Death, Grieving, and Healing

The Color of AbsenceTHE COLOR OF ABSENCE: 12 STORIES ABOUT LOSS AND HOPE edited by James Howe (Atheneum, 2001). A collection of short stories for teens. Contributors include Avi, C. B. Christiansen, James Howe, Angela Johnson, Annette Curtis Klause, Chris Lynch, Norma Fox Mazer, Walter Dean Myers, Naomi Shihab Nye, Michael J. Rosen, Roderick Townley, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Jacqueline Woodson. Ages 12-up. CYALR RECOMMENDED.

EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS by Deborah Wiles (Harcourt, 2005). Comfort Snowberger, age 10, and her family "live to serve." As owners of a small-town funeral home, they honor the dead and support those left behind. Comfort has grown-up sensitive but matter-of-fact about death, even when it strikes those she loves most. Her cousin Peach, on the other hand, is a messy, mortifying disaster, a burden and an embarrassment, and her best friend Declaration at times a prickly mystery. Not that Comfort is left to cope alone. She has a family, a whole community behind her, and the world's best funeral dog, Dismay. Ages 8-12. More on this title from Cynsations.

GRANDMA'S SHOES by Libby Hathorn, illustrated by Elivia Salvadier (Little Brown, 1992; Hodder Headline (Austrailia, 200). A young girl slips on her late grandmother's shoes and finds herself on a journey of memories. Ages 4-up. Out of print in the U.S., but available in libraries. Produced as an opera by Opera Australia and Theatre of Image.

GOODBYE MOUSIE by Robie Harris, illustrated by Jan Ormerod (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2001). The story of a little boy who wakes up to discover that his pet mouse has died. After expressing anger and disbelief, the boy learns that sadness and memories are part of saying goodbye. Ages 4-8.

ONE APRIL MORNING: CHILDREN REMEMBER THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING by Nancy Lamb, Floyd Cooper (Illustrator) (Lothrop Lee & Shepard, 1996). Out of print, but you can still hunt down copies if you try. Ages: all.

RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee)(HarperCollins, 2001). Cassidy Rain Berghoff didn’t know that the very night she decided to get a life would be the night that Galen would lose his. It’s been six months since her best friend died, and up until now, Rain has succeeded in shutting herself off from the world. But when controversy arises around her aunt Georgia’s Indian Camp in their mostly white Kansas community, Rain decides to face the world again—at least through the lens of a camera. (Features interracial individuals, families and relationships, overlapping between African, European, and Native Americans). Ages 10-up.

THE TENTH GOOD THING ABOUT BARNEY by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Erik Blegvad (Atheneum, 1999). A young boy copes with the death of his cat, Barney. Ages 4-8.

A TERRIBLE THING HAPPENED by Margaret M. Holmes, illustrated by Cary Pillo (Magination Press, 2000). A bibliotherapy-style look at the symptoms that can plague children who've witnessed something traumatic and how such children might work through/communicate about them. A springboard for discussion. Ages 4-up. Magination Press (American Psychological Association) offers a complete line of self-help books.

This Book Is For All Kids Especially My Sister Libby. Libby Died.THIS BOOK IS FOR ALL KIDS, BUT ESPECIALLY MY SISTER, LIBBY. LIBBY DIED. by Jack Simon, illustrated by Annette Simon (Idea University Press, 2000). Highly graphic and touching. Written by a young boy. Ages 4-8.

THROUGH THE MICKLE WOODS by Valiska Gregory, illustrated by Barry Moser (publication information). A folk tale feeling to grief and healing. Out of print but check libraries and used book stores. Ages 3-up.