As you’re reading The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin in bed (or in your favorite armchair), feel free to share these picture books with your children.
For every “mommy book” read, I’ll suggest a “me book” for your children with a similar theme. It is my hope that this “Mommy and Me” book club is a fun activity for you and your children.
5 Picture Books About Death
Duck has an eerie feeling; it turns out Death has been following Duck all her life. They become friends and chat about life and the afterlife. This book discusses death using a straightforward yet elegant approach. (Age Range: 8 years and up)
2. Where Do They Go? (2016) | Julia Alvarez
Alvarez doesn’t lighten up the subject of death, but tackles it head-on. She uses poetry to ponder the questions we’ve all had after a loss. This serious and beautiful book tackles a tough concept. (Age Range: 3-7 years)
Oftentimes, a child’s first encounter with death is through the loss of a beloved family pet. A child’s cat, Barney, dies and the mother suggests they think of ten good things to say about Barney, but the child can only think of nine. This book sweetly consoles grieving readers in an honest and direct manner. (Age Range: 6-9 years)
4. Death Is Stupid (2016) | Anastasia Higginbotham
Everyone’s experience of death is personal. A person’s grief and pain isn’t any more or any less than another person’s – it’s just different. This book speaks to the reader in a frank and unapologetic voice. (Age Range: 4-8 years)
5. The Heart and the Bottle (2010) | Oliver Jeffers
A girl, experiencing the pain of her dad’s death, locks her heart and grief in a bottle. However, in doing so, she also locks up any possibility for joy. This book explores what readers endure when they lose that special someone who showed them the magic and wonder in the world. (Age Range: 4-8 years)
A Final Thought – From the Pillow
Life is filled with ups and downs, light and darkness.
So don’t be afraid to explain the dark side of life, if necessary, to the inquisitive child. In an ideal world, a child wouldn’t have to experience death of any kind until he or she is fully mature. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for some children. Fortunately, there’s “bibliotherapy”, a genre of books that can heal the troubled soul. And if a book doesn’t offer relief, then a sibling will.
What other picture books would you add to the list?