Dealing with the death of a parent or a sibling can be a challenging feat for a child. For children coping with death, books can be useful tools for both the kids and parents. Learn from the experts how to communicate the finality of death to your child and teach yourselves healthy ways to process emotions. These five books can help children to understand death and manage grief.
Always and Forever by Alan Durant
This picture book is fantastic for young children who have lost a family member. In the story, Mole, Hare, and Otter are devastated by the death of their dear friend, Fox. When Squirrel comes to visit, though, she shares stories with Fox’s friends and family about all of the beautiful things Fox used to do. The reminiscing helps Mole, Hare, and Otter remember that Fox will always be with them in their hearts.
Bird by Zetta Elliot
This story about a boy coping with the death of his grandfather is more suitable for older children or teenagers rather than toddlers, who would like Always and Forever mentioned above. Bird follows the death of Mekhai’s grandfather. Mekhai, or “Bird,” turns to art to deal with death in addition to an ongoing struggle regarding his living brother’s drug addiction. Suitable for families with traumatic issues.
The Next Place by Warren Hanson
Written for children and appropriate for all ages, Hanson’s The Next Place is a story about how those who experience death no longer have to deal with earthly pain. This inspirational story can help children to understand the concepts of timelessness and eternity.
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
This heartwarming story tells the tale of a mother and her two twin daughters, all of whom are connected by an “invisible string.” When thinking about a loved one, a tug on their invisible string is felt. The story is fabulous for demonstrating that even when death occurs, an intangible connection still exists between a child and his or her loved one.
Her Mother’s Face by Roddy Doyles
Her Mother’s Face is a tale that is more appropriate for older children. In the book, a young girl experiences the death of her mother. The girl’s father, too sad and unwilling to speak of it, never talks to the young girl about her mother again. As such, the girl begins to forget her mother, eventually to the point where she can’t remember her face. It is not until another woman encourages the girl to look in the mirror to find her mother’s face that the girl begins to understand that often, those who have died are held within us.
More Resources for Helping a Child Cope with Death
Coping with death can be an overwhelming thing for anyone to do, especially a child. Refer to our wrongful death blog for more tips on dealing with an unexpected death in the family. We also offer blogs on helping grieving children cope with the death of a sibling or even more on coping with the passing of a parent.