grief and loss books for kids?

I had a dream last night that I was in my grandma’s house, and a winter wind was blowing around the house, blowing so hard that parts of the walls were blowing in and the frigid, snowy air was beginning to howl through the rooms. My grandparents were dead and gone, as they are now, but other people were coming and going in the household, much like when we had so many guests before and after the funerals. At one point I decided to leave and go back to my cottage. I stepped out of the house and was lifted and pummeled by the rough, hurricane-force wind.

And then… the wind was gone. The air became still. I walked toward my cottage from the house on green grass in still, mild air and suddenly my grandma was beside me, in her blue coat and purple fuzzy hat, still old and hunched over, but there. I knew she was dead but clutched her apparition fiercely, begging her not to leave me to go back to the other side. She told me that she could not leave yet, for now she was still walking beside me. She told me I should go home, and not try to stay at the house where she’d lived. She was as calm and practical as she ever was during my childhood. She didn’t say much, but walked me home, reminding me not to overreact the whole time. Get on with life, she seemed to say. You’ve never been good with change, Edith. But how silly, I’m still right here, not even gone. It’s just a house, you know. The grandma who used to tell me “this too shall pass” was there, telling me not to fret, not to struggle, and not to resist change.

Why, it’s as if she’d never left. Except, of course, it isn’t.

I woke up feeling as if I’d actually spent time with her, and the feelings of grief and loss then flooded in fresh all over again.

Back to the title of the post: does anyone have any books they’d recommend for preschoolers regarding the loss of grandparents or older relatives? M is now mentioning her Gigi and Grampa who died every day. She was playing on the piano and said, “this is a song about Gigi and Grampa who died in my heart”. She mentions feeling like crying because they died and went to the sky when we drive past their house. She talks about death. I think all of the talking is healthy, and I’m glad she’s opening up about it, but I was wondering if there were any good books out there for our bedtime reading repertoire…

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Categories: loss and grief

2 Comments »

  1. The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

    My Father’s Arms Are a Boat by Steve Erik Lunde

    The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

    In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

    The first two are lovely short stories about a personal loss. In one, a little girl has lost her dad or grandpa and decides to stop using her heart so it won’t hurt anymore. In the second, a child and his/her father are mourning the loss of her mother.

    Invisible string is a mom telling her kids how we are always connected to those we love, including people in heaven.

    In My Heart isn’t specifically about grief, but it talks about all the different feelings we have.

    All are good, but I especially love the illustrations and stories of the first two.

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