Books about Death and Dying
THE FOLLOWING BOOKS may be appropriate for your children as they cope with the death of a grandparent, relative, or close friend. Most of these books are appropriate for children of varying ages, but only you will know if they are appropriate for your child or whether they coincide with your views and beliefs about ritual, death, and remembering.
PLEASE NOTE: The descriptions of the books below are offered by their respective publishers. They are not meant to be considered reviews.
Pearl's Marigolds for Grandpa
By Jane Breskin Zalben
(Out of Print)
WHEN PEARL ARRIVES HOME from school one day, her mother is waiting to tell her that Grandpa has died. Pearl discovers a way to keep her grandfather's memory alive---she brings life to marigolds, as he did every year. This book is built around the ritual of sitting shiva.
Where Is Grandpa Dennis?
By Michelle Abraham
WITH WARMTH AND TENDERNESS, Michelle Shapiro Abraham's moving story book, featuring beautiful illustrations by Janice Fried, gently teaches Jewish traditions for remembering the loved ones we've lost. It does so through the story of a young girl learning about her Grandpa Dennis, the man for whom she was named but never knew.
Wishes For One More Day
By Melanie Joy Pastor
A GRANDFATHER'S DEATH inspires his grandchildren to create a book of wishes in this sensitive portrayal of dealing with the loss of a loved one.
When Anna and her little brother Joey hear the sad news about their Poppy's death, they begin to think about what they would do if they could have one more day with him. They smile thinking about Poppy's crazy birthday hat, giggle at the silly songs Poppy used to plunk out on the piano, and they laugh out loud at the weekly chicken-soup game they played with him at the deli.
As their list of to-dos grow into a pile, the pile becomes a book---a book of wishes for one more day with Poppy (or, as their mother explains, a memory book of the love and fun they shared with him, since all of their wishes have already come true). This treasured memento celebrates Poppy's life and helps Anna and Joey keep his memory alive for years to come.
When a Grandparent Dies: A Kid's Own Remembering Workbook
for Dealing with Shiva and the Year Beyond
By Nechama Liss-Levinson, Ph.D.
THE DEATH OF A GRANDPARENT is often a child s first encounter with grief. Why did this happen? What should I do? How do I feel? This workbook helps children to participate in the process of mourning and overcome the awkwardness that often accompanies their participation in grieving rituals.
Drawing insights from both psychology and Jewish tradition, When a Grandparent Dies offers children guided exercises, rituals, and places to write, draw, list, create, and express their feelings.
The book is appropriate for children aged 7 to 11. The workbook moves from the immediacy of shiva through the entire year of mourning. Children and parents who use this book together will have a unique opportunity for sharing as they come to know more about themselves, their family, and the complexities of life and death.
A Candle for Grandpa:
A Guide to the Jewish Funeral for Children and Parents
By David Techner and Judith Hirt-Manheimer
THIS ILLUSTRATED STORY sensitively explains the Jewish view of death and funeral practices and rituals to young children. It also includes a glossary of Jewish funeral terms and a "Q & A" of most frequently asked questions by children and parents.
Where Do People Go When They Die?
By Minda Avra Portnoy
YOUNG CHILDREN ASK adults this question: Where do people go when they die? Although each reassuring answer is different, they all lead back to the same simple truth: When people die, "they go to God, who is everywhere." This book includes an afterward and helpful suggestions for parents.
By Brenda A. Ferber
CARA SEGAL IS A BORN WORRIER. She figures her worrying works like a whisper in God's ear---if Cara's concerned about car crashes, kidnappings, or murders, she lets God know, and he always spares her. But Cara never thought to worry about a fire.
One night, while she's sleeping at a friend's house, Cara's house catches fire, and her mother and younger sister are both killed.
Throughout shiva, the initial Jewish mourning period, Cara can't help but worry about God's role in the tragedy. And what is her father's role in her life now? He walks around like a ghost and refuses to talk about the fire. Cara longs for her family and her home, where sweet smells filled the house as Cara's mom filled orders for her catering business, Julia's Kitchen.
Then one day a call comes in for a cookie order, and Cara gets a wild idea. Maybe by bringing back Julia's Kitchen, she can find a way to reconnect with everything she's lost.