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Books to Help Grieving Kids and Their Families

Two southeast Michigan support programs offer a list of 25 titles designed for children to provide connection, help and hope during an incredibly difficult time

Books on death and the grieving process are plentiful. Here in southeast Michigan, two local support groups – Ele's Place, which has an Ann Arbor location, and SandCastles, with meeting places in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties – suggest and use many of them with grieving children and their families. Here, they share some of their favorite titles for little ones, big kids, tweens and teens in the following reading list.

Aarvy Aardvark Finds Hope

  • Author: Donna O'Toole
  • About: A story about a young aardvark's grief when his family is captured, and the hope and comfort he finds with friends.
  • Ages: 6-12

A Birthday Present for Daniel: A Child's Story of Loss

  • Author: Juliet Cassuto Rothman
  • About: A young girl whose brother has died describes how she feels and tells about some of the things her family does to help them accept his death.
  • Ages: 9-12

After the Funeral

  • Author: Jane Loretta Winsch
  • About: Addresses many different feelings and questions children have.
  • Ages: 3-10

Badger's Parting Gifts

  • Author: Susan Varley
  • About: After an old badger's death, each of his friends recalls a special memory.
  • Ages: Ages 4-12

Charlotte's Web

  • Author: E. B. White
  • About: The classic children's story of life and death.
  • Ages: 8-12

Coping with Death & Grief

  • Author: Marge Heegaard
  • About: Children tell their own stories.
  • Ages: 8-12

Death is Hard to Live With

  • Author: Janet Bode
  • About: A "survival guide" for teens – teens talk about how they cope with grief.
  • Ages: 12 and up

Facing Change: Falling Apart and Coming Together Again in the Teen Years

  • Author: Donna B. O'Toole
  • About: This informative book helps teens understand their losses and discover creative coping strategies to deal with them.
  • Ages: 13 and up

Flowers for the Ones You've Known

  • Authors: Enid Samuel Traisman and Janet Sieff
  • About: Unedited letters, drawings and poems from bereaved teens.
  • Ages: 12 and up

Gentle Willow: A Story for Children about Dying

  • Author: Joyce Mills
  • About: Intended for children facing a terminal illness or grieving the death of a loved one, this story offers the transformation of a butterfly as a metaphor for death. It emphasizes the healing power of love and memory.
  • Ages: 4-10

Good Answers to Tough Questions about Death

  • Author: Joy Berry
  • About: Answers questions children have.
  • Ages: 5-12

Everything You Need to Know About Grieving

  • Author: Karen Spies
  • About: Explores feelings and behavior of grief.
  • Ages: 8-14

How It Feels When a Parent Dies

  • Author: Jill Krementz
  • About: Eighteen children, from ages 7-17, speak openly of their experiences and feelings. As they speak, we see them in photos with their surviving parent and with other family members, in the midst of their everyday lives.
  • Ages: 7 and up

The Invisible String

  • Author: Patrice Karst
  • About: A very simple approach to overcoming the fear of loneliness or separation with an imaginative flair that children can easily identify with and remember.
  • Ages: 3 and up

Lifetimes

  • Authors: Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
  • About: Gentle explanation of the life cycle in nature.
  • Ages: 3-10

Love, Mark

  • Author: Mark Scrivani
  • About: Letters to grieving children about their feelings, questions and worries.
  • Ages: 6-12

Pablo Remembers

  • Author: George Ancona
  • About: Explains the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead.
  • Ages: 8-12

The Saddest Time

  • Author: Norma Simon
  • About: Three stories about different types of death (grandparent, child killed in an accident, uncle).
  • Ages: 5-12

Straight Talk about Death for Teenagers

  • Author: Earl Grollman
  • About: Easy-to-read, straightforward information about handling grief.
  • Ages: 12 and up

Tell Me, Papa

  • Author: Joy Johnson
  • About: Explains death and the meaning of the funeral.
  • Ages: 4-8

Teenagers Face to Face with Bereavement

  • Author: Karen Gravelle
  • About: Teens candidly discuss their experiences with the death of someone close.
  • Ages: 12 and up

Teenagers Talk About Grief

  • Author: June Cerza Kolf
  • About: Firsthand accounts from teenagers.
  • Ages: 12 and up

When Death Walks In

  • Author: Mark Scrivani
  • About: Talks to teens about how to deal with grief.
  • Ages: 12 and up

When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death

  • Authors: Marc Brown and Laurene Krasny
  • About: The authors explain in simple language the feelings people may have regarding the death of a loved one and the ways to honor the memory of someone who has died.
  • Ages: 3 and up

When a Friend Dies

  • Author: Marilyn Gootman
  • About: Validates a loss that is often unacknowledged.
  • Ages: 12 and up

Mar 30, 2013 11:44 am
 Posted by  laurijean

I was looking for some guidence for my 5 year old nephew who mom just passed. I wanted for make a basket with a grief book and a tree for him to plant.

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