To celebrate World Book Day 2021, we thought we’d round up some of our favourite books that talk about death and coping with grief. Reading is a great way to escape and get lost in a new world, but it’s also really useful for making sense of real life. Below we’ll give you a taster of what these books are all about, most of them should be available online, in small book shops or in a library.
First up, we’ve got “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse”. This book by Charlie Mackesy gives us a window to all the emotions we can have when we are struggling with something in life.
With the help of these four unlikely friends, we are shown some of our most difficult feelings in a positive new light. Each character shows us the different parts of a person feeling these emotions. There’s the curious boy, the excited but a bit greedy mole, the shy fox who has been hurt and the clever horse who acts as the deepest part of us. The book quickly became a best-seller and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. It is made for people aged 12 and up, but we think it’s great for all ages!
Best Bits: “‘What is the bravest thing that you’ve ever said?’ asked the boy. ‘Help’ said the horse."
Next up, some people really like “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst. The story goes that a brother and sister are woken up by a storm and want their mum to stay in the room so that they don’t feel alone. But their mum teaches them about the invisible string, which connects friends and family with love no matter how far away they are. People really like this book, because it’s a great way to learn how we are connected to those we love most, even when they're not with us. This book is suited for people aged between 4-8 years old.
Best Bits: “Isn’t it just so pretty to think, all along there was some invisible string tying you to me?”
Another book people find really helpful, is "What On Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?" by Trevor Romain. This book does a great job of showing us ways to deal with the difficult emotions we feel when someone dies. There are lots of pictures throughout the book and it's full of great advice, like ways to remember someone who has died. Lots of people say that the book is comforting and reassuring, which is really useful for people who are grieving. The author himself knows what it's like when someone special dies, as the book answers Trevor's own questions he had when his dad died. The book is written for kids, but it's also useful for parents, youth workers and teachers.
Best Bits: "The more you discuss the death, the less scary it becomes."
For those of you who are older, you might find these books more useful as they are aimed at young people and adults:
- Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving - Julia Samuel - This book shows us the ways grief can change us, helping us understand who we truly are. It gives some eye opening insights into stories of people who have experienced both huge grief and love.
- We Get It: Voices of Grieving College Students and Young People - Heather Servaty-Seib and David Fajgenbaum - This book is designed specifically for young people and students dealing with death. It follows the stories of 33 bereaved students and young adults.
Now you didn’t think we’d make a whole book review page without giving our own booklets some praise, did you? So far we’ve made five booklets, which help young people of all ages understand the death of their sibling. Some are for people whose brother has died and others are for people whose sister has died. We also have a booklet that explains grief and the grieving process. All of our booklets are easy to read, ready to personalise and designed for young people. They also have spaces where you can draw things to help you understand your emotions and remember your sibling. If you’d like to have a booklet of your own, just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us which one you’d like. Then we’ll just need your address to send it to you free of charge!