Library: Books to help with grief

It’s National Grief Awareness Week and this is something that we will all face and have to come to terms with in life.  There are some beautiful books that can help us with strategies to work through our grief together as families. Who Will Love Me When You’re Gone? by Anna Friend, illustrated by Jake Biggin  is a moving yet reassuring journey through a child’s feelings of grief. With his mum very poorly, Jack is worried about what will happen when she’s gone… Will Mummy take her love as well?

“My love for you can never leave, 

It’s like the sun, the air you breathe…”

With mindfulness activities for families to do together to combat feelings of sadness, Who Will Love Me When You’re Gone is beautifully illustrated and simply written, and allows the reader to understand how a child might be feeling and gives a voice to those thoughts that are pinging around a child’s head making them feel wobbly and upset. It can be shared with younger children or read independently. It’s honesty and simple language is designed to start conversations and provide comfort. Written by clinical psychologist, executive coach and founder of childhood bereavement charity Winston’s Wish, Julie Stokes OBE, You Will Be Okay is a toolbox for children navigating grief. It is a kind and compassionate, straight talking look at the whole host of emotions we can go through when someone important in our life dies, whether it’s a family member, friend or someone else in our lives. With real-life examples, Julie takes us through different ways we might react, and what we can do to help get ourselves back on track, so that we can move on without that person, while holding them close. Each chapter guides us through different strategies we can employ to help us be kinder to ourselves while we come to terms with the loss we feel. I particularly liked the use of “grief muscles” that can help give us the strength to carry on without storing up grief, and the use of a simple sentence that allows us to explain what has happened in a way that feels right for us. The death of a parent, sibling or friend is one of the most traumatic experiences for a child and it can be hard to know how to talk to them about it. In this honest, comforting and strength-building guide, children will be able to look toward the future with hope. Miss Cleveland also has a number of picture books that can also be used to help discuss the death of a loved one including:
  • Badger’s Parting Gift by Susan Varley
  • Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan Brothers
  • The Sad Book by Michael Rosen. illustrated by Tony Ross
  • Maia And What Matters by Tine Mortier & Kaatje Vermeire
For older children, The Dream House by Laura Dockrill, illustrated by Gwen Millward is a short story that packs an emotional punch. Heart breaking and hopeful, The Dream House is a gentle exploration of bereavement, grief, growing up and the healing power of tea. We are drawn swiftly into the new world that Rex finds himself in, lost in grief and in need of time and space to come to terms with the death of his father. His godfather, Sparky, is a gentle soul who allows Rex to feel and do what comes naturally as he navigates the fear he faces as memories surface. Switching between prose, poetry, playscript style speech and a letter, Laura’s description immerses you in The Dream House. You can hear the branches rustle, smell the leaves rotting and feel the softness of the sofa and warmth of the mug of tea. Gwen’s sketches and illustrations adorn the pages of this special little book perfect for Year 6 and up.   If you would like to borrow any of these books to help support your whole family, please contact us through the Wellbeing email.