Friday, August 22, 2014

Bereavement Books

Caroline recently posted an article(Link Here) about talking to kids about death. I’ve compiled a list of books I believe are beneficial for helping children cope with the loss of a loved one. Here are a few of my favorites:  

1. When Dinosaurs Die
 I love this book because it goes through all the different ways that people can die, from age and accidents, to drugs and war. This book can be read in it's entirety or just a few pages as needed. I also love that it has an easy to explain glossary in the back of the book. It has guidance for parents and answers to their questions. This book doesn't dwell on emotions but is written in such a way that children can relate. 

2. The Next Place
This book is beautiful and amazing. It is great for all ages. I recommend it for children, parents and adults. It works great for people who are dying because of an illness, using comforting text such as, "it is a place without pain, worry, or sorrow." This book is not religious and can be adapted to whatever a family believes will happen after death. Another great feature is the blank page at the beginning that is great for placing a hand print of the person that died. 

  3. The Invisible String
 We are all connected by "an invisible string."
I love this book not only for bereavement but for divorce, moving, deployment, or general loneliness. I used this book to open up conversations, where children discussed all the invisible strings that connect each of them to those they love. This book also allows for ideas for therapeutic play, such as a decorated heart with an elastic string on it that a sibling can hang in their room and pull when they are missing brother or sister, or a bracelet made with heart and other beads that everyone in the family can have and be connected with.  

4. Badger's Parting Gifts
This books was actually given to me as a child when my grandmother died. I remember reading it with my younger cousin. So of course I must add it to this list. This book really helps children open up and encourages them to share their memories of their loved one.

5. The Marge Heegaard Books
These are my favorite for preteens, and teens. All of her books work like coloring books with a purpose. She has books like When Something Terrible Happens, which can relate to just about anything; When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness, which works great in the hospital setting and great for siblings; and When Someone Very Special Dies that deals with coping and grief. Her books allow for therapeutic conversation, and expression through art.
Lastly, a book about losing a pet
6. Jim's Dog Muffins

This book gets straight to the point, and is very blunt. The first sentence is "Jim's dog got killed by the garbage truck! It was all squashed." It's not appropriate for every child but I love that it uses language that children would use, and it also allows for children to understand that being sad or mad is okay. It helps children understand the sadness that comes with loss and, most importantly, that recovery comes with time. 

What about you? Have you utilized any of these books? Are there other books you might recommend? 

**Links to all books on Amazon by clicking each picture**