Reading List

Reading Girl WEBSuggested reading lists for children and young people to help them cope with bereavement.

Books for children under 5, books for children 5 to 9 years, and books for older children.

All titles are available from most reputable bookshops.

BOOKS FOR CHILDREN UNDER 5

It’s Ok to be Sad, by Nicolas Alberry, Gill Elliot & Joseph Elliot

An activity book to help children in the 4 – 9 age range, to manage loss, grief or bereavement using stories about 20 different life events. Children are encouraged through creativity, to explore the range of their feelings, express those feelings, encourage empathy towards others and learn through the demonstration that loss is a common experience for all of us. Usable in a one- to-one or group situation, and comes with a CD to encourage creativity of usage for the supporter.

ISBN: 978-1412918251

Muddles Puddles and Sunshine, by Dianna Crossly

An activity book with lots of ideas you can utilise with clients under 11. This book provides the young person with the opportunity to anchor images and memories of the person who has died in a way that is creative and expressive. It includes activities that can also be done separately.

ISBN: 978-1903458969

I Miss You: A first look at Death, by Pat Thomas & Illustrated by Lesley Harker

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 best to use the book. This is an excellent educational book, which could be used as a starting point for discussion.

ISBN: 978-0764117640

Heaven, by Nicholas Allan

Dill, the dog, knows his time is up, so he packs his case and tells Lily, his owner, that he’s off ‘up there’. “Can I come too?” asks Lily. “ER… not yet,” replies Dill. While he is waiting for the angels to collect him, Dill explains to Lily what he thinks heaven is like: hundreds of lamp posts to pee against, lots of whiffy things to smell and bones everywhere – with meat on them! But Lily completely disagrees; she thinks heaven is quite different. Luckily they agree to disagree just in time for a fond and very poignant, last goodbye.

ISBN: 978-0099488149

Dear Grandma Bunny, by Dick Bruna

An introduction into some of the feelings that are experienced through the death of a grandparent. Suitable for very young children, this book tells the story about Miffy, the small rabbit, and how Miffy felt and coped when Grandma Bunny died.

ISBN: 978-1405219013

When Uncle Bob Died, by Althea ISBN: 978-1903285084

A young boy talks about death and 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.

Where Did Grandad Go? by Catherine House & Honor Ayres

This beautifully illustrated book takes young children through questions about life and death and the special place God has for those who love him when they die.

ISBN: 978-1841015026

Grandad’s Ashes, by Walter Smith

When Grandad died, eighty-three people went to the funeral. A lot of them cried. Jessica, Colin, Sasha and Tom thought of the good times they’d had with their Grandad. They knew they would miss him a lot. “He had always wanted to be cremated,” said Grandma, “and his last wish was to have his ashes scattered in his favourite place…”

This beautifully illustrated full-colour picture book, tells the story of four children who embark on an adventure to find their Grandad’s favourite place – but they are faced with plenty of challenges on the way.

ISBN: 978-1843105176

BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AGED 5 – 9 YEARS

Saying Goodbye to Hare, by Carol Lee

This is an uplifting story written for children aged 5 – 9 years about death and dying. Full of honesty and warmth. Young Rabbit witness the life, illness and death of his dear friend Hare. The story explores some of the feelings and questions children have at this time. The story is sensitively written to give a positive, thoughtful message about death and dying. The book includes guidance notes for the adult supporting the child.

ISBN: 978-1857411386

Death: What’s happening? by Karen Bryant-Mole

This factual book has clear text and large photos. It uses stories of young people to discuss issues surrounding death, such as feeling frightened, the funeral and the future. It includes advice on how to feel better and cope with difficult situations after someone has died. Using straightforward language, this book may reassure the reader that there are other young people who have had someone important to them die and answer some of their questions and concerns.

ISBN: 978-0750213790

Milly’s Bug Nut, by Jill Janey

A short, simple story 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 times goes by. Milly misses her dad and things are just not the same anymore. She knows when people die they can’t come back but she still keeps a wish to see her dad one more time.

ISBN: 978-0953912346

What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies? by Trevor Romain

This book for older children is a factual guide, answering questions, such as ‘Why do people have to die?’ ‘Is it OK to cry?’ and ‘What is a funeral/memorial service?’ It is written in a straightforward way, with practical tips, advice and information about different faiths and beliefs.

ISBN: 978-1575420554

Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining death to children, by Doris Stickney

This pocket sized booklet is based on a fable, associating death with a water bug’s transformation into a dragonfly. It portrays the mystery around death, but it 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.

ISBN: 978-0826464583

Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between, by Bryan Mellonie & Robert Ingpen

The thought provoking book has large pictures complemented with small sections of text. It clearly explains about life and death focusing on plants, animals and insects before moving on to people. It emphasises that death is part of the life cycle and is natural and normal wherever it occurs. A simple book with a powerful message.

ISBN: 978-1855617605

Beyond the Ridge, by Paul Goble

A beautiful story about death told through the beliefs of the Native American Indian. It tells the tale of a Grandmother who has died. Although she can still hear the voices of her loved ones she finds herself on a beautiful pathway which leads to her dead parents and friend. Her family lays her body out in a tree and brings food to symbolise the gift of the strength she will need for her journey to the spirit world. ‘Death, there is no death, only a change of worlds’

ISBN: 978-0689717314

BOOKS FOR OLDER CHILDREN

Vicky Angel, by Jacqueline Wilson

When Jade’s best friend, Vicky, is run over by a car and dies in hospital everyone at home and school starts treating her differently. ‘Vicky Angel’ then starts following Jade around, distracting her and getting her into trouble. This moving but amusing story illustrates how hard it is to carry on with everyday life after a tragic accident.

ISBN: 978-0440865896

The Charlie Barber Treatment, by Carole Lloyd

Simon’s mum died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage and he came home from school to find she had died. With his GCSE coursework piling up and having top help around the house, Simon finds it hard and doesn’t go our much with his friends. He then meets Charlie, who is visiting her grandma, and believes their meeting was fate. Simon starts to enjoy life again and to re-build relationships with his family and friends. A sensitive and realistic book that conveys some of the thoughts and emotions of a teenage boy.

ISBN: 978-0744554571

Double Act, by Jacqueline Wilson

Ruby and Garnet are 10 year old twins. They do everything together, especially since their mum died three years ago. When their dad finds a new partner and they move house, Ruby and Garnet find it hard and get into all sorts of trouble. Eventually, they settle down and learn to live with the changes. A lively and humorous book that deals sensitively with change.

ISBN: 978-0440867593

Straight Talk about Death for Teenagers, by Earl A. Grollman

How to cope with the death of someone you love. This book was written after the author spoke to thousands of teenagers and found they often felt forgotten after someone has died. Written in short, clear sentences that are easy to read, it covers feelings, different types of death and the future. This book gives the reader many options of what can happen, how they may feel, giving advice and reassuring readers that grief is normal.

ISBN: 978 – 0807025017