Michael Rosen’s Sad Book (age 5- adult)
For a generation of children brought up on Michael Rosen’s hilarious poems about his little son Eddie, his tragic death at the age of 18 was mourned by many people who had never met him, but felt like they had. Michael Rosen’s Sad Book explores his ongoing feelings of grief in a way that resonates with both children and adults.
An invaluable book for any age, the simple text together with Quentin Blake’s poignant illustrations give a voice to those with a shared experience of loss.
Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley (age 4+)
At the end of his long life, Badger realises that his body is slowing down and it will soon be time to go ‘down the Long Tunnel’. Whilst he is at peace with the natural cycle of life and death, he wants to prepare his friends for their sadness by giving them gifts to bring them comfort.
Badger’s Parting Gifts is a gentle, heart-warming story about the power of memories and carrying loved ones in your heart, ideal for supporting young children in their bereavement.
Where do they go? by Julia Alvarez and Sabra Field (age 3+)
Award winning writer and poet Julia Alvarez has created the beautiful verse of Where do they go? to echo children’s many questions about death. By showing the confusion that can be felt around the physical and emotional loss of a loved one, it gives families an opening to explore their own ideas and reflections.
The poem is matched perfectly with the images of woodblock artist Sabra Field. A lovely book to read together again and again.
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech (age 9+)
Sophie has long dreamt of the ocean, and is elated when she is allowed to join her uncles and cousins in crossing the Atlantic together. But their voyage on her uncle’s boat The Wanderer is far from easy, and the journey forces Sophie to face her buried past.
Moving and cathartic whilst always remaining readable and entertaining, Sharon Creech is a master at retaining the perfect balance.
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce (age 10+)
When brothers Damian and Anthony find a huge bag of money, their first problem is what to do with it. Spend it on Sunny Delight and Subbuteo? Buy a house? Or give it to the poor? Woven throughout this humorous story of two brothers’ mishaps when they become unexpectedly richer, is a tale of their grief following the loss of their mother.
A slowly unfolding and touching study of how grief colours every aspect of your life, and the ways in which people find to cope.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane– Kate DiCamillo (age 7+)
Edward Tulane is a china rabbit, living a privileged existence with his owner Abilene. Spoilt and conceited, he cares only for himself and his exquisite outfits. But when Edward is lost, he begins a long, long journey. Unable to move or speak, it is left to the hand of fate to determine where he will end up next. In his years of being lost, found and lost again, the people he meets will change him forever as his joys and sorrows begin to shape his heart.
It is impossible to quantify how wonderful this book is! For an audience of any age, this is both a heart-breaking and life affirming story. (And however many times I read it and promise myself I won’t cry this time, it’s an impossible promise to keep!)