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Suggested books: Death/grief for children 8-12

General

Sunflower Promise
by Kathleen Marsh Hemery, Illustrated by Agusto Bordelois.
A new chapter book for children who are experienceing the death of someone close to them.

Why Did You Die?
by Erica Leeuwenburgh and Ellen Goldring.
When a loved one dies, children are faced with a kaleidoscope of feelings, thoughts, myths, and questions. This book will help children, parents and other adults communicate about death and the grieving process.

Ragtail Remembers
by Liz Duckworthy.
Ragtail, a young mouse, has just lost his best friend, Tom the cat. As he tries to understand what has happened, Ragtail experiences many feelings. With the help of his new friend, he learns to deal with his feelings.

What is Death?
by Etan Broitzer, 2000.
Introduces children to the concept of death with examples of customs and beliefs from different religions and cultures.

I Know I Made it Happen
by Lynn Bennett, 1990.
Gives kids support and understanding during crises. It's nice to know, though, that my wishes, and my thoughts, and my words, don't make bad things happen.

What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?
by Trevor Romain, 1999.
The author talks directly to kids about what death means and how to cope. He describes and discusses the overwhelming emotions involved in grieving-sadness, fear, anger, guilt- and offers practical strategies for dealing with them.

Children Also Grieve
by Linda Goldman, 2005.
The combination of narrative and interactive memory book is designed to be read and worked through by children.

The Complete Book About Death for Kids
by Earl Grollman and Joy Johnson
This book includes information about death, dying and the feelings you have when someone you love dies. Also talks about burial, cremation, funerals and the cemetery.

The Saddest Time
by Norma Simon 
Whitman and Co., 1986
(Three scenarios: uncle, friend, grandparent deaths)

About Dying (non-fiction)
by Sara Bennett Stein
Walker and Co., 1974

Time for Uncle Joe
by Nancy Jewall
Harper 1981
(Memories through the seasons and belongings)

Coping with Death and Grief (non-fiction)
by Marge Heegaard
Woodland Press, 1990

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf  (metaphor)
by Leo Buscaglia
Holt Rinehart, 1982

Charlotte's Web
by E.B. White
Harper & Row, 1952
(Classic story of animal's attachment, loss and grief)

Great Answers to Difficult Questions about Death What Children Need to Know
by Linda Goldman, 2009.
This book explores children's thoughts and feelings on the subject and provides parents and other caring adults with guidance on how to respond to difficult questions.

Sibling

Nadia, The Willful
by Lloyd Bloom
Pantheon Books, 1983
(Healing power of talking about brother's death)

Ghost Brother
C. S. Adler
Wally's daring, carefree older brother is killed in an accident; Wally attempts to be less timid, enters skateboard competition and gains perspective on the loss.

Am I Still A Sister?
by Alicia Sims
(11-year-old author, baby brother's death)

Children Facing Grief
by Janis Loomis Romond
(Letters from siblings ages 6 - 15)

Parent

Good-Bye Momma
Tom Moore, 1993
Boyhood in a Newfoundland outpost, mom dies, father remarries

Mama's Going To Heaven Soon
by Kathe Martin Copeland (Author), Elissa Hudson (Illustrator) (Illustrator), 2005.
A compassionate story to assist young children and their caregivers deal with the impending death of a parent.

How It Feels When A Parent Dies
by Jill Krementz
(Photo essays by children ages 7 -1 6)

The Rag Coat  (fiction)
by Lauren Mills
(Love felt from dad even after death)

Winter Holding Spring
by Crescent Dragonwagon
MacMillan Publishing, 1990
(Dad and daughter move through a year of seasons after mom's death)

A Star for the Latecomer
by Bonnie Zindel, 1980
(Young teen, mother and daughter deal with mom's cancer)

Daddy's Climbing Tree
by C.S. Adler
Clarion Books, 1993
(Jessica, 11, takes her little brother Tycho to her grandparents' house to look for Daddy, who was struck and killed by a hit and run driver. But the grandparents don't live there anymore and Daddy isn't there either. She learns to look for his memory in her heart.)

Devil's Bridge
Cynthia C. DeFelice
Avon Books, 1994
(12 year old Ben copes with father's death and mother's overprotectiveness during a fishing contest.)

Friend

A Taste of Blackberries
by Doris Smith, 1973
(Accidental death of friend, guilt, regret, funeral)

Dusty Was My Friend
by Andrea Clardy
Human Science Press, 1984
(Car accident)

The Empty Window
by Eve Bunting, 1980
(Impending death of friend)

We Remember Philip
by Norma Simon
Whitman, 1979
(Teacher's son's death, support, commemoration)

Grandparent

Missing May
Cynthia Rylant
(A summer to observe grandparents deep love for each other and then grandma dies)

Finding Grandpa Everywhere: A Young Child Discovers Memories of a Grandparent
John Hodge, Susan Aitken
(Beautifully illustrated story of finding Grandpa in memories, things left behind, a life lesson, and debunking the euphemism of "lost" for died.)

A Sunburned Prayer
by Marc Talbert, 1995
(Hispanic 11-year-old hopes for a miracle for grandmother's cancer)

Blackberries in the Dark (also a video)
by Mavis Jukes, 1985
(Widow and grandson coping after grandfather's death)

A Gift for Tia Rosa
by Karen Taha
Dillon, 1985
(Before and after elderly neighbor's death, explores regret)

When Grandfather Journeys Into Winter
by Craig Strete
Greenwillow, 1979
(Native American grandson)

Annie and the Old One
by Miska Miles
Little Brown, 1971
(Navaho view of death from grandmother to granddaughter)

My Grandmother Died But I Won't Forget Her
by Bernice Hogan
Abingdon, 1983
(Visitors, funeral, loneliness, memories)

Nana
by Lyn Hooper
Harper, 1981
(Day after death of grandmother, hopeful)

What Happened When Grandma Died?
by Peggy Barker
Concordia, 1984
(Christian explanation of death)

My Grandson Lew  (also video)
by Charlotte Zoltow
Harper and Row, 1974
(Mom and child recall grandfather)

Pet

A Dog like Jack
Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan
The Horn Book, Inc. 1999
(Jack's family adopts a dog, they have a life together, the dog grows old and dies. Warm watercolor, warm narrative, concludes with note to parents and teachers.)

Compiled by Judy Young, M.Ed., Grief Counselor, Allina Hospitals and Clinics

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