Suggested reading list

Using stories and activities can be a really good way to explore issues with a child who has been bereaved. Here is a list of books, which have been found to be helpful when working with bereaved children, young people and their families.

All of the following books are available from Rosedale.

BOOKS FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 5

I Miss You: A First Look at Death              

By Pat Thomas & illustrated by Lesley Harker, 2001

Barron’s Educational Series, 

This bright and colourful picture book very simply talks about life and death. It briefly covers a range of issues such as why people die, how you may feel when someone dies and what happens afterwards. It includes questions for the reader to answer about their own experiences and a section at the back for adults on how to best use the book. An excellent educational book, which could be used as a starting point for discussion.

When Uncle Bob Died (Talking it Through)        

By Althea & illustrated by Lisa Kopper, 2001

Happy Cat Books Ltd, 

A young boy talks about death and about Uncle Bob who died from an illness. It clearly explains some basic facts such as what ‘dead’ means and what a funeral is. It also talks about feelings and memories. This small picture book would be a good starting point for very young children with lots of opportunity for further discussion.

Missing Mummy: A book about bereavement      

By Rebecca Cobb, 

Macmillan, 

Beautifully illustrated and with moments of wonderful warmth, this is a touching, honest and helpful book about losing a parent. “Missing Mummy” comes with guidance notes for using with children age 3 upwards.

Someone I know has died                      

By Trish Phillips

Only available from The Child Bereavement Charity or Rosedale Funeral Home

This activity book is designed to be used with very young children who need help to understand what being dead means, what we do and how we might feel when someone dies. Some pages are interactive in ways familiar to young children, making it very easy for a child to engage with.  To be used with an adult, guidance notes are included. 

The Lonely Tree                                        

By Nicholas Halliday

This beautiful and moving story follows the first year in the life of a lone evergreen tree growing in the heart of an ancient oak woodland.  The evergreen is befriended by the oldest oak who has lived for hundreds of years.  When winter arrives all the oak trees must go to sleep, but of course evergreens never sleep.  Finally, after a long, cold and lonely winter, spring brings both sadness and joy to the little tree.

BOOKS FOR AGE 5 TO 8 YEARS

Always and Forever                         

By Alan Durant & illustrated by Debi Gliori, 2003 (h’back)

Otter, Mole and Hare miss Fox when he falls ill and dies. They stay at home and don’t want to talk about him because it makes them sadder. Then Squirrel visits and reminds them of all the fun times they had together.  They all find a way to remember Fox and get on with their lives. Colourful, detailed pictures in this book emphasise the importance of holding on to memories.

Badger’s Parting Gifts                                

By Susan Varley, 1992

Picture Lions

Badger is old and knows he is going to die soon. When he does, the other animals think they will be sad forever, but they begin to talk about the memories they have of the things Badger taught them and learn to cope with his death.  A lovely picture book that emphasises the importance of remembering the person who has died.

When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death                                   

By Laurie Krasny & illustrated by Marc Brown, 1998            

Time Warner Trade Publishing

This factual picture book uses cartoon dinosaurs to illustrate the text and comment on what is said. It is a bright and colourful book that explains death in a simple and non-threatening way. It covers many issues including ‘why does someone die?’, ‘feelings about death’ and ‘saying goodbye’. It would be an excellent resource for anyone caring for young children.

I miss my sister                                            

By Sarah Courtauld & illustrated by Holly Surplice

Only available from The Child Bereavement Charity or Rosedale Funeral Home

A young girl’s sister has died and the impact on her and her family is sensitively illustrated with minimum text. Designed to be shared with an adult, it will help to start conversations, answer questions and allay any fears  The beautiful and expressive colour illustration help to guide the child through the different emotions they may encounter following the death of a sibling, as well as the different categories of grief over a period of time. 

Someone I know has died                                  

By Trish Phillips

Only available from The Child Bereavement Charity or Rosedale Funeral Home

This activity book is designed to be used with very young children who need help to understand what being dead means, what we do and how we might feel when someone dies. Some pages are interactive in ways familiar to young children, making it very easy for a child to engage with.  To be used with an adult, guidance notes are included.

Remembering                                                        

By Dianne Leutner, illustrated by Danial Postgate

A memory keepsake book for bereaved children for when someone special in their life has died.

Sad Book                                                                

By Michael Rosen

We all have sad stuff – maybe you have some right now as you read this.  What makes Michael Rosen most sad is thinking about his son Eddie, who died.  In this book he writes about his sadness, how it affects him and some of the things he does to try and cope with it.  This is a very personal story that speaks to everyone; whether or not you have known what it’s like to feel really, deeply sad, its truth will surely touch you.

BOOKS FOR AGE 9 TO 12 YEARS 

Milly’s Bug Nut                                 

By Jill Janey, 2002

Winston’s Wish

A short, simple story with black and white pictures, of a young girl who’s Dad has died.  It talks about the ups and downs of family life and how things slowly get easier as time goes. Milly misses her Dad and things are just not the same any more  She knows when people die, they can’t come back but she still keeps a wish to see her Dad one more time.

Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining death to children             

By Doris Stickney & illustrated by Gloria Stickney, 1983     

Continuum International Pub Group

This pocket size booklet with small black and white pictures is based on a fable, associating death with a water bug’s transformation into a dragonfly. It portrays the mystery around death but may need an adult to explain the analogy and help a child relate it to their own experience. It uses Christian beliefs with a focus on life after death and also contains advice for parents.

Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine                         

By Diana Crossley and Kate Sheppard

An activity book to help when someone has died, offering practical and sensitive support for bereaved children.  Beautifully illustrated it suggests a helpful series of activities and exercises accompanied by the friendly characters of bee and bear.

BOOKS FOR AGE 13 – 16 YEARS

Up on Cloud Nine                               

By Anne Fine, 2003

Corgi Children’s

Stol falls out of a top floor window and ends up unconscious in hospital with lots of broken bones and no-one knows whether it was attempted suicide or an accident. This book is written from the perspective of his best friend Ian whilst he is sitting by his bedside. He recalls all the fun times they have had together as well as acknowledging the slightly different way Stol sees the world. Ian captures the emotions of his own adoptive parents as well as Stol’s family and the hospital staff in an amusing yet moving way illustrating how Stol has had an inspirational effect on everyone. (Also available in audiocassette)

And When Did You Last See Your Father

By Blake Morrison, 2006

Granta Books

The book tells of how Dr Morrisons life slowly slips away during the last few weeks of his life. Interspersed with this are the authors recollections of his father, who whilst being a difficult man at times, always remained a loving husband and father. The author is at all times open and honest – sometimes brutally so – and lays open his feelings for all to share.
One of the strengths of the book is that whilst it is about the death of a loved one it never gets too mawkish or sentimental and remains at all times a good read.

Straight talk about death for teenagers.

By Earl A Grollman

Suggests ways to deal with grief and other emotions felt after the death of a loved one and to discover how to go on living.

FOR FAMILIES WHEN SOMEONE IS SERIOUSLY ILL

The Secret C                                    

By Julie A. Stokes & illustrated by Peter Bailey, 2000

Winston’s Wish

The Secret C attempts to answer some of the questions and worries a child may have about cancer, especially when it involves someone in the family. This reassuring book will help adults and children to talk about the difficult issues and feelings involved when someone is seriously ill and briefly talks about the possibility of death.

As Big As It Gets: Supporting a child when someone in their family is seriously ill

By Julie Stokes & Diana Crossley, 2001

Winston’s Wish

An information booklet to help families cope with the serious illness of a parent or child. It provides a range of ideas for parents or carers so that they feel more able to explain to their children what is happening, giving some suggestions to what parents might say to children and how to offer support.

FOR FAMILIES BEREAVED THROUGH SUICIDE

Beyond the Rough Rock: Supporting a child who has been bereaved through suicide

By Diana Crossley & Julie Stokes, 2001

Winston’s Wish

An information booklet offering practical advice for families where someone has died by suicide. It aims to give parents and professionals the confidence to involve children in discussions about the nature of death by suicide. It also includes activities for children to do with the family to stat making sense of what has happened.

SUPPORTING A CHILD BEREAVED THROUGH MURDER OR MANSLAUGHTER

Hope Beyond the Headlines:         

Winston’s Wish

This new booklet offers practical advice for families in the immediate days, weeks and months following a murder. It is written for both parents and professionals, giving them the confidence to involve children and young people in understanding and managing the particular difficulties and complexities that so often surround a death by murder or manslaughter.

The booklet includes child-friendly activities to do with children or as a family to help them to make sense of what has happened and to begin to express their grief.

FOR FAMILIES WHEN SOMEONE HAS DIED IN A ROAD CRASH

Someone has died in a road crash

By Mary Wiliams OBE and Caroline Chisholm

A much needed guide to help children deal with and understand their grief

Produced by BRAKE the road safety charity.  www.brake.org.uk

THE DEATH OF A NEW BABY

Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)      

Website: www.uk-sands.org,

SANDS provide support for parents and families whose baby is stillborn or dies soon after birth, including a range of leaflets and books for adults.

My book about our baby that died                         

By Lynda Weiss

A workbook for young children who have experienced the death of a baby brother or sister.

Caring

A little booklet entitled caring in which a mother whose baby died has written down useful advice about hospital procedures, choices available, possible feelings both physical and emotional and available sources of support.

Memories

A special keepsake booklet for recording special memories of your baby

Returning to work after the death of your baby or child.

Guidance leaflets for employees and employers published by the Child bereavement Charity.