever
in our hearts.
Madenski, M. Some
of the Pieces. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1991. (SA) This is the story
of a family rebuilding itself after the death of their father/husband. Through
talking about feelings and happy memories, and completing the spreading of
his ashes in favorite places, the family's pain gradually lessens until their
thoughts of him bring smiles.
Mann, P. There Are
Two Kinds of Terrible. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977. (SA/AD) When
Robbie breaks his arm, that's terrible. But he learns that there is another
kind of terrible when his mother dies of cancer. An intensely accurate reflection
of feelings, this book explores how difficult it is for remaining family members
to reestablish their relationships with one another after a death.
Maple, M. On the Wings
of a Butterfly: A Story About Life and Death. Seattle: Parenting Press,
1992. (SA) Lisa, a young girl with cancer, adopts a caterpillar named Sonya.
Lisa's illness and hospitalization are depicted, with her death coinciding
with Sonya's new life as a butterfly. This touching story is very spiritual
and is likely to be too abstract for young readers.
Marsoli, L.A. Things
to Know About Death and Dying. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett, 1985. (SA/AD)
A nonfictional look at the many aspects of death, such as the physiology of
death, suicide, hospice care, funerals, mourning practices, wars, television
portrayal of death, and obituaries.
* Mellonie, B. and Ingpen,
R. Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children. Sydney:
Bantam, 1983. (PS/SA) A simple, well illustrated book describing that there
is a beginning and an ending for every living thing - insects, birds, plants,
Miles, M. Annie and
the Old One. Boston: Atlantic-Little Brown, 1971. (PS/SA) Annie, a Navajo
Indian girl, tries to prevent her grandmother's death by undoing the rug she
is weaving. Grandmother helps her understand dying in the context of universal
rhythms. An excellent teacher-child relationship is described.
Miller, W. Zora Hurston
and the Chinaberry Tree. New York: Lee & Low Books, 1994. (SA) From the
top of the chinaberry tree, Zora dreams of one day seeing the cities beyond
the horizon. Her mother encourages her free spirit and dreams and passes on
the rich oral tradition of her African American community. When her mother
dies, Zora realizes the importance of her promise to remember the stories
and her dreams.
* Mills, J. Gentle
Willow. New York: Magination Press, 1993. (PS/SA) This tender story brings
back the characters from Little Tree (1992) to face the illness and eventual
death of Gentle Willow. Amanda the squirrel and the tree wizards address feelings
of disbelief, anger and sadness along with love, compassion and care-giving.
The story provides children, and those reading the story with them, a "transformational"
way of viewing death and dying.
Mills, L. The Rag
Coat. Boston, Toronto, London: Little, Brown and Company, 1991. (SA) Minna
proudly wears her new coat made of clothing scraps, including her dead papa's
work clothes. At school the other children laugh at her coat until she tells
them the stories behind the scraps.
Mundy, M. Sad Isn't
Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing with Loss. St. Meinrad, IN:
Abbey Press, 1998. (older PS to SA) Written in one page chapters rather than
in storybook style, this book gives helpful advice on such topics as "It's
Okay to Cry", "It's Okay to Ask Questions", "It's good to share your feelings",
"You Might Feel All Mixed Up", "It's Good to Remember" and more.
* Ness, E. Sam Bangs
and Moonshine. New York: Holt, 1966. (PS/SA) Samantha, called Sam, is
a fisherman's daughter who envelops herself in a world of fantasy in which
her dead mother is a mermaid living in a cave. Her father helps Sam to confront
reality and distinguish it from her fantasy world.
Old. W. Stacy Had
a Little Sister. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Co., 1995. (PS/SA)
Uncomplicated story of a family (Stacy, mother and father) experiencing the
death of their new baby by SIDS.
Orgel, D. The Mulberry
Music. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. (SA/AD) A tender account of a young
girl's first experience with death - the death of a beloved grandmother. The
reality of the characters, the swift, suspenseful pace, the unusual resolution,
all create an uncommonly moving story. The honest facing of grief helps the
reader as well as the girl to accept the inevitable.
Parkinson, C.S. My
Mommy Has Cancer. Rochester, NY: Park Press, 1991. (SA) While Eric's mother
is hospitalized with cancer, his father explains the disease, including that
"sometimes people die from cancer.....but everyone hopes that the medicine
will destroy the cancer cells and make them go away." Feelings of sadness
and fear are shared, as well as the permission to be happy and enjoy a favorite
holiday. The story is open-ended, without indicating whether his mother gets
well or dies, making this a good story to help children discuss a parent's
* Paterson, K. Bridge
to Terabithia. New York: Crowell, 1977. (SA/AD) Leslie and Jess are from
different backgrounds but they form a close friendship and create an imaginary,
secret kingdom. The girl's tragic accidental death marks the end of childhood
for Jess, but their shared experiences help him bear the loss.
Polikoff, B.G. Life's
a Funny Proposition, Horatio. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992.
(SA/AD) As Horatio tries to adjust to the death of his father from lung cancer,
O.P., Horatio's grandfather, mourns the loss of his dog, Mollie.
Powell, S. Geranium
Morning. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda, 1990. (SA) Two friends who lose parents,
one suddenly in a car accident and one by illness, learn to share and deal
with their grief.
* Richter, E. Losing
Someone You Love: When a Brother or Sister Dies. New York: Putnam, 1986.
(SA/AD) In this book, sixteen young people, ranging in age from ten to twenty-four,
who have lost a sister or a brother talk openly about their feelings - their
sorrow, fear, loneliness and anger - and their difficulties both at home and
at school. The book can be read as a whole or in pieces most useful to a particular
Rofes, E. The Kids'
Book About Death and Dying: By and For Kids. Boston, Toronto: Little,
Brown & Company, 1985. (AD) Through group experiences and creative writing
students of the Fayerweather Street School examined their earliest experiences
with death, their thoughts on American death rituals, their fears and fantasies.
Useful reading for teachers and adults.
Rogers, F. So Much
to Think About: When Someone You Care About Has Died. Pittsburgh: Family
Communications, 1991. (PS/SA) Brief text and activities (such as memory pages
and a feelings puppet) make up this simple booklet.
* Rogers, F. When
a Pet Dies. New York: Putnam, 1988. (PS) A Mister Rogers' first experience
book. Explores the feelings of frustration, sadness, and loneliness that a
youngster may feel when a pet dies. Realistic experiences of real, culturally
diverse families, are illustrated by color photographs.
Ross, K. and Ross, A.
Cemetery Quilt. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1995. (SA) When Josie
travels to her grandmother's house to attend her grandfather's funeral, she
learns of a family tradition, the cemetary quilt. And she learns to commemorate
her grandfather's life, as well as those of other deceased relatives.
Sanford, D. It Must
Hurt A Lot: A Child's Book About Death. Portland OR: Multnomah Press,
1986. (PS/SA) Describes a boy's reactions of anger, grief, and eventual acceptance
when his dog dies. Includes suggestions to parents for helping a child deal
Shriver, M. What's
Heaven? New York: Golden Books, 1999. (older PS to SA) When Kate's Great-grandma
dies her mother lovingly answers all her questions about death, funerals and
heaven. Explanations are spiritual in nature, explaining that "heaven is not
a place you can see, it's somewhere you believe in" and that "you go to heaven
when your life here on earth is over."
* Simon, N. The Saddest
Time. Niles, IL: Albert Whitman and Company, 1986. (PS/SA) Three separate
stories depict children's experiences with the death of an uncle, an eight
year old friend, and a grandmother.
Slote, A. Hang Tough,
Paul Mather. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1973. (SA/AD) This is the
sensitive story of Paul, a twelve year old boy struggling to cope with, and
combat, leukemia. Paul's feelings and perceptions concerning his own incurable
illness are vividly portrayed. Fear of death, anger about being sick, dislike
of the treatment and its side effects are some of the emotions Paul shares
with an understanding doctor. The family, too, is realistically portrayed.
Although this story does not include an actual death, it does deal with feeling
aroused by the threat of death.
Smith, D.B. A Taste
of Blackberries. New York: Crowell, 1973. (SA) A little boy feels lonely
and guilty when his friend, Jamie, is stung by a bee and dies of an allergic
reaction. The boy describes his feelings at the funeral parlor, the funeral
itself, and his eventual success in accepting Jamie's death. After the funeral,
he offers to be a substitute son to Jamie's mother. Realistic but not too
Spies, K. Everything
You Need to Know About Grieving. New York: Rosen, 1990. (AD) Personal
anecdotes of various teens illustrate the ways people grieve, sharing of feelings,
and recovering from grief.
* Stein, S.B. About
Dying: An Open Book for Parents and Children Together. New York: Walker,
1974. (PS/SA) This book has separate texts for the adult and the child. The
death of a pet bird and a grandfather are depicted, including a brother's
and sister's participation in both funerals. The mother supportively deals
with the children's questions and needs. The story explains that remembering
helps us to deal with our feelings. Excellent multiracial photographs of children
involved in living out the story.
Stevens, M. When Grandpa
Died. Chicago: Children's Press, 1979. (PS/SA) When Grandpa dies, the
little girl feels hurt and angry. With her parents' help, however, she learns
to accept the death and later shares her memories with her sister.
Stull, E. My Turtle
Died Today. New York: Holt, 1964. (PS) The birth of kittens helps to lessen
the grief of a pet turtle's death in this beautifully illustrated book for
Temes, R. The Empty
Place: A Child's Guide Through Grief. Far Hills, NJ: Small Horizons, 1992.
(PS/SA) Feelings and misconceptions are clearly expressed by a brother following
the death of his big sister. His babysitter, who has experienced the death
of a brother, helps him to understand that his feelings are normal and suggests
ways to help with the pain.
Thomas, J.R. Saying
Good-bye to Grandma. New York: Clarion/Ticknor & Fields, 1988. (SA) When
seven-year-old Suzie's grandmother dies she goes back with her parents to
the small town where Mother grew up to attend Grandma's funeral. This is a
sensitive exploration of grief as well as a loving picture of a family drawn
together. Marcia Sewell's pastel illustrations capture both the sorrow and
joy of the text.
Thurman, C. A Time
for Remembering. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989. (PS/SA) A helpful story
of communication between grandfather and grandson before death and encouragement
of commemoration and expression of feelings following the death.
Tiffault, B.W. A Quilt
for Elizabeth. Omaha: Centering Corporation, 1992. (SA) This story tells
of a young girl who experiences many different feelings after her father dies.
With the loving guidance of her grandmother, Elizabeth assembles a patchwork
quilt made of fabrics from her family's old clothes and belongings. As Elizabeth
realizes she has many simple yet vibrant memories of her father, she gains
a greater sense of herself and of her father's spiritual presence in her life.
Tobias, T. Petey.
New York: Putnam's, 1978. (SA) Emily's pet gerbil suddenly gets sick and dies.
Emily presents her feelings of sadness, anger, and love as she deals with
her loss and grief.
Tresselt, A. The Dead
Tree. New York: Parent's Magazine Press, 1972. (PS/SA) This book tells
the story of the life cycle of an oak tree, poetically and through illustration.
Death is portrayed as a natural and necessary part of the life cycle. It is
both informative and hopeful.
Turner. B. A Little
Bit of Rob. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Co., 1996. (PS/SA) A young
girl goes out crabbing with her parents a month after the death of her brother,
Rob. The family spends time crying and laughing, remembering Rob.
* Varley, S. Badger's
Parting Gifts. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1984. (SA) Following
Badger's peaceful death, his friends recall their special memories of how
he taught each of them something special - Badger's parting gifts.
* Vigna, J. Saying
Goodbye to Daddy. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman and Company, 1991.
(PS/SA) Frightened, lonely, and angry after her father is killed in a car
accident, Clare is helped through the grieving process by her mother and grandfather.
* Viorst, J. The Tenth
Good Thing About Barney. New York: Atheneum, 1971. (PS/SA) When Barney,
a pet cat, dies his master decides to have a funeral for him. The little boy
tries to think of ten good things to say about Barney but can only think of
nine. Finally his father helps him with a tenth. The book is gentle and positive.
* White, E.B. Charlotte's
Web. New York: Harper & Row, 1952. (SA) Charlotte, the spider, and Wilbur,
the pig, become loving friends. When Charlotte dies, Wilbur holds her memory
close and takes care of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
The story describes the sadness and sorrow experienced by loving friends and
how memories are kept alive.
White Deer of Autumn.
The Great Change. Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Pub., 1992. (SA) In this
Native American Indian tale, a wise grandmother explains the meaning of death,
or the Great Change, to her questioning grandchild. Using the analogy of a
caterpillar's change into a butterfly, Grandmother explains that within the
"Circle of Life," there is no "death" - only the Great Change.
* Wilhelm, H. I'll
Always Love You. New York: Crown, 1985. (PS) This warmly illustrated picture
book sensitively portrays the close relationship between a boy and his dog.
As the years go by and the young narrator grows taller, his beloved companion,
Elfie, grows rounder and slower. And then, one night, Elfie dies in her sleep.
Grief-stricken, the boy takes comfort in the fact that every night he told
Elfie, "I'll always love you."
* Wright, B.R. The
Cat Next Door. New York: Holiday House, 1991. (SA) After Grandma dies
the annual visit to her summer cabin is not the same, but a visit from the
cat next door reminds of how things used to be and comforts a grieving grandchild.
Yolen, J. Grandad
Bill's Song. New York: Philomel Books, 1994. (SA) While trying to understand
and express his own emotions about his grandfather's death, Jon asks his family
members, "What did you do the day Grandad died?" Memories of Grandad come
alive in poem, comforting Jon in his desire to talk to the one person who
would understand his feelings.
Zolotow, C. My Grandson
Lew. New York: Harper & Row, 1974. (PS/SA) Six year old Lewis remembers
many special things about Grandpa who died four years earlier. Since Lewis
never asked, Mother never told him of Grandpa's death. Both share their loving
memories and find this less lonely than remembering him alone.
Many, many thanks to
Chris for sharing this list. What a lovely job she's done. There is something
wonderful and even magical about people who work in Child Life. Thanks to
all of you. God Bless all of you.