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Death
Everett Anderson's Good-bye;  Lucille Clifton; 1983; ages 3 to 6; fiction. A preschooler tries to come to terms with his father's death. Very few words, black-and-white drawings; articulates the five stages of grief. One in a series about an African-American toddler.
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs;  Tomie De Paola; 1973; ages 4 to 10; fiction. A quiet and loving story about the death of a grandmother. Addresses what it means to be young, old, very old, and finally to die.
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to a Child;  Bryon Mellonie and Robert Ingpen; 1986; ages 4 to 10; nonfiction. Using photos of butterflies, apples, rabbits, and people, the authors explain death as part of the natural lifetime of all living things.
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney;  Judith Viorst; 1971; ages 4 to 8; fiction. What do you do when your cat dies? You cry, have a funeral, and think of the 10 best things about him. Viorst's classic, this is probably the best known young children's book about death. Moving videotape with same title.
Badger's Parting Gifts;  Susan Varley; 1984; ages 4 to 8; fiction. Wise old Badger knows he must soon be "going down the long tunnel" and hopes that his friends will not be too sad. Pooh-like illustrations and gentle writing make this an uplifting story.
A Birthday Present for Daniel;  Juliet Rothman; 1995; ages 5 to 10; fiction. Mom, Dad, and two school-age girls remember their older brother by launching balloons on his birthday.
I'll Always Love You;  Hans Wilheim; 1985; ages 6 to 10; fiction. A little boy and his dog grow up together, but Elfie grows faster and soon becomes old. A good discussion starter for young children who lose a beloved pet.
Saying Goodbye to Daddy;  Judith Vigna; ages 6 to 9; 1991; fiction. Lovely story of a child who is trying to understand why her father was killed in a car accident.
Good-bye Papa;  Una Leavy; 1996; ages 5 to 10; fiction. Elegant prose and extraordinary illustrations convey feelings of love, life, and the power of beautiful memories.
Saying Good-bye to Grandma;  Jane Resh Thomas; 1988; ages 8 to 12; fiction. Text and watercolor illustrations tell a child's point of view of the week her grandmother dies. Describes the wake, the funeral, and going home again. Helpful preparation for an impending real situation.
Dusty Was My Friend: Coming To Terms With Loss;  Andrea Fleck Clardy; 1984; ages 8 to 12; fiction. An 8-year old boy comes to terms with the death of his friend. The story gracefully addresses the universal questions: Why Dusty? Whose fault is it? Will it happen to me?
Bridge to Terabithia;  Katherine Patterson; 1977; ages 10 to 14; fiction; Newbury Award. The times Jess and Leslie shared in their fantasy kingdom of Terabithia enable Jess to cope with Leslie's unexpected death. Although it always is included as a book about death, this extraordinary novel is a celebration of life.
There Are Two Kinds of Terrible;   Peggy Mann; 1977; ages 12 to adult; fiction. Fifteen-year-old Rob finds out what the worst kind of terrible is when his mother dies of cancer and leaves him with his "cold fish" father. A moving story that has a hopeful ending.
Tiger Eyes;  Judy Blume; 1981; ages 14 to adult; fiction; violent death of father. Fifteen-year-old Davey learns to give up her anger and fear after her father is shot during a robbery. Confronts a variety of ideas about natural and violent death, war, and the atomic bomb.
A Kid's Book About Death and Dying By and For Kids;  Eric Rofes and the Unit at Fayerweather St. School; 1985; ages 12 to adult; nonfiction. Understandings, attitudes, and experiences of kids dealing with death. Includes a definition of death and discussions about euthanasia, funerals, causes of death, and violent death.
Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parents and Children;  Earl Grollman; 1991; adults and children; nonfiction. A good source book to help parents help their children through loss. Lists of resources and a bibliography.
The Grieving Child: A Parent's Guide;  Helen Fitzgerald; 1992; adults; nonfiction. In an easy-to-read format, the psychologist-author gives advice to help children in the face of death.
Adapted from:  Ellen C. Perrin, MD Susan Starr, MEd Addressing Common Pediatric Concerns Through Children's Books. Pediatrics in Review. 2000;21:130-138.  © 2000 American Academy of Pediatrics
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