Books to Help Children Deal with Death
Helping children deal with death is not an easy task. If it’s hard enough for adults, then imagine how much more so for the little ones.
Explaining what has happened, finding the best words to describe it, and then dealing with the loss of that loved one are some of the most complicated issues a child will have to deal with.
Choosing the right words for adults is sometimes very complicated. This becomes even more difficult if the loss is a close relative that the adults also have to come to terms with.
Books to help children deal with death
A good tool to help children deal with death and loss are books. They can often help to explain it in a different, yet simple, way.
Although death is often a taboo subject, several children’s books talk about it in a totally natural way. We can use this to be able to talk about death with others, both adults and children.
Here are three very special books on this very tricky, but vitally important subject. We’ve also given a special mention to three other books at the end.
Anna Llenas is the author of The Colourful Monster, the best book par excellence for working on emotions with children. She has also written this excellent book, The Void, which is characterized by having very little text but with some illustrations that don’t need words, as they’re self-explanatory.
The story focuses on Julia, on a day when she’s feeling a great emptiness, a void inside her. This great void makes a hole in her body, and all sorts of sad and bad things slip through it. But Julia, as much as she tries to plug the hole with different stoppers, she finds that none of the stoppers she’s given are any good.
At the end of the story, Julia realizes that what’s really important is that she finds the plug herself. She realizes that it comes from inside her. In this way, Anna Llenas focuses on resilience. She looks at people’s ability to deal with the shocks that life sometimes brings them, and also the ability to learn to live with them.
Because of its illustrations, this book is recommended for children from five years of age. However, due to the complexity of the issue and metaphor of Julia’s void, children of this age may find it hard to understand.
I’ll always love you
I’ll Always Love You, by Hans Wilhelm, is the second of our recommended books to help children deal with death and loss.
Coping with, and accepting, loss, along with the absence and pain that it brings, doesn’t only occur when it’s a human being who dies. In many homes, and for many people, pets are an essential part of their lives and family. It’s as though they were another member of the family.
This book is about that kind of loss. The dog Elfi was her owner’s best friend since he was a child. He grew up with him but, one sad day, Elfi passes away.
This is a simple story that aims to leave an important message through its pages. The message is that by expressing love to the people around you, you’ll prepare the way to live peacefully and happily when they’re gone.
I’ll Always Love You is recommended for children from six years of age. It’s a different way of dealing with death with children through the loss of pets.
Forever, by Camino Garcia, also talks about how to deal with the taboo subject of death with children. Recommended for the youngest ones in the house from three years of age, its story will help them to get to know the cycle of life and how death is a part of it.
The beauty of this book lies in its ending and in the reflection it makes on loss. It tells us that, no matter how many people leave us, they’ll always remain in the hearts and memories of others.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these 3 books to help children deal with death. There are many more, and some titles we can recommend are Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss, and The Tenth Good Thing About Barney.