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Bereavement

Written by · Published Jun 5, 2018

To reserve any of the following books for parents/carers and children dealing with bereavement to your local library, click on the links to reserve them from our online catalogue, visit any of our libraries, or contact us on 01473 351249 or help@suffolklibraries.co.uk

You can sign up for a library card online for free. You can sign your child up for a library card at any age.

Pencil Dog, by Leigh Hodgkinson

“This is a beautifully told, poignant story about memory, remembrance, and how those we love live on in us. The thought-provoking story centres on a little girl who has a pencil dog as a companion. Pencil Dog is imaginative, creative, and always able to turn a rainy day into a time of sunshine. But as time goes on, Pencil Dog gradually grows smaller and smaller, and his drawings become confused.”

Grandad’s Island, by Benji Davies

“At the bottom of Syd’s garden, through the gate and past the tree, is Grandad’s house. Syd can let himself in any time he likes. But one day when Syd comes to call, Grandad isn’t in any of the usual places. He’s in the attic, where he ushers Syd through a door, and the two of them journey to a wild, beautiful island awash in colour where Grandad decides he will remain. So Syd hugs Grandad one last time and sets sail for home. Visiting Grandad’s house at the bottom of the garden again, he finds it just the same as it’s always been - except that Grandad isn’t there anymore.

“Sure to provide comfort to young children struggling to understand loss, Benji Davies’s tale is a sensitive and beautiful reminder that our loved ones live on in our memories long after they’re gone.”

The Ocean Meets the Sky, by Eric & Terry Fan

“Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float.

“Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honour him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself! And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.”

Dear Grandma Bunny, by Dick Bruna

“Miffy says goodbye to someone very special in this moving addition to the collectible, classic ‘Miffy’ series. Miffy and her family are really sad. Grandma Bunny has died and it’s time for them to say goodbye and thank Grandma Bunny for everything she did for them. Sensitively translated by award-winning poet Tony Mitton, this touching Miffy story celebrates the life and loss of loved ones.”

Cloud Forest, by Victoria Turnbull

“A child’s Umpa teaches them to read and to follow the words, out the garden gate and all the way to the sea. Every day is a new adventure. They visit castles in the air, feast with friends and sail away on the rains. But then one day, Umpa isn’t there.

“This incredibly moving tale from acclaimed author-illustrator Victoria Turnbull speaks of the power of books to bring people together, and to help us remember loved ones when they’re no longer with us.”

Waiting for Wolf, by Sandra Dieckmann

“Fox and Wolf spend all their perfect days together - talking and laughing for hours, swimming together in the big blue lake, and watching the stars come out, one by one. Until one day, Wolf is gone. This is a moving tale of friendship and loss and learning to carry on.”

The Immortal Jellyfish, by Sang Miao

“When a young boy’s grandfather dies suddenly, he feels overwhelmed and confused. They will never see each other again. To his delight, they meet again in a dream, where his grandfather takes him to Transfer City, where our departed loved ones live on through our memories.

“In this modern, Eastern telling of the afterlife, death is not an ending, but a new start to life, just like the Immortal Jellyfish which is constantly maturing and then regressing, staying as present as our deceased loved ones do in our memories.”

The Rabbit Listened, by Cori Doerrfeld

“When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs.

“Whether read in the wake of tragedy or as a primer for comforting others, this is a deeply moving and unforgettable story sure to soothe heartache of all sizes.”

Let’s Talk About When Someone Dies, by Molly Potter

“When someone dies, we can feel a whole host of different emotions and explaining them to a child isn’t so easy. This book uses clear, easy-to-understand language to answer complex questions about death and how a child might feel when someone dies. It covers all manner of tricky subjects with sensitivity and honesty, from what death is to why people die. Each double page spread takes a child through how they might feel, what they might think and how they might behave.”

Mum’s Jumper, by Jayde Perkin

“If Mum has gone, how do you carry on? Missing her feels like a dark cloud that follows you around, or like swimming to a shore that never comes any nearer. But memories are like a jumper that you can cuddle and wear. And Mum’s jumper might be a way to keep her close. A simple, heartfelt and ultimately uplifting book for anyone coping with loss.”

Only One of Me: a love letter from Mum and One One of Me: a love letter from Dad, by Lisa Wells, Michelle Robinson, Catalina Echeverri & Tim Budgen

“The Only One of Me project grew from Lisa’s determination to leave a lasting legacy for her daughters and her desire to help other families rally against the difficulties of loss. Her activities have raised thousands for charity and huge public support through JustGiving has enabled the publication of these beautiful books.”

Life and I: a story about death, by Elisabeth Helland Larson & Marine Schneider

“Rosy-cheeked and wrapped in blue, with a flower in her hair, Death rides a pink bike. Death, a green-eyed little girl in this pastel world, visits small animals with soft fur and big animals with sharp teeth. She lingers with a kindly grandmother as they knit one last scarf together. She wanders through surroundings of gentle beauty and she tells us who she is.”

Goodbye Mog, by Judith Kerr

“Mog was tired - dead tired. She thought, ‘I want to sleep for ever’. And so she did. But a little bit of her stayed awake to see what would happen next. So Mog keeps watch over the upset Thomas family, who miss her terribly, and she wonders how they will ever manage without her.”

If All the World Were…, by Joseph Coelho & Allison Colpoys

“A moving, lyrical picture book about a young girl’s love for her granddad and how she copes when he dies, written by poet and playwright Joseph Coelho. This powerful and ultimately uplifting text is the ideal way to introduce children to the concept of death and dying, particularly children who have lost a grandparent.”

Badger’s Parting Gifts, by Susan Varley

“Badger was dependable, and always ready to lend a helping paw. He was very old and wise, and knew that he would die soon. Susan Varley wrote this book to help children overcome the death of loved ones, and it has since become a children’s classic.”

Always and Forever, by Debi Gliori & Alan Durant

“When Fox dies, the rest of his family are distraught. How will Mole, Otter and Hare go on without their beloved friend? But months later, Squirrel reminds them all of how funny Fox used to be, and they all realize that Fox is still there in their hearts and memories.”

Goodbye Grandma, by Melanie Walsh

“When a little boy is told that his grandma has died, he isn’t really sure what death means. In this reassuring lift-the-flap book with bold and colourful illustrations, he asks his mum important questions about death and bereavement. Why do people have to die? What happens to them once they are dead? What can he do to remember his grandma?”

Missing Mummy, by Rebecca Cobb

“This title deals with the loss of a parent from a child’s point of view. Perfectly pitched text and evocative artwork explore the many emotions a bereaved child may experience, from anger to guilt and from sadness to bewilderment. And importantly, the book also focuses on the positive, the recognition that the child is still part of a family.”

Are You Sad, Little Bear? A book about learning to say goodbye, by Rachel Rivett & Tina Macnaughton

“This charmingly illustrated book will help young children in times of bereavement, loss, or change, gently exploring the reasons for saying goodbye and giving reassurance that goodbye doesn’t mean the end of things.”

Saying Goodbye to Uncle Joe: what to expect when someone you love dies, by Nancy Loewen & Christopher Lyles

“When someone you love dies, you might feel sad, lonely, and confused. What do you do? No matter who your loved one was, this story can help you through the tough times.”

Duck, Death and the Tulip, by Wolf Erlbruch

“In a strangely heart-warming story, a duck strikes up an unlikely friendship with Death. Death, Duck and the Tulip will intrigue, haunt and enchant readers of all ages. Simple, unusual, warm and witty, this book deals with a difficult subject in a way that is elegant, straightforward, and thought-provoking.”

I Miss You: a first look at death, by Pat Thomas & Lesley Harker

“This book helps young children come to terms with the loss of loved ones, through examples such as the death of a grandparent or pet.”

The Memory Tree, by Britta Teckentrup

“Fox has lived a long and happy life in the forest. One day, he lies down in his favourite clearing, takes a deep breath and falls asleep forever. Before long, Fox’s friends begin to gather in the clearing. One by one, they tell stories of the special moments that they shared with Fox. And, as they share their memories, a tree blooms, big and strong, eventually watching over all the friends, just as Fox did when he was alive.

“This gentle and comforting tale celebrates life and the memories that are left behind when a loved one dies.”

When Dinosaurs Die: a guide to understanding death, by Laurie Krasny Brown & Marc Brown

“Explaining the concept of death to a child can often be an upsetting experience. This book deals with the issue in a healthy, open manner, addressing children’s fears and curiousities head-on, therefore making the grieving process as painless as possible.”

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, by Michael Rosen

“We all have ‘sad stuff’ to deal with in life. What makes Michael Rosen most sad is thinking about his son, Eddie, who died. In this book he writes about his sadness, how it affects him, and some of the things he does to try to cope with it.”

The Pond, by Nicola Davies & Cathy Fisher

The Pond is a touching picture book about a young boy and his family, overcoming the loss of his father through a small pond in the garden. This colourful, emotional book is filled with natural imagery and will teach children not only about death and loss, but the importance of the natural world.”

The Scar, by Charlotte Moundlic & Oliver Tallec

“With tenderness, touches of humour and unflinching emotional truth, Charlotte Moundlic captures the loneliness of grief through the eyes of a child, rendered with sympathy and charm in Olivier Tallec’s expressive illustrations.”

Heaven, by Nicholas Allan

“A touching tale of a child’s final farewell to her opinionated dog who goes off to heaven.”

The Copper Tree, by Hilary Robinson & Mandy Stanley

“When Olivia’s teacher, Miss Evans, dies, the children at her school are encouraged to think of everything that reminds them of her. This book is about love and legacy and will help children understand that while sadness is an inevitable part of grief, death is not necessarily the end for what is left behind can be everlasting.”

Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White & Garth Williams

“This is the tale of how a little girl named Fern, with the help of a friendly spider, saved her pig, Wilbur, from the usual fate of nice fat little pigs.”

The Cat Mummy, by Jacqueline Wilson

“I have a pet. I love her lots, but she is very, very boring. Even so, Mabel, my tabby cat, is a good listener. Miss Smith, my teacher, told us that in ancient Egypt people worshipped cats. Mabel could have been a cat goddess in those days.”

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright, by Christopher Edge

“When Albie’s mum dies, it’s natural he should wonder where she’s gone. His parents are both scientists and they usually have all the answers. Dad mutters something about Albie’s mum being alive and with them in a parallel universe. So Albie finds a box, his mum’s computer and a rotting banana, and sends himself through time and space to find her.”

Clownfish, by Alan Durant

“Dak’s dad has been dead for seven days when suddenly he reappears. He’s the same in almost every way, with one startling exception: Dad has turned into a clownfish, and now lives in a tank at their local aquarium. Dak is delighted by the news - he has Dad back, even if he isn’t quite as he was before.

“Deciding to keep Dad’s transformation a secret, Dak visits him at the aquarium as often as he can, and ends up spending so much time there that they offer him a job. This is how he comes to meet Violet, the owner’s prickly but kindhearted niece; when the aquarium is threatened with closure, the pair must work together to save it. For Dak, the stakes couldn’t be higher - after all, if the aquarium shuts down, what will happen to the fish?”

Superpowerless, by Chris Priestley

“Life hasn’t been easy recently for David. His father died just a couple of years ago, he has a fractious relationship with his mum, and has fallen out with his best friend. But David has a secret, which he hasn’t told anyone: he has superpowers. He can soar through the air, he has superhearing, he feels and hears everything super-keenly. So life should be easier, then, shouldn’t it?”

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd

“The monster showed up just after midnight. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his back garden, though, this monster, is something different. Something ancient, something wild.”

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Sophie Green

Sophie Green

I work for the Suffolk Libraries stock team. I also write children’s fiction, short stories and comedy. Visit my website.