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Grief and Mourning

Whether it is the death of a friend or relative, or a stranger in another land, or the death of a beloved pet, death affects gifted children with a depth and power that often takes us by surprise.  This list includes books and other resources that gifted parents and professionals have found useful when dealing with death and the gifted child or young adult, as well as for themselves. 

If you find yourself on this page in need, please accept our sincere condolences for your loss.

People...       (click for resources about Pets)

After You Lose Someone You Love: Advice And Insight From The Diaries Of Three Kids Who've Been There by Amy Dennison, Allie Dennison, and David Dennison
The real-life journal of three children whose father died suddenly...
 
Annie and the Old One by Miska Miles
When Annie's Navajo grandmother says that when Annie's mother's rug is completely woven that the grandmother will die, Annie tries to hold back time by unweaving the rug in secret... (picture book for all ages)
 
Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley 
All the woodland creatures love old Badger, and when he dies, they are overwhelmed by their loss. Then, they begin to remember, and through their memories, the animals find the strength to face the future with hope
 
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
A novel (upper elementary or middle school) about two childhood friends separated suddenly by death.  Paterson handles the situation quite beautifully and affords a real opportunity for parents to discuss the matter of death with their kids
 
Bruderhof Grief Companion 
Everyone grieves differently. But no one needs to carry grief alone. Whatever loss you are grieving, here you can share your loss with others, and find material that other grieving people have found helpful and comforting. Grieving takes time. Take time to grieve
 
Dealing with Death 
PBS On Line high school unit, This guide suggests several writing and group activities that address perceptions and emotions related to death...
 
Eight myths about children, adolescents and loss by Kenneth J. Doka, Living with Grief: Children, Adolescents and Loss
Common myths and practical suggestions, about children and adolescents and how they deal with loss and grief.  Also by Doka A Guide to Children's Grief
 
GrievingChild.org by a service of the Dougy Center
With sections for young kids, older kids, and adults who know a grieving child, this site offers kids help and support through the sharing of other kids...
 
A Guide for Those Helping Others with Grief  or  Una guía para ésos que ayudan a otros con pena
Excerpted from I Wasn't Ready to Say Good-bye: a guide for surviving, coping and healing after the sudden death of a loved one by Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair
 
Helping Teens Cope with Death by The Dougy Center
Adolescence is a period of profound changes. When a teen also deals with a major loss, those developmental changes and the turmoil they create, can be compounded. This book helps adults to better understand how a death of a family member or friend can impact a teen and how to help
 
Helping Children Cope With the Loss of a Loved One: A Guide for Grownups by William C. Kroen and Pamela Espeland 
Practical advice to help children of all ages through the process of grieving, from our friends at Free Spirit Press...
 
I Will Remember You by Laura Dower
When someone close dies, life as a teen can seem almost unbearable.  An inspirational and accessible guide to coping with loss...
 
Living When a Loved One Has Died Recommended by Earl Grollman
...explains what emotions to expect when mourning, what pitfalls to avoid, and how to work through feelings of loss. Suitable for pocket or bedside, this gentle book guides the lonely and suffering as they move through the many facets of grief, begin to heal, and slowly build new lives (teen to adult)
 
Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie
A pet . . . a friend . . . or a relative dies, and it must be explained to a child. This sensitive book is a useful tool in explaining to young children that death is a part of life and that, eventually, all living things reach the end of their own special lifetimes.  It even deals briefly with sickness cutting the lifetime short.  An excellent resource...
 
Listen! Recommended by Stephanie Tolan
Award-winning story about a girl who loses her mom, and finds herself, with the help of a wild dog... Christopher Award, for media that “salutes the highest values of the human spiritˮ (all readers)
 
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Devastating but beautifully written story of a boy's all-consuming guilt over the role he plays in the death of his best friend...
 
The Saddest Time by Norma Simon
Illness, accident, and old age provide three different scenarios in which children experience powerful emotions when someone close has died.  For children of many ages
 
Straight Talk About Death for Teenagers: How to Cope With Losing Someone You Love by Earl Grollman
With brief entries such as "Accidental Death," "Self-Inflicted Death," "Talking," "Crying," and "Going Nuts," Grollman offers advice and answers the kinds of questions that teens are likely to ask themselves when grieving the death of someone close...
 
Talking about Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child by Earl Grollman
Why do people die? How do you explain the loss of a loved one to a child? This book is a compassionate guide for adults and children to read together, featuring a readalong story, answers to questions children ask about death, and a comprehensive list of resources and organizations that can help
 
Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing after Loss Recommended by Pat Schweibert, Chuck DeKlyen, with Taylor Bills
"There once was an old and somewhat wise woman whom everyone called Grandy..." This modern fable for children who mourn will be sure to help every child and adult deal with the loss of a loved one, or a friend's loss of a loved one.  Also visit Grief Watch for guides and other resources to help reading Tear Soup...
 
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney Recommended by Judith Viorst
Barney was a cat. He died last Friday. And everyone was sad. They did what most people do when a cat they like dies. They had a funeral. And then they tried to think of good things about him. They wanted to remember him as he was; and they thought about some other things, too.  Even though Barney is a pet, many families find this book an excellent resource for the death of a loved one...
 
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
Novel about a teen girl losing her father to a violent crime, and dealing with her grief, her loss and the aftermath in their family... (Young adult)
 
What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies? by Trevor Romain
Someone you love dies, and your whole world changes.  Straight-forward, honest answers to common questions, with permission to feel what you're feeling... and to go on with your life.  Also available on DVD What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?
 
What's Heaven? by Maria Shriver
Borne from actual questions asked by her own daughters, journalist Maria Shriver's book is a gentle narrative following the conversations that pass between a mother and a young daughter in the days immediately following the death of the child's special great-grandmother...
 
What Is Death? by Etan Boritzer
The book asks questions as a child might - what is death, what happens to the body, why does everyone want to know about death, what happens to the inside of a person (their funny stories, feelings, thoughts, ideas, love) when they die? Boritzer talks about what different cultures do with the body, different beliefs of the soul and afterlife (including people who belief nothing happens), and how making life meaningful now can help a person's memory live on...
 
When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens About Grieving & Healing by Marilyn E. Gootman
A simple but powerful book that seems to cover all the little details and big concerns of the gifted child or teen who is dealing with the death of a friend...
 

Pets...       (click for resources about People)

Companion Animal Related Emotions (CARE) Pet Loss Helpline University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
People who are either grieving the loss of a companion animal or are anticipating a loss are encouraged to call (877) 394-CARE (2273).  Visit the site for additional information on the grief process, family grief, reading resources, and more
 
Cat Heaven Recommended by Cynthia Rylant
Sweet, gentle book describes an imaginary cat's life in heaven, the things they would do, and who would care for them...
 
Coping With Sorrow On The Loss Of Your Pet by Cynthia Rylant
A more "grown-up" treatment of the situation...
 
Desser the Best Ever Cat by Maggie Smith
When dogs go to Heaven, they don't need wings because God knows that
dogs love running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields...
 
Dog Heaven Recommended by Cynthia Rylant
When dogs go to Heaven, they don't need wings because God knows that
dogs love running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields...
 
For Every Cat An Angel by Christine Davis
Sweet, gentle book describes an imaginary cat's life in heaven, the things they would do, and who would care for them...
 
For Every Dog An Angel by Christine Davis
Sweet, gentle book describes an imaginary cat's life in heaven, the things they would do, and who would care for them...
 
Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie
A pet . . . a friend . . . or a relative dies, and it must be explained to a child. This sensitive book is a useful tool in explaining to young children that death is a part of life and that, eventually, all living things reach the end of their own special lifetimes...
 
Pet's Death Is a Family Affair CEPS/Veterinary Extension Pet Column
Losing a pet is sometimes just as hard as losing a close friend or family member...
 
Remembering Crystal Sebastian Loth
Written about a goose Zelda whose best friend Crystal, a turtle, dies... Good for loss of pet, or as a metaphor.
 
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney Recommended by Judith Viorst
Barney was a cat. He died last Friday. And everyone was sad. They did what most people do when a cat they like dies. They had a funeral. And then they tried to think of good things about him. They wanted to remember him as he was; and they thought about some other things, too
 
When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers
Mister Rogers helps children share feelings of the loss of a pet while offering reassurance that grieving is a natural, healing thing to do

Last updated January 27, 2013

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