It Can Be Hard to Say Goodbye: New Kids' Books

March 26, 2016 | shannon k.

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Death is not an easy subject to broach with little ones. Sometimes stories about death and dying can be a gentle way to introduce the topic of death to children. Three new books have taken different approaches to the subject in a gentle and reassuring way.

The Dead Bird   Little Meadow Mouse   Cry Heart But Never Break

The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown, Pictures by Christian Robinson

The Dead Bird was originally published in 1938 by the author of the well-known classic Goodnight Moon. This reprint features updated and beautiful illustrations by Christian Robinson. A group of children playing in an urban park find a dead bird on the ground. The children are sad and decide to give the bird a proper burial and funeral. Singing songs to the bird helps them to say goodbye. The children plant flowers on the bird’s grave and create a headstone so that they can remember the little bird. This simple funeral for a dead bird in the park demonstrates the sensibility of small children and the grief that they can feel for any living creature.

Little Meadow Mouse by Annemie Vandaele and Alexandra Kervyn

The story of the little meadow mouse tells a story of the death of a newborn infant. The soft illustrations and rhythmic text helps the reader understand that Little Meadow Mouse was ill and has passed away. Mommy Meadow Mouse sends her little baby to “the other side” and the simple act of writing the baby’s name in the sand helps everyone to heal from their loss. Squirrel reminds Mommy Meadow Mouse that they will miss Little Meadow Mouse and not forget him.

Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved, Illustrated by Charlotte Pardi

For many children losing a grandparent will be their first experience with death. In this story Death is personified and comes to visit a home where four young children live with their sick grandmother. They know who Death is and try everything in their power to delay the reason he is there. Death helps the children come to terms with their grandmother's death by telling them a story about Joy and Sorrow and they understand that with life comes a time for death.

When Spring Comes

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes, Illustrated by Laura Dronzek

I thought I would end on a more cheerful note with the newest from Kevin Henkes. Spring will come soon even though it does “change its mind a lot.” We can be patient and wait together!

Happy Spring!