Resources about Death and Bereavement for Children and Adults
Books without words
St. Christopher’s Hospice Candle Project
- Christopher’s Hospice has been providing bereavement counselling to patients’ families for over 40 years.
- Their Candle Project extends this counselling and support to all children, young people and their families experiencing loss through death, in the South East London area.
- The Candle Project also offers training for staff, advice and consultancy services for local schools and other professional agencies working with children facing bereavement and an advice service for parents and carers.
- Book list and information on coping with children and bereavement.
- Childhood bereavement charity with practical support and guidance to families & professionals
- Bereavement care - Link to RD4U for young people
- Information and a list of organisations offering more advice and support
Child Bereavement UK
- Supports families & professionals when a child is dying and when a child faces bereavement
- For schools – resources (books & DVDs) & staff training
Childhood Bereavement Network
- The Childhood Bereavement Network is a national, multi-professional federation of organisations and individuals working with bereaved children and young people.
- Staff Training and support.
- Grief support for children & young people
- Very comprehensive information booklet for schools on supporting bereaved pupils
Bereavement Advice Centre
- A free helpline and web-based information service with practical information, advice and signposting
- Bereavement service - Grief Relief Kit includes books, memory making materials, comforting toys and other items to facilitate children’s grieving
A Child of Mine
- For bereaved parents
- Model policy for schools, on which ours is based
The Church of England
- Prayers – more suitable for adults than children
- Bereavement Support Materials for Children and Young People, including specific reference to the Coronavirus pandemic
- Set up by parents of 7 year old Edward Dent to try and help other families through their grief and loss
- Poems and reflections
The National Children’s Bureau
National Bereavement Partnership
The Compassionate Friends (UK)
Helen and Douglas House
- Hospice Care for Children and Young Adults
Seeds of Hope
- Children’s garden to explore feelings of loss with the support of their families, teachers, and carers
BADGER'S PARTING GIFTS (Susan Varley)
The tale of a dependable, reliable and helpful badger who realises that his old age will soon lead to death. His friends learn to come to terms with his death in an enchanting tale. With full colour illustrations throughout.
WATER BUGS AND DRAGONFLIES: Explaining Death to Young Children (Doris Stickney)
This book uses the analogy of the waterbugs' short life under water as human's time on earth and their emergence as dragonflies into the bright sunlit world above the water as human's life after death. It is designed to provide adults with the opportunity to talk about death as being part of the life cycle, which can be a reassuring way of explaining death to children.
www.amazon.co.uk/Water-Bugs-Dragonflies-Explaining-Children/dp/0829816240/ref=sr 1 1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350035486&sr=1-1
THE FALL OF FREDDIE THE LEAF: A Story of Life for All Ages (Leo F Buscaglia)
How Freddie and his companion leaves change with the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with a winter's snow, is an inspiring allegory illustrating the delicate balance between life and death.
CHILDREN ALSO GRIEVE – Talking about death and healing (Linda Goldman)
An imaginative resource, fully illustrated with colour photographs, that offers support and reassurance to children coming to terms with the loss of a close friend or relative.
I MISS YOU: A First Look at Death (Pat Thomas)
This bright and very 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. An excellent educational book, which could be used as a starting point for discussion.
SAD (Michael Rosen)
This book has large illustrations and small snippets of text. It is wonderfully honest and will appeal to children and adults of all ages. We all have sad stuff, but what makes Michael Rosen most sad is thinking about his son who died. This book is a simple but emotive story. He talks about what sad is, how it affects him and what he does to cope with it. In true Michael Rosen style, this book manages to make you smile as well.
MUDDLES, PUDDLES AND SUNSHINE (Diana Crossley)
This book offers a structure and an outlet for the many difficult feelings which inevitably follow when someone dies. It aims to help children make sense of their experience by reflecting on the different aspects of their grief, whilst finding a balance between remembering and having fun. This book is a useful companion in the present, and will become an invaluable keepsake in the years to come.
EMMA SAYS GOODBYE (Carolyn Nystrom)
Emma has a favourite aunt, her Aunt Sue. When Aunt Sue comes to stay with them, Emma believes it will be great. Only it's not. Aunt Sue has cancer. This book follows Emma as she goes first through hope, then sadness as she comes to accept her Aunt Sue is dying. Through faith and love Emma's family learn to accept the unacceptable-the loss of a loved one.
SOMEONE VERY IMPORTANT HAS JUST DIED: Immediate help for people caring for children of all ages at the time of a close bereavement (Mary Turner)
When a family member or close friend dies, it can be difficult to know how best to help the children and teenagers involved. Someone Very Important Has Just Died is a practical book written for those caring for children and teenagers suffering a close bereavement. Intended for use immediately or soon after the death has occurred, this book gives practical and detailed guidance on what adults might say and do to help children. This much-needed resource tackles the sensitive issues of what to tell children, how far to include them in the events immediately after the death and how to tend to their physical and emotional needs. The material is suitable for anyone regardless of their background and beliefs and is supplemented with information on where to go to obtain longer term bereavement support. Someone Very Important Has Just Died is an ideal resource for professionals in all areas of work relating to bereavement. It is designed to be given to adults with children in their care at the time of a death.
ARE YOU SAD LITTLE BEAR? Learning to say goodbye (Rachel Rivett)
Grandmother Bear has gone for ever, so it's no wonder that Little Bear is feeling sad. His mother wisely suggests that perhaps the Wildwood can help him understand his loss. Little Bear's day of exploring and asking questions brings him comfort and hope.
WHERE DID GRANDAD GO? (Catherine House & Honor Ayres)
"Where did Grandad go?" aims to help very young children to come to terms with the idea of death and missing somebody very much, remembering all the good things about them. Tackling a difficult question with sensitivity and compassion, this book aims to guide young children to an understanding of the special place that God has for those who love him when they die.
HEAVEN (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 lampposts 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.
ROSIE - COMING TO TERMS WITH THE DEATH OF A SIBLING (Stephanie Jeffs and Jacquie Thomas)
Jenny's sister Rosie was not well. She didn't have a sore throat. She didn't have spots and she didn't feel sick. But Rosie was still unwell. This sensitive story shows a warm and caring family who learn to deal with Rosie's long-term illness. Through it they understand that God hates pain and suffering too, but promises to take care of all of us and, when we die, makes a special place for us to live with him in heaven. It's a place where we will never hurt again and we will always be better.
JOSH - COMING TO TERMS WITH THE DEATH OF A FRIEND (Stephanie Jeffs and Jacquie Thomas)
Max was a painter and decorator. He lived near Josh and his big sister Jane. Last year, Mum had asked Max to decorate Josh's bedroom. When it was finished it looked brilliant. Josh wanted to be just like Max when he grew up. Then, one day, Max was killed in a road accident. This sensitive story, taken from the child's perspective, moves through the pain and emptiness of grief and loss to the sadness and acceptance of death. It explains not only what happens to the body of a dead person, but also the safe place awaiting everyone who puts their faith in God.
WHEN SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAPPENS (Marge Eaton Heegaard)
A workbook to help children work out feelings about a traumatic event. Traumatic events in the lives of their families, friends or community leave children feeling confused, insecure and frightened. Recreating the event on paper reduces the child's terror and creates feelings of empowerment. Drawing puts the child in charge, providing the opportunity for exploring feelings. With the help of this book, nightmares and post-traumatic stress symptoms can be relieved.
SAYING GOODBYE TO GREG (Christine Chapman)
Saying Goodbye to Greg is a bereavement training resource set in story form, using a real-life situation involving children in a primary school. Its aim is to lead primary teachers through the bereavement process in the event of a tragic death of a pupil. The sensitive and professional handling of the subject gives inspiration to guide schools through difficult circumstances and help teachers prepare for the unthinkable. The material includes: examining children's attitudes, coping with the school day; exploring spiritual issues; explaining the funeral, cremation and the role of the funeral director; considering our own experiences and attitudes towards death; understanding the process of bereavement, complications and referral, questioning where God is in the situation and moving on.
WILL I LIVE FOREVER? (Carolyn Nystrom & Jo-Anne Shilliam)
A tiny bird falls to the ground. It sets a little girl thinking sad thoughts. Will the bird go to heaven? Will I die some day? Where is heaven? With carefully chosen words and bright, attractive illustrations, this simple yet profound book answers these important questions in a positive way. Very helpful for parents and teachers who want to guide children through bereavement issues.
ALWAYS AND FOREVER (Alan Durant)
Otter, Mole and Hare miss Fox when he falls ill and dies. They stay at home and don’t want to talk about him because it makes them sadder. Then Squirrel visits and reminds them of all the fun times they had together. They all find a way to remember Fox and get on with their lives. Colourful, detailed pictures in this book emphasise the importance of holding on to memories.
TWO WEEKS WITH THE QUEEN (Morris Gleitzman)
Twelve year old Colin, an Australian boy, is sent to stay with relatives in England when his brother becomes ill with cancer. He is determined to find a way of curing his brother, which leads him into all sorts of adventures, including trying to visit the Queen! Colin finds a friend in an older man named Ted who helps him express his feelings and understand what he has to do.
WHEN DINOSAURS DIE: A Guide to Understanding Death. (Laura Krasny)
This factual picture book uses cartoon dinosaurs to illustrate the text and comment on what is said. It is a bright and colourful book that explains death in a simple and unthreatening way. It covers many issues including “Why does someone die?" feelings about death and saying goodbye.
It would be an excellent resource for anyone caring for young children.
THE TENTH GOOD THING ABOUT BARNEY (Judith Viorst)
A young boy’s cat dies and his parents suggest that he could think of ten good things about Barney to tell at the funeral. But he can only think of nine, until he talks to his Father about what happens to someone after they have died and he discovers the tenth.
A carefully written book with black and white pictures that sensitively deals with death and lets the reader make his or her own decisions about what happens after the funeral.
WHEN SOMEONE VERY SPECIAL DIES: Children Can Learn To Cope With Grief
An excellent book.
It is very visual, has pictorial representations of change, grief and loss and spaces for children to draw, understand and express their feelings. On the inside cover there is resource material available for leading a children’s grief support group.
HEALING ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN IN GRIEF (Gay McWhorter)
An activity book designed to help counsellors in a group setting, help children following a death.
JOURNEYING THROUGH BEREAVEMENT IN SCHOOLS (Ian Terry)
What to do when a pupil, parent, teacher or grandparent dies? Does everyone react in the same way to a death? What prayers could we use? What books could we refer to? What might the bereavement journey feel like?
This study explores these questions and much more. There is a wealth of resources contained here for helping schools provide appropriate support for those who are grieving.
THE LITTLE BOOK OF BEREAVEMENT FOR SCHOOLS (Ian Gilbert with William, Olivia and Phoebe Gilbert)
A very personal account of the way educational institutions tried and succeeded, tried and failed and sometimes didn't try at all to help his three children, William, Olivia and Phoebe come to terms with the death of their mother.
CHILDREN AND BEREAVEMENT (Wendy Duffy)
Children and Bereavement is essential reading for parents, teachers, clergy and others who may be involved in helping a child or teenager comes to terms with a death. The lives of thousands of children are affected by bereavement every year. This sensitive guide examines the needs of bereaved children of different ages, their reactions to death and the stages of their grief. Written in non-jargon language, it provides clear, accessible information and stories of real situations. This second edition includes completely new sections on dealing with tragic events such as September 11th and Soham.
A CHILD’S GRIEF: Supporting a Child When Someone in Their Family Has Died (Julie Stokes)
A useful and informative introduction for any adult who is supporting a child through bereavement.
Covering a variety of issues that may affect a child when a person close to them dies, both immediately and in the longer term, the booklet also offers practical activities to do together and a section on further reading and support.
THEN, NOW AND ALWAYS (Julie Stokes)
This book has a chapter on enabling a school community to respond positively to a death. Good for those with pastoral care responsibilities.
BEYOND THE ROUGH ROCK: Supporting a Child Who Has Been Bereaved Through Suicide (Diana Crossley and Julie Stokes)
An information booklet offering practical advice for families where someone has died by suicide.
It aims to give parents and professionals the confidence to involve children in discussions about the nature of death by suicide. It also includes activities for children to do with the family to try and start making a sense of what has happened.
THE FORGOTTEN MOURNERS: Guidelines for Working with Bereaved Children
(Susan C Smith)
Aimed at teachers and social workers, this book outlines children’s grieving at different ages, discusses secondary losses and outlines some of the useful techniques which the adults around them can use in support.
GRIEF IN SCHOOL COMMUNITIES: EFFECTIVE SUPPORT STRATEGIES (Louise Rowling)
This book aims to help individuals and school communities to create environments in which grief, while a difficult experience, is seen as a normal life event. It demonstrates the components in a school that can be used to support grieving individuals in times of personal crisis and to support whole school communities when traumatic incidents occur.
CHILDHOOD BEREAVEMENT: Developing the Curriculum and Pastoral Support
(Gill Frances and Nina Job)
Covering areas in the curriculum where death and bereavement can be introduced, this book also discusses ways of supporting bereaved pupils. It draws on good practice from a variety of schools, including a special school and gives a selection of lesson plans.
THINKING OF HEAVEN (Sophie Piper & Hannah Firmin)
This collection of prayers is intended as a gift for the bereaved child and to provide the kind of comfort and hope that grown ups find hard to put into words. It can be dipped into or, if read in its entirety, will take the child on a journey of accepting the change and loss in nature (seasons, plants, creatures) through to a deeper understanding of loss and the Christian belief in life after death.
500 PRAYERS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE (Martin Saunders)
There are some prayers for grief and bereavement in this collection of prayers.
LIFE’S END (Hodder/Wayland)
Each text in this series looks at important ceremonies in people's lives and explores how they are celebrated within six different faiths.
EXPLORING THE JOURNEY OF LIFE AND DEATH (RE Today: Ed Joyce Mackley)
Christian Education Publications for RE Today.
Ways of Remembering that school may decide upon
- Art work.
- Drawing pictures of the loved one.
- Writing a letter to the person who has died, (What I would like to say to. . . ).
- Writing a poem for the person who has died.
- Make a Memory Box (Possibly using Winston’s resources).
- Writing memories of the person who has died.
- Create memories to send to the bereaved pupil / family, ie for a pupil whose father has died, the father might have been a keen cricketer and the other children could write messages on cricket balls for that pupil.
- Having a place where people can respond both as individuals and collectively,ie a Book of Remembrance; space in the school (the chapel if there is one,) where people can come and light a candle.
- Present every pupil with a Germini flower to treasure and to be a living memory of the person who has died, each time they see it.
- Name a Cup after the person who has died and present it to the winners of a termly / annual competition of the person’s favourite game.
- Hold a ‘Bank Holiday’ to mark the birthday of the person who has died. On that day in school, instead of the normal school timetable, do the things that the person who has died particularly liked to do.
- Have fundraising efforts / a collection in memory of the person who has died, ie for the hospital that cared for the person who has died / the charity that gave so much to the person who has died.
- Writing prayers.
- Circle Time and saying prayers.
- Hold a Celebration / Service of Remembrance of the life of the person who has died.
- This can include the pupils and staff being part of the readings, sharing their prayers and memories and choosing the favourite hymns of the person who has died.
- Produce a Memory Booklet to support the Celebration Service / Service of Remembrance.
- The booklet could be written in the favourite colours of the person who has died.
- Framing some of the school’s photographs of the life of the person who has died and displaying them around the school.
- Create some form of visual memorial for the person who has died, ie a bench, sculpture, water fountain, pebbles of words display, etc.
- Planting a tree for the person who has died.