Successful funeral home businesses provide services, which far exceed the needs and expectations of client families, that are designed to answer all questions and concerns for individuals of all ages, even children.
The death of a loved one can be confusing for children, even older ones, and they might not understand or know how to cope with their own feelings, and the sadness of other people in their family. Books that explain death, loss, grief and sadness to children can help you talk to them about it.
Below is a list of some of the most useful and popular books for children about death and grief to help them cope with the loss of a grandparent, parent, sibling or other loved one. Any of these books would be a wonderful addition to your funeral home’s library.
Grandma Bunny by Dick Bruna
Part of the Miffy series of children’s books, this story combines simple, understandable language and illustrations to describe the funeral and burial of Miffy’s grandma. It goes a long way to acknowledge the sadness felt by everyone in the family and looks at how keeping a loved one’s memory alive can help. This book is ideal for younger children, as it gives simple information without diving too deeply into the complex emotions of grief.
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia
This metaphorical tale introduces children to the character of Freddie, a young leaf growing on a maple tree. Freddie learns about life and experiences the changing seasons until, naturally, winter comes and he painlessly falls from the life-giving tree with his fellow leaves. Freddie’s journey gives an ideal example to children of how life and death are intertwined and part of each other.
Ghost Wings by Barbara Joosse
Set in Mexico, this tells the story of a girl who has lost her grandmother and is struggling to cope with the newly opened gap in her life. Through the Mexican rituals of Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), the girl finds comfort in remembering, rather than forgetting her grandmother. This is a touching and emotional tale that finds meaning in small acts of remembrance. It can also be an interesting way to talk about how other cultures have different ways of dealing with death, for slightly older children.
Where Are You? by Laura Olivieri
Written from perspective of a young bereaved child, this book takes a look at different ideas of what death might be and what it might mean. The child comes to the conclusion that their loved one is still in their heart and will always be part of them. An emotional but often helpful story, this allows young readers to identify with the main character and discuss their own ideas about death. Many children who have not been bereaved also ask questions about death as they get older, and reading these books about loss can also help them understand death as well.
Cry Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved
Death comes for an old woman, but her four grandchildren have other ideas. They try to distract the cloaked character of Death and delay their grandmother’s departure from the world. The character of Death, who may appear sinister at first, is actually kind and gentle. He shares a story with the children that explains why death is part of life, in the same way that joy and sadness cannot exist without each other. This book acknowledges the pain of grief while sharing the message that death is not to be feared, but an integral part of life.
It is important to remember that none of these books is a substitute for talking and listening to the child. They were all written to start a conversation, rather than definitively answer any questions your child might have about death. It is a good idea to follow up the reading by spending some time answering their questions and letting them know that they can always talk to you about it.
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