Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Books about grief and loss

Lately several children have shared with me the death of a beloved family member and I have also been searching for appropriate titles to share with teachers and parents who have requested books on this topic.

Sometimes nonfiction titles are most suitable, especially when young people have factual questions, but at other times, fiction can speak to the tumult of conflicting emotions felt by a grieving person.

Today I'd like to share a few reading lists as well as a handful of my own favorite books on this difficult and sensitive subject.

Reading lists

40 Books about Grief and Loss - mostly fiction, organized by type of loss and age level (preschool-teen)
Books for Teens on Grief and Loss - annotated nonfiction reading list
Children's Books about Grief - annotated reading list organized by age (preschool-teen)
Children's Books on Death-Related Issues - annotated reading list for younger readers
Death & Dying - annotated fiction list for the kindergarten-tween years
Pet Loss and Bereavement: Books Especially for or about Children - a selection of fiction and nonfiction titles
Top 10 Children's Picture Books about the Death of a Pet - annotated list of fiction books with age recommendations (preschool to tween)

My recommendations

Before I Die by Jenny Downham - A gripping and compelling novel for high school students and adults about a girl facing her own mortality.

Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles - Southern warmth and humor infuse this chapter book for upper elementary and middle school students.

Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee - This middle grade novel deftly and honestly explores a young boy's confusing swirl of emotions after his beloved grandfather dies.

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola - Based on the author's childhood memories, this is a beautiful picture book that speaks to the reader in a simple and heartfelt way.

Michael Rosen's Sad Book by Michael Rosen - The talented poet and former British Children's Laureate shares his experience of grief following the loss of his son in a picture book that can be appreciated by people of all ages.


Anonymous said...

'The Heart & The Bottle' is another great story that approaches loss and bereavement really well for both adults and children.

It has recently been made into an interactive storybook App for iPad too. http://bit.ly/gqw2DA

Laura Simeon said...

Oh yes, that's a wonderful book - thanks for mentioning it! I'll have to look for the iPad version. It sounds lovely.