When a child loses a loved one, even if it’s a pet, the child can have a difficult time understanding and accepting the loss. Just think about how hard it is for adults to come to terms with death, it’s even worse for someone as innocent as a child. To help children understand and work through the emotions of their loss, bibliotherapy can be a huge help. This is the process of using books that are read by or read to the child as a therapeutic solution to what could be emotional and behavioural problems. Here is a list of a few books for kids that address the touchy subject of dying:
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia - As Freddie experiences the changing seasons with the other leaves, he learns that death is part of life.
I Had a Friend Named Peter by Janice Cohn - When Betsy learns about the death of a friend, her parents and kindergarten teacher answer questions about dying, funerals, and the burial process.
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst - Narrated by a child whose cat, Barney, has just died.
When Dinosaurs Die by Laurie Krasny Brown - Addresses children’s fears and curiosity head-on by answering some very basic questions: “Why does someone die?” “What does dead mean?” “What comes after death?”
When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers - Helps children share feelings of the loss of a pet while offering reassurance that grieving is a natural, healing thing to do.
Where Are You? by Laura Olivieri -This story about the death of a young boy’s father and the lonely absences from his life, as well as the ultimate realization that it is within his heart and memory that he will continue to be close to his father.