Books about Loss and Death

 

Good Books for Tough Times 5-8 - LOSS AND DEATH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heaven

Author Nicholas Allan
Illustrator Nicholas Allan
Reading age 6+
Interest level 4+

Review For Dill the dog, heaven is lampposts and meaty bones, while for his owner Lily it's islands of chocolate and ice-cream clouds. As Dill prepares to accept an invitation to heaven, readers are carefully prepared, through Lily's reactions, for a similar loss in their own life.

This book is outstanding for its delightful illustrations, gentle humour and perceptive grasp of the inevitably conflicting emotions and behaviour which frequently accompany bereavement.

Publisher Red Fox
Published 2006
ISBN 9780099488149

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Granpa

Author John Burningham
Illustrator John Burningham
Reading age 4+
Interest level 3-8

Review Using a combination of gentle illustrations and minimal text, this is a sensitive and moving exploration of the relationship between a young girl and her grandfather.

In just a brief story, we get a sense of the grandfather's life and the little girl's reaction to his death.

And after he dies, she still has plenty of wonderful memories
of him.

Publisher Red Fox
Published 2003
ISBN 9780099434085

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Up In Heaven

Author Emma Chichester Clark
Illustrator Emma Chichester Clark
Reading age 6+
Interest level 3-7

Review Daisy the dog is devoted to her young owner Arthur, but now that she is very old she finds she cannot keep up with him anymore.

One night Daisy dies and goes to heaven, but she can see that Arthur misses her and is very sad. So she sends him comforting dreams telling him about heaven and how happy she is there, allowing him to finally move on, without forgetting her.

Beautifully illustrated, this is a gentle, unsentimental, yet comforting introduction to the difficult subject of death and bereavement for the very young.

Publisher Andersen Press
Published 2004
ISBN 9781842703335

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The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Author Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline
Reading age 8+
Interest level 7+

Review Edward Tulane is an impressive and immaculate china rabbit. Abigail, his owner, adores and cares for him completely, but Edward does not return her love. Edward is self-centred, proud and heartless; he cares nothing for love.

Then, through a series of accidents, Edward is separated from Abigail. He learns about love, and experiences the pain that comes with loss and death. He wonders if he can bear to risk loving somebody.

This is an unusual, well-written and beautifully illustrated story. Edward's journey, both physical and emotional, is movingly told and full of vibrant characters.

Publisher Walker Books
Published 2008
ISBN 9781406307702

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Always and Forever

Author Alan Durant
Illustrator Debi Gliori
Reading age 7+
Interest level 4+

Review When Fox dies, his family of Otter, Mole and Hare are plunged into grief and don't feel that life can continue without him. Then one day, Squirrel comes to visit, and they gradually remember the good times they had with him. They realise that ‘in their hearts and their memories and their laughter' Fox will be there - ‘always and forever'.

This is a moving and sensitive story, beautifully illustrated by Debi Gliori, which explains death gently and would be ideal for a young child facing a loss in the family.

Publisher Picture Corgi
Published 2004
ISBN 9780552548779

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Michael Rosen's Sad Book

Author Michael Rosen
Illustrator Quentin Blake
Reading age 6+
Interest level 6+

Review The subject of bereavement is treated in an unusual way in Michael Rosen's Sad Book, which deals with the death of the author's own son.

The main character is an adult - Michael Rosen himself. Quentin Blake's illustrations sensitively complement an account of grief that is both searingly personal and reassuringly universal.

Publisher Walker Books
Published 2011
ISBN 9780744598988

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Badger's Parting Gifts

Author Susan Varley
Illustrator Susan Varley
Reading age 7+
Interest level 4+

Review When Badger dies, his friends are very sad, but one by one they recall the special things he gave them during his lifetime.

By sharing these fond memories, they realise that although he is no longer with them physically, he will always be in their hearts.

A successful book that deals gently and clearly with issues of loss and death for young children.

Publisher Picture Lions
Published 1994
ISBN 9780006643173

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Frog and the Birdsong

Author Max Velthuijs
Illustrator Max Velthuijs
Reading age 7+
Interest level 3-8

Review Frog discovers a blackbird lying motionless on the ground.

He asks his friends what could be wrong and they eventually realise that the bird has died.

This picture book gently explains death to young children.

Publisher Andersen Press
Published 1996
ISBN 9780862643218

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The Cat Mummy

Author Jacqueline Wilson
Illustrator Nick Sharratt
Reading age 8+
Interest level 7+

Review Mabel the cat is very special. She used to belong to Verity's mother, who died when Verity was born. One day Mabel goes missing; Verity searches for her but discovers that the cat has curled up and died at the bottom of her wardrobe.

After she learns at school that the Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats, she decides to mummify Mabel! However, Gran suspects that something is wrong, and Verity is very worried that she will not be able to keep her Cat Mummy secret for much longer.

A deceptively simple tale which explores the issue of bereavement for younger readers.

Publisher Corgi Yearling
Published 2009
ISBN 9780440868576

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