Youth & Funerals. Sharing the experience with children helps them better understand the concepts of death, memorialization and ritual, but it is crucial to understand and support young people, on their unique levels, as they go through the experience. Your child’s reaction to death and the funeral experience will vary depending on age, the nature of the relationship with the deceased, and his or her maturity level and ability to manage complex emotions.
After a Death: An Activity Book for Children, by Amy Barrett Lindholm. This easy-to-use activity workbook is designed for children ages 5 to 12 who have experienced the death of a family member or friend. With a mixture of creative activities and tips for dealing with changes at school, home and with friends, this is a great tool for all grieving children. We’ve included a variety of drawing and writing exercises to help children remember the person who died, and learn new ways to live with the loss. ISBN 978-1-890534-10-03
Buster the Clown is Dead, by John Kennedy Saynor, has been written in response to many requests from adults wanting a resource that explains cremation to children. Children are the forgotten mourners. This is sad, but true. Children who are forgotten at the time of illness and death in the family often pay for it when they are young adults. Don’t let that happen to a child in your family! “Buster” is the man next door who is a professional clown in his “other” life. The clown theme throughout provides a happy medium for an otherwise difficult and sad topic to discuss with children. Boys and girls are given exercises to help them pay tribute to the one who has died and to express their feelings. Parents, teachers and any professional involved with children will find this an invaluable tool. 705-924-2458
Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies, by Janis Silverman. An art therapy, and activity, book for children coping with death. Sensitive exercises address all the questions children may have during this emotional and troubling crisis. Children are encouraged to express in pictures what they are often incapable of expressing in words. ISBN-10: 1577490851
Honoring our Loved Ones: Going to a Funeral, by Karen L. Carney. This book guides children through the death, calling hours and funeral of a loved one. It addresses common questions such as “What does the word ‘dead’ mean?” and “Why does the body look and feel different?” While each situation may vary, the story reflects the characteristics most often observed in the practice of Christian funeral rituals. ISBN-10: 0966782011
I Know Someone Who Died Coloring Book, by Connie Manning. A hospice nurse in Ontario, Connie has a special gift for speaking for those little ones who are sometimes overlooked in the grief experience. The friendly butterfly in the book gently discusses loss and grief in ways a 3 to 8 year old can understand. The pages invite children to draw and color as they express their feelings. ISBN-10: 189278565X
Isabelles Dream: A Story and Activity Book for a Child’s Grief Journey, by Betsy Bottino Arenella. Based on the true story of two sisters, Isabelle’s Dream takes the reader on a heartwarming journey from grief to hope. The story begins as Isabelle gazes out her bedroom window at the stars, wondering where her sister Sophia has gone. She knows Sophia is in Heaven, but where is that? Can Isabelle go there, too, so she and Sophia can be together again? ISBN-10: 0967553296
Lifetimes: a beautiful way to explain death to children, by Mellonie, Bryan. Lifetimes tells us about beginnings, endings and living in between. With large, wonderful illustrations, it tells about plants, animals and people. This book explains death as a natural part of life for all living things. Appropriate for Ages 4-8 years. ISBN-10:189278565X
Our Special Garden: Understanding Cremation, by Karen L. Carney. This book offers a gentle, thoughtful and reassuring explanation of death and cremation. It tells the true story of the author’s grandfather, who had asked that his body be cremated upon his death and placed in a garden. It explains the cremation process, describes what ashes look like, and offers suggestions for finding a special place for our loved one’s ashes. ISBN-10: 0966782038
Remember . . . A Child Remembers, by Enid Samuel-Traisman. This is a write-in memory book for bereaved children age 8-12. This journal is a unique tool for children who are grieving over the death of someone they love. There are pages for writing about the person’s life and death, a goodbye letter, a story about us, pages to draw the service, being angry, being happy, and many more. It will help the young person cope with the loss of a special relationship and keep the memories safely preserved. ISBN: 1561230693
Sweet Memories, by Elaine Stillwell. For children, and adults together, to create healing and loving memories for holidays and other special days crafts. This provides wonderful ways for grieving children to remember, and share, their special person who died, whether it be grandma or grandpa, mom or dad, sister or brother, best friend or family pet. Using materials that were associated with their loved one, and with a hand from an adult, children can make projects which open doors to healing by reliving precious moments. Preparing and sharing their creations with other family members, especially their parents, invites quality time for telling stories and secrets and unveiling thoughts tucked deep in the heart. ISBN-10: 1561231215 2008
Talking about Death: A Dialogue between Parent and Child, by Earl A. Grollman. This book is a classic guide for parents helping their children through the death of a loved one. With a helpful list of dos and don’ts, an illustrated read-along dialogue, and a guide to explaining death, Grollmand describes children at different developmental stages.
The Goodbye Boat, by Mary Joslin. This book, written at a level suitable for preschoolers, explores the pain and grief of saying goodbye, and provides a message of hope that sadness will ease and that death is not the end. A wonderful discussion starter, this book will be a helpful tool for parents and educators seeking to guide young children through the painful process of loss. For ages 2 and up. ISBN-10: 080285186X
The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst. An Invisible String made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love. Does everybody have an Invisible String? How far does it reach? Does it ever go away? This heartwarming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us and opens up deeper conversations about love, separation, loss, and death.
My Sibling Still, by Megan Lacourrege. This book is written as a love letter from a sibling lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death to any surviving siblings. It walks through the emotions that a child and his or her family may experience following a loss while also depicting the loving presence of the deceased child in the family’s life. With gentle words and comforting pictures, this book offers a beautiful way for the entire family to remember and honour any lost little ones. Most of all, it reminds us that our relationships with the little ones who have gone before us continue after death.