Friday, January 15, 2016


This was the blog post in which I’d intended to write about my many fabulous adventures at ALA and how wonderful Boston was. While I did have adventures (Last Stop on Market Street – wow!) and Boston was wonderful (nicest people ever), I find myself distracted and disoriented by a devastating event in my school community. 

Our school lost a husband to one of our teachers and father to one of our students in a tragic accident this week. His death has shattered a family and a community and I find myself responding in one of the only ways I know how: with books.

I feel we, as librarians, have a calling and a responsibility to our communities. We are keepers of information and guardians of stories. Our skills can help people and have significant impact.

I put together a list of books for my families, students, and faculty that I hope can help start discussion and, perhaps, begin healing. I’m sharing that list here both so that you can use it in your schools and so that you can share additions. In addition, our HVLA colleague Michael Clark also has a wonderful list, including books for parents and caregivers, that he’s previously shared on our listserv.

I’m so grateful to be a part of HVLA and be a part of this fine group of guardians.

with respect,


Books on Loss and Grief for Children

Aliki. The two of them. New York : Mulberry Books, 1987, c1979.
Describes the relationship of a grandfather and his granddaughter from her birth to his death.
Bagley, Jessixa, author, illustrator. Boats for Papa. First edition 2015.
Buckley and his mother cope with the loss of their father/husband by sending small wooden boats, built by Buckley, off into the ocean.
Brown, Laurene Krasny. When dinosaurs die : a guide to understanding death. 1st ed. Boston : Little, Brown, c1996.
Explains in simple language the feelings people may have regarding the death of a loved one and the ways to honor the memory of someone who has died.
Castellucci, Cecil, 1969-. Grandma's gloves. 1st ed. Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2010.
When her grandmother, a devoted gardener, dies, a little girl inherits her gardening gloves and feels closer to her memory.
Clifton, Lucille. Everett Anderson's goodbye. 1st Owlet pbk. ed. New York : H. Holt, 1988, c1983.
Everett Anderson has a difficult time coming to terms with his grief after his father dies.
Edwards, Amanda. The Elephant in the Room : A Children's Book for Grief and Loss.
Fang, Suzhen, 1957- author. Grandma lives in a perfume village.
"Xiao Le's grandmother lives in a faraway village. A visit with Grandma is always a special event, but this time she is frail. With encouragement from his mom, Xiao Le plays with and helps Grandma. When Grandma dies shortly thereafter, Xiao Le comforts his mom."--
Innes, Shona, author. Life is like the wind. First North American edition published in 2014 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Explores the concept of life and death as the animals different ways grieve in different ways for their lost friends.
Karst, Patrice. The invisible string. Camarillo, CA : DeVorss Publications, c2000.
Twins Liza and Jeremy, frightened by a storm, are comforted when their mother tells them about the invisible string that connects people who love each other.

Mellonie, Bryan. Lifetimes : a beautiful way to explain death to children. Toronto ; : Bantam Books, c1983.
Briefly describes the beginning and end of life for plants, animals, insects, and people.
Parr, Todd, author, illustrator. The goodbye book. First edition: September 2015.
Illustrations and brief text relate how a person might feel when they lose someone they love.
Wilhelm, Hans, 1945-. I'll always love you. New York : Crown Publishers, c1985.
A child's sadness at the death of a beloved dog is tempered by the remembrance of saying to it every night, "I'll always love you.".
Willems, Mo. City Dog, Country Frog. 1st ed. New York : Hyperion Books for Children, c2010.
Through the seasons, whenever City Dog visits the country he runs straight for Country Frog's rock to play games with him, but during the winter things change for them both.



  1. thinking of you and your school community.

    I really appreciate Michael Rosen's Sad Book — it captures the complexity of grief.

  2. Thank you for this! So sorry for your loss.