When a close friend or family member dies, it can be difficult for children to express their feelings. This book helps boys and girls understand that death is a natural complement to life, and that grief and a sense of loss are normal feelings for them to have following a loved one’s death. Titles in this sensitively presented series explore the dynamics of various relationships experienced by children of preschool through early school age. Kids are encouraged to understand personal feelings and social problems as a first step in dealing with them. Written by psychotherapist and counselor Pat Thomas, these books promote positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers. The story lines are simple and direct–easily accessible to younger children. There are full-color illustrations on every page.
Barnes & Noble
My husband died six months ago. I have three small children ages 4, 7, and 9 Even though I have been taking them to counseling, I had been trying to find appropriate books to help them cope with the loss of their father. I came across this book and read it to them many times. They loved the book and were very happy I purchased it for them. I left it on their night stand and have seen them read it on their own several times since. I beleive it is an outstanding book.
Most young kids have a hard time grasping the abstract concepts involved with death, grief, and loss. Finding a good children’s book to help can be challenging because peoples’ views about death are widely divergent, which makes choosing what book is right for your family a very personal decision.
The words in “I Miss You” talk generally about death while the pictures show the more specific story of a little girl coping with the death of her grandmother. The book has several messages in it that I like: death is a natural part of life, like birth; it is normal to regret things you said (or didn’t say) to the person before they died, but that whatever you said didn’t make the person die; coping with the death of someone you love is a process that can take a long time. The book takes a spiritual but non-religious approach to what happens after death, describing the soul as like a raindrop that joins with the great ocean after death.
Young children frequently can’t express what they are feeling and using a picture book can help them to begin to understand abstract issues like death and loss. “I Miss You: A First Look at Death” is general enough to serve as a springboard for future discussion but specific enough to cover the topic even when the parent reading the book aloud is at a loss for words.
We have added this book to our short-list collection of books dealing with loss. It is an excellent secular discussion about dying. In it the author states, “Death is a natural part of life. All living things grow, change and eventually die.” On the page where this text appears is a dying tree; on the facing page is a fallen bird. When the book reaches human loss, there’s a question at the bottom of the page designed to help adults guide a child in a brief discussion by asking, “What about you? Has anyone you know died? How did they die?”
This book helps children (and adults, too) deal with the loss of loved ones, its accompanying grief, and even guilt. Likening one’s soul to a raindrop that joins other raindrops in the ocean is brilliant! At the end of the book is a section on how to use the book; a short glossary (funeral, soul, and grief) which could’ve been expanded to include words like “culture,” “beliefs”, “ceremony”; further reading choices; and a paragraph on resources for grief support. I liked the fact that author Thomas mentions that people of different cultures have some beliefs that are the same and some that are different when it comes to what happens after someone dies. Lesley Harker’s illustrations are lovely and comforting.