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Patient and family resources
Patient and family resources

Books and Internet Resources on Coping with Serious Illness, Grief and Bereavement

Resources for Grieving Families

Some of these books are older but still very valuable. If you are looking for a resource or have one to share, please email grief.support@sickkids.ca and we will respond. 

Books for Grieving Parents (for themselves and to help their children)

Davis, D.L. (1996). Empty cradle, broken heart: surviving the death of your baby. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing. 

Fitzgerald, H. (1992) The Grieving Child- a parent’s guide. A Fireside Book: New York.

Gunkel, V. (1999) Helping Children Understand Death. Ontario Funeral Services Association: Toronto.

Ilse, S., Hammer Burns, L. and Erling Martinez, S. (1996) Sibling Grief. Wintergreen Press: Maple Plain, MN.

Johnson, J. & Johnson, M. (1998). Children Grieve, too- helping children cope with grief. Centering Corporation.

Kuebelbeck, A. & Davis, D.L. (2011). A gift of time: continuing your pregnancy when your baby's life is expected to be brief. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. 

Leitao, Vince (2015). Jonathan, Do you know me? https://www.createspace.com/5818686 

Morash, Shari (2014) Loving your baby- a gentle and practical guide to parenting through miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death. Guelph, Ontario, Canada: Loving Your Baby Books.  www.lovingyourbaby.ca

Nussbaum, Kathy (1998). Preparing the children: information and Ideas for families facing terminal illness and death. Gifts of Hope: Kodiak, AK.

Wolfelt, A, D. (1990) A Child’s View of Grief- A guide for caring adults. Service Corporation International.

Woodward, J. (1999) The Lone Twin- Understanding twin bereavement and loss. Free Association Books: London.

Books for Older Kids (12 and above)

Grollman, E.A. (1990). Talking about death: A dialogue between parent and child  Beacon Press: Boston, MA.  

Turner, M. (1998). Talking with children and young people about death and dying: A workbook. Jessica Kingsley Publishers:London & Philadelphia. 

Mellonie, R., & Ingpen, R. (1983). Lifetimes: A beautiful way to explain death to children. Bantam Books: New York ,NY. 

Maple, M. (1992). On the wings of a butterfly: A story about life and death. Parenting Press: Seattle, WA. 

Talbot, K. (2002). What Forever Means After the Death of a Child Transcending the Trauma, Living with the Loss. Brunner-Routledge: London, England. 

Other Books to Help Children and Their Families

Bereavement Services RTS (1998). Talking with Children about Perinatal Loss. Bereavement Services: La Crosse, WI.

Blanford, C. (2010). My baby Big Sister. Ananda Press: Western Springs, IL. 

Blanford, C. (2008). Something Happened- a book for children and parents who have experienced pregnancy loss. Something Happened: Western Springs, IL. 

Boritzer, E. (2000). What is Death? Veronica Lane Books: Santa Monica, CA.

Boulden, J. &Boulden,  J. (1995). When Death Happens. Boulden Publishing: Weaverville, CA.

Buscaglia, L. (2002). The Fall of Freddy the Leaf- A Story of Life for All Ages.  Slack Incorporated: Thoeofare, NJ.

Butler, S. (2008). A Letter from Heaven. AuthorHouse: Bloomington, IN.

Butler, S. (2009). We Do Remember You. Enheart Publishing: Charlotte, NC

Coleman, P. (1995). Where the balloons go? Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE. 

Cressman, A.S. ((2014). I think of you every day. Canada: Amanda Cressman www.touchstonehealth.ca/ithinkofyoueveryday

Dernederlanden, C. (2000). Where is Robert? Roberts Press: St. Catherine’s Ontario. 

Erling, J. (1998) Our Baby Died-Why? A journal and workbook for children. deRuyter-Nelson Publications, Inc.: St. Paul., MN.

Foster-Morgan, K. (1995) Sunflower Mountain. Sunflower Publications: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Grollman, E. A. (1990) Talking about Death- a dialogue between parent and child. Beacon Press: Boston.

Gryte, M. (1999) No New Baby- for siblings who have a brother or sister die before birth. Centering Corporation: Omaha. 

Hansen, W. (1997) The Next Place. Waldman House Press, Inc.: Minneapolis.

Heegaard, M. (1988) When Someone Very Special Dies- Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief. Woodland Press: Minneapolis, MN.

Heegaard, M. (1991) When someone has a very serious illness- Children can learn to cope with loss and change. Woodland Press: Minneapolis, MN.

Heegaard, M. (1991). When something terrible happens- children can learn to cope with grief. Woodland Press: Minneapolis, MN.

Johnson, J,.and Dr. S.M. (1998). Children Die, Too. Centering Corporation: Omaha.

Johnson, J. (2001). The Very Beautiful Dragon. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.

Johnson, J. & Grollman, E.A. (2001). A child’s book about burial and cremation. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.

Johnson, J. & Grollman, E.A. (2001). A child’s book about funerals and cemeteries. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.

Johnson, J. and S.M. (2005 reprint). Tell me Papa- answers to questions children ask about death and dying. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.

Johnson, M. (2003). Where’s Jess? Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.

Josephson, K.B. & Sourkes, B.M. (1995). My Life is feelings. (English and French). University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh, PA.

Karst, Patrice (2014). The Invisible String.  DeVorss & Company: Camarillo, CA. www.devorss.com

Krasny Brown, L, and Brown, M (1998). When Dinosaurs Die- A Guide to Understanding Death. Little, Brown and Company: Boston.

Keough, P, (2001). Remembering Our Baby: a workbook for brothers or sisters whose baby dies before birth. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.

Klicker, R. L. (1988). Kolie and the Funeral. Thanos Institute: Amherst NY.

Lewis, A. (2005). When someone you love has cancer- a guide to help kids cope. One Caring Place: St. Meinrad, IN.

Mills, J.C. (2004). Gentle willow- a story for children about dying. Washington DC: Magination Press. 

Mills, J.C. (1992) Little tree: A story for children with serious medical problems. New York: Magination Press

Munoz-Kiehne, M. (2000). Since My Brother Died. (English and Spanish together) Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.

Myers Trunz, D. (2001/2004) Laughter in the Wind. Cheerful Cherub Press. Lakewood, CO.

Old, W.C. (1995). Stacy had a little sister. Albert Whitman & Company: Morton Grove, Ill.

Peterkin, A. (1992) What About me? When brothers and sisters get sick. Magination Press: New York.

Posen Young, R. (2001) Samantha’s Unicorn. Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care: Toronto.

Posen Young, R. (2003) Jamie’s Rainbow. Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care: Toronto.

Samuels, V. (2005) Always My Twin- for young children who have experienced the death of their twin sibling. Trafford Publishing: Victoria, BC 

Schwiebert, P. & DeKlyen, C. (1999). Tear Soup. Grief Watch: Portland, OR.

Schwiebert, Pat (2003) We were gonna have a baby, but we had an angel instead. Grief Watch: Portland, OR.

Schwiebert, Pat (2007). Someone came before you. Grief Watch: Portland, OR.

Shibley Abbott, Susan (1996) Lessons. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.

Silverman, J. (1999). Help me say goodbye- activities for helping kids cope when a special person dies. Fairview Drive: Minneapolis, MN.

Silverman, P. R. (2000) Never Too Young to Know- death in children’s lives. Oxford University Press: New York.

Sims, A. (2011).  My Always Sister - coloring book. St. Paul, MN: deRuyter-Nelson Publications Inc.

Stickney, D. (2004). Water bugs & dragonflies- explaining death to young children. The Pilgrim Press: Cleveland, OH.

Stillwell, E. (1998). Sweet Memories- for children and adults... to create healing and loving memories for holidays and other special days. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.

Thomas, M.W. (2005). What does “died” mean? (Navajo) Salina Bookshelf, Inc.: Flagstaff, AR.

Vogel, R. H.  (1994) The Snowman- A book about children and grief. Centering Corporation: Omaha.

Wolfelt, A. D. (1996). How I feel- a coloring book for grieving children. Batesville Management Services: USA.

Wolfelt, A. D. (2001). Healing your grieving heart for kids- 100 practical ideas- simple advice and activities for children after a death. Companion Press: Fort Collins, CO.

Wolfelt, A. D. (2001). Healing your grieving heart for teens- 100 practical ideas- simple tips for understanding and expressing your grief. Companion Press: Fort Collins, CO.

Resources in French (recommended by a Grief Counsellor in Quebec focused on Perinatal Loss)

  • "Fausse couche Vrai deuil" by Manon Cyr and Isabelle Clément for losses in the first trimester up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • "Les rêves envolés" by Suzy Fréchette-Piperniis  is a good resource for perinatally bereaved parents.
  • For children, my favorite book is called "L'histoire de minuit, la chatte dont le frère nouveau-né est mort"

Internet Resources for Coping with Serious Illness, Grief and Bereavement

1. The Courageous Parents Network- a wonderful website that is family friendly and helps families and caregivers to think about their child with a significant illness.  

2. KidsGrief.ca- a brand new (November 2017) grief resource for families helping grieving children. This resource is Canadian! 

3. The Sibling Connection-  this website has some amazing resources to help parents to help their kids, and provide a great context for parents who are trying to understand their children’s grief. 

4. The Dougy Centre- The Dougy Center provides support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults, and their families grieving a death can share their experiences. We provide support and training locally, nationally and internationally to individuals and organizations seeking to assist children in grief. We are supported solely through private support from individuals, foundations and companies. The Dougy Center does not charge a fee for its services.

5. Loving Your Baby- This website was created to provide a Canadian context to perinatal and pediatric grief. The author has developed a book and workbook for grieving families and is currently working on an updated version to the book to support families whose children have died.  It is a great resource. 

6. Forever Heart Publishing- This website has a wonderful online book you can purchase written by Michelle, mother of Tyler who died unexpectedly after surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.  I will Hold You in My Heart Forever-A Baby Book for Little Angels was created to provide Michelle and other parents and families a scrapbook to tell the story of their child who died, just like a baby book for healthy children.  Each page is PDF'd so you can print it out yourself (only $5.00 to print) and only use the pages you need.  It is designed to fit into a standard binder so that you can continue to add to your child's story whenever you need to.  If you are looking for a scrapbook that is appropriate for older children who have died, she has added pages that you can purchase in hard copy, if you contact Michelle directly (michelle@foreverheart.ca). 

7. Men's Grief by Tom Golden- this website was created by therapist Tom Golden who offers books, web seminars and wonderful resources for people who want to have a greater understanding of the masculine grief experience.  His book "Swallowed by a Snake" is excellent and he continues to write from his clinical work in ways that empower grieving dads and others to access the support that they need. 

8. Jonathan- Do You Know Me? Written by father, Vince Leitao, this book is a reflective expression of a father's journey through his son Jonathan's cancer and subsequent death.  Vince has a website that speaks to his experiences of "journeying through grief.