Books for Kids Who Lose Someone by Holly Papa

Many of you know this already, but my Grandpa passed away at the end of January. We expected him to go, and were glad that he no longer suffered the effects of age and illness. However, it was still hard. We only live a few miles away, so we saw him on a regular basis. This was my kids first close experience with human loss- we’ve had pets pass before, and they lost some other great grandparents when they were too young to understand much. So of course, I wanted to find books to help my kids through the grieving process. I haven’t found the perfect book- probably because every circumstance is different. But, here are a few books we have read that have helped us share and deal with our grief. I hope they might help you too.

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The Dragonfly Door by John Adams, illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson is a book that follows the lifecycle of a Dragonfly through a pair of nymph friends, Lea & Nym. Lea is older than Nym, so she changes from nymph to dragonfly ahead of Nym and Nym is left behind wondering what she did wrong for her friend to leave her. It’s a non-denominational way to express a belief in an after-life in a way kids might relate to. It has won many awards (Mom’s Choice, Benjamin Franklin, & Evelyn Turman Young Readers Book Award), and has beautiful illustrations. I personally found the text longer and more cumbersome than necessary, but my kids liked it and we had a great conversation.

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What’s Heaven by Maria Shriver, illustrated by Sandra Speidel

Again, very heavy on the text, but sweet pastel illustrations lend to an angelic feeling in this book. I read it to my kids while they were eating dessert so that their attention span was longer than normal. Despite the long text, there were great discussion points and lots of questions and answers that children deal with whenever someone dies. It follows the journey of Kate, who has just lost her Great Grandmother as she comes to understand that when we lose someone to death, they are still a part of us because they have loved us and taught us things.

Grandpa and Me and the Wishing Star by Barbara J. Porter, illustrated by Dilleen Marsh

This one is also an award winner. Yet again, lots of text (it seems to go hand-in-hand with the subject).

This book reinforces my personal LDS beliefs about death and was a great fit for my kids when their Great-Grandpa passed away. The book starts with a little boy named Jamie and his Grandpa who are best friends. But one day Jamie comes home from school and sees Grandpa being taken away on a stretcher. Later he finds out that Grandpa passed away and he is angry at God for taking him. Jamie goes through some of the stages of grief in a realistic way that I feel is useful for kids to read about so that they know that those feelings are a normal part of grief. My kids had some special experiences with my Grandpa and were able to be with him right up to the end, so they had a lot of feelings to work through.

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Always my Brother by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Phyllis Pollema-Cahill

Cari posted a review of this great book two years ago that helps children deal with the loss of a sibling. Please feel free to check out her review and her interview with author Jean Reagan

Grief is a part of life here on earth- we love people and we miss them when they are no longer with us. What are some of your recommendations of books that help children of all ages through this natural, but often painful process of grieving for a loved one?

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Ungifted by Gordon Korman

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Donovan Curtis is a magnet for trouble. He can’t seem to avoid it no matter where he goes. So when he destroys his middle school gym, he needs a place to hide. When some paperwork gets mixed up in the disaster, Donovan gets the best hideout handed to him on a silver platter. The Academy of Scholastic Distinction- or the gifted school. He knows he’s in major trouble if he’s discovered, so Donovan works hard at school for the first time in his life. The only problem is, how can he hide how ungifted he is? As Donovan embarks on a completely out of character adventure, he finds out how gifted he really is.

This book is perfect for all those kids out there who wonder how they will possibly contribute in the world of academics, when all they want to do is surf the internet and hit stuff. It was a fun read for me and I think you’ll enjoy it too!

Penelope Crumb & Penelope Crumb Never Forgets by Shawn K. Stout

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Penelope is a recent discovery for me- she can be your newest discovery too! I’ve read books 1 & 2 in this brand new series that promises lots of fun and adventure. Penelope’s spunky and annoying and downright adorable. She has parts to her that all of us can identify with and although most of would be happy to be her friend, we might want a break or two once in a while. Penelope Crumb’s the kind of character that gets under your skin and wriggles her way right into your heart. 

These books are perfect for the upper elementary girls in your house, or the ones who are still young at heart. 

J. Scott Savage is in Boise!

I just thought I’d give you all a head’s up that your first night of spring break could be spent doing something awesome! If you are going out of town, then the night before spring break could be spent doing something awesome!

What is it you ask? Well, dear readers, you can go to a…

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… book signing. Yes, that’s right! J. Scott Savage, author of the Far World Series (I haven’t read them yet, but I want to), is coming to do a book signing at our very own Deseret Book!

Details:

Thursday, March 21st, 6:30-8:30PM at the Meridian, Idaho Deseret Book

Friday, March 22nd, 6:30-8:30PM at the Boise, Idaho Deseret Book

He has other books too, in case Zombies are your style… check out this one:

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What? You’ve never been to a book signing? Book signings are so fun people! You get to stand in a line (that’s not the really good part, come back here!) The best part comes when you get to the front of the line. That’s when you get to meet really cool people called authors. What? You want to know how I know Mr. Savage is cool? Okay, I’ll tell you: He’s teaching a class at WIFYR this summer. You know, that amazing writer’s conference Cari and I keep telling you guys about every summer? Well, they only let cool authors come there. That’s how I know. And I would love to go to his class. I would sign up tomorrow if I could. But, I already agreed to take 25 giggly girls on a campout all week. Yeah, it’ll be fun. So you should sign up and go instead of me. Then you can tell me what I missed out on. We could be writing buddies!

Get ready to kick off your spring break to a fantastic start! It’s also a great finish to read week if you happen to be celebrating that this week at your school. My kids are at theirs, and Mr. Savage is even doing school visits. Is he coming to your school? He’s coming to ours, and I am so excited. I should go back to school just so I can be part of things like that.

Okay, okay, okay, I know you all don’t want to write books. You like to read them. So go! Write it down on your calendar, don’t miss it. Your kids need something great to read over spring break!