This article looks at a number of excellent books that have found a way to deal with the topic without being too dark. As the author says, “Death and bereavement are difficult facts for parents to teach small children, made harder still if they are grieving themselves. But many authors have found elegant ways to start the process.”
It is inevitable that a large percentage of toddlers and pre-schoolers will be faced with loss such as the loss of a pet, a grandparent or even a parent. This is the time when a well chosen book can speak volumes.
Books the author reviews include Is Daddy Coming Back In A Minute? and What happened to Daddy’s body? both by Elke Becker in which Becker uses her son’s own words to ask and answer questions about death and deal with the reality of burial cremation.
Russell Williams recommends Rebecca Cobb’s Missing Mummy, for the youngest children, and, Holly Webb’s A Tiger Tale, for slightly older readers both of which focus on children’s fears, curiosity and feelings of being cut adrift.
The German book Duck, Death and the Tulip, by Wolf Erlbruch in which Duck becomes aware that the rather lonely and friendless figure of Death is following her is also reviewed. In this book Duck begins talking to Death about the afterlife and what will happen to her after she dies. When she does die he tends to her body, placing it gently in the river which carries it away.
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For more information on using children’s books to help with grief you may also be interested in this website.