Coping with death
Badger's Parting Gifts, by Susan
Varley. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1984. 32 pages. Available in Spanish.
1985 Mother Goose Award winner; 1986 Kentucky Bluegrass Award winner.
Badger is well-loved and wise but so old that his time to die is coming
soon. His death is told in a gentle way as a marvelous passage through
a long tunnel. His grieving friends find comfort in talking about him and
the things he taught each of them. A well-written story that is also useful
for discussion about the death of a family member.
Goodbye Mousie, by Robie H. Harris,
illustrated by Jan Ormerod. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2001. 32 pages.
Available in Spanish. Young children frequently connect death with going
to sleep. This book helps by making it very clear that "dead is very different
from sleeping." Mousie's young owner at first is angry at Mousie for dying.
Then, in a realistic progression, he is sad that Mousie is dead. As he
joins in plans to bury Mousie he begins to come to terms with the loss
and to understand what death means. An excellent book, especially for young
children to talk about death.
Molly's Rosebush, by Janice Cohn,
illustrated by Gail Owens. Albert Whitman & Company, Illinois. 1994.
32 pages, including introduction by author and advice for handling subject
matter. Out of print but available in libraries and used bookstores.
Molly, a young girl, thinks about the special significance of the rosebush
at her house. Several months ago her parents told her about her mother's
miscarriage and that the new baby would not be born. Molly had lots of
questions that her parents answered honestly. Then Molly spent time with
her grandmother who shares her sadness. Together they decided to buy a
rosebush for her mother that they would plant in the spring. It is this
rosebush that Molly now looks at, which reminds her both of the loss and
the possibility of better times ahead. A gentle, problem-solving book that
offers good explanations.
Stacy Had a Little Sister, by
Wendie C. Old, illustrated by Judith Friedman. Albert Whitman &
Company, 1995. 32 pages, including advice for parents. Stacy's baby
sister Ashley dies unexpectedly from Sudden Infant Death syndrome (SIDS).
Stacy is concerned that her own angry feelings toward the new baby might
have been responsible. She also wonders whether she could die from SIDS.
This is a story explicitly designed to help a child with the death of a
sibling from SIDS. It performs that job well by portraying all of the fears
and concerns that a young child might have after a death in the family.
The Bereaved Parent by Schiff
(available at Amazon).
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf,
by Leo Buscaglia. Henry Holt & Company, 2002 (reprint edition).
30 pages. The classic story that looks at death as part of the change
of seasons and the natural order of things.
When Dinosaurs Die, by Laurie
Krasny & Marc Brown, although some folks feel that it's for an
audience a bit older than the boys you mentioned.
Back to: Top | Reading
| Last Updated: October 27, 2004 | Copyright ©
1999- by Nancy J. Keane
Permission is granted for the noncommercial duplication
and use of this resource, provided it is substantially unchanged from its
present form and appropriate credit is given.