The following is not necessarily an exhaustive or up to date list of resources available. Should you have questions about any of the services or require additional information, please contact the organizations directly. These links are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as endorsements of any of the organizations.
I do however, hope that you find the support that you need.
National Alliance of Grieving Children
Canadian Alliance for Grieving Children
Coalition to support Grieving Students
National Centre for School Crisis & Bereavement
Hamilton’s Academy of Grief and Loss (printable grief & loss resources)
The Dougy Center’s online resources
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Youth suicide warning signs: https://www.youthsuicidewarningsigns.org/
Actively Moving Forward (for college students)
CAPPINO PHYSIO AND WELLNESS CENTER: 2101 TransCanada Hwy, Dorval, QC Telephone:514-684-9073
Loss and Bereavement Counselling Services offered by Clinical Social Worker -Corrie Sirota MSW, PSW
SUICIDE ACTION MONTREAL – 1-866-277-3553
24/7 – suicidal ideation, someone you love is experiencing suicidal ideation, grief support
514-935-1101 for those needing a listening ear (abusive situations, couples in crises, emotional distress, dependence issues, strained relationships, loneliness, work stress, conjugal violence)
Listening services, referral center, and housing resources, groups to break social isolation
1-888-533-3845 – Cette ligne d’écoute sans frais s’adresse à toute personne vivant un deuil à la suite du décès d’un proche – accessible entre 10h et 22h – 365 jours/année. Les endeuillés peuvent y recevoir une écoute attentive, apportant soutien et réconfort, ainsi que des références
en suivi de deuil.
Good Grief Workshop for Children and Adolescents: a biannual, free workshop for children and adolescents 5-19 years old who have experienced the death of someone close to them.
Carousel Program: a “circle of support” to children and youth who are in the midst of coping with loss and change, via one-to-one support and/or community workshops. Contact NOVA for more information.
Camp Carousel: a biannual weekend bereavement camp at Cap St. Jacques.
The West Island Palliative Care Residence Children and Adolescent Grief Group
A free one-day workshop, offered in English and French, for children and teens ages 6-15 who have experienced the death of someone close to them.
SLAP’D: Surviving Life After a Parent Dies
SLAP’D is an online community for teens who have lost a parent. It provides support and resources, as well as connections to bereavement professionals.
West Island Women’s Centre: Healing Together Group
Healing Together is a free monthly drop-in support group for women who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, facilitated by Corrie Sirota.
For more information, call 514-781-8529 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
West Island Palliative Care Residence Bereavement Group Sessions (for adults):
Adult groups run for 8 sessions, 3 times a year (Fall, Winter, Spring). Two English groups are offered (one evening, one day), which are currently nearly full for Fall, and one French group (day), which currently has some space.
For information/registration: please contact the bereavement support team at: 514 693-1718, ext. 231
Family Survivors of Suicide
Support group with monthly meetings for families affected by suicide.
Hope and Cope (Jewish General Hospital)
4635 Ch. de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montreal, QC H3W 1M1
Bereavement Coordinator: 514-340-8222, ext. 25531.
Hope and Cope offers counselling services as well as bereavement programs including Mourning Cafes, Mourning Walks and volunteer peer support
Caregiver guide https://bit.ly/3ArhgFh
AGENCE OMETZ: Telephone: (514) 342-0000, www.ometz.ca, Individual marital and family counselling
ARGYLE INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RELATIONS: Telephone: (514) 931-5629
Non-profit organization providing counselling for couples, families, individuals
CAPPINO PHYSIO AND LLNESS CENTER: 2101 TransCanada Hwy, Dorval, QC (514) 684-9073
Counselling Services offered by Clinical Social Worker – Corrie Sirota MSW, PSW
& Psychologist Dr. Laurie Betito
MONTREAL CENTER FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION: 955 Boul. St Jean, Suite 305, Pointe-Claire, Quebec H9R 5K3 Telephone: (514) 796-4357 E-mail: email@example.com website: www.helpforanxietydepression.com Contact information: Sandra Reich, M.Ed, CCC. Director of Clinic Montreal and West Island Offices
ORDER OF PSYCHOLOGISTS OF QUEBEC (800) 363-2644 (514) 738-1881 www.ordrepsy.qc.ca
Helps locate a psychologist in your area
PSYCHOTHERAPY ASSESSMENT TREATMENT AND REFERRAL SERVICE (514) 931-0770
Assessment, treatment and all referrals for people of all ages, individuals and couples
QUEBEC HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES (514) 644-4545 www.msss.gouv.qc.ca
Information on health and social services
SEDONA COUNSELING CENTER (514) 487-2828 www.centresdona.com
Couples, family, blended families, kids and adolescents, divorce, parenting, etc.
BLAKE PSYCHOLOGY: 514-905-5108/514-312-1744/514-319-1681
WEST ISLAND THERAPY & WELLNESS CENTRE: 514-696-0948
AGENCE OMETZ: 1 Cummings Square (5151 Cote Ste Catherine Rd.), Montreal, QC H3W 1M6, Telephone: (514) 342-0000
Agence Ometz is an integrated social service centre created from the merger of Jewish Family Services (JFS) Jewish Employment Montreal (JEM), and Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS). Agence Ometz offers a variety of services spanning the entire life cycle, designed to educate, support and help individuals and families both in the Jewish and community at large by offering a range of human services.
AMCAL FAMILY SERVICES: 7 St. Anne St, Pointe Claire, QC H9S 4P6, Telephone: (514) 694-3161, www.amcal.ca
AMCAL Family Services is a community based agency, located in the West Island, which provides accessible, innovative, professional services to help promote and preserve healthy family relationships. AMCAL offers family counseling to support parents, school based and group programs, a supervised visitation program for families dealing with foster care and a drop in social support group for young parents.
BARTIMAEUS INC.: 3551 St. Charles Boul., Kirkland, QC H9H 3C4, Telephone : 514-991-7432, www.bartimaeus.com
BATSHAW YOUTH AND FAMILY CENTRES: 5 Weredale Park, Westmount, QC H3Z 1Y5, Telephone: (514) 695-5251,
(514) 935-6196, www.batshaw.ca
Batshaw Youth and Family Center delivers services mandated by the Youth Protection, Youth Criminal Justice and Health and Social Services Acts. Most of the services are aimed at a population base of 117,000 English speaking youth living on the island of Montreal. The composition of the population base has a strong presence of racial, cultural, ethnic and religious minorities. The residential treatment services are accessible to English speaking youth from across the province. This adds to the population base of about 60,000 youth from 6- 17 years.
BIG BROTHERS AND BIG SISTERS OF WEST ISLAND: Telephone: (514) 694-6100, WWW.BBBSOFWI.ORG.
Service providing mentors for children & teens living in single parent families.
BRILLIANT BEGINNINGS INC. : 2840 St-Charles Suite 200, Kirkland, QC H9H 3B6, Telephone: (514) 708-5437, www.brilliant-beginnings.org
Servicing children affected with Autism, PDD, Language Delays. Treatment: ABA Therapy, Speech Therapy, Social Skills Groups, Daycare and Preschool Shadows Home and Treatment Center Based in West Island and Laval.
BRUNSWICK MEDICAL CENTER: 955 Boul. St Jean, Pointe-Claire, QC H9R 5K3, Telephone: (514) 426-6677
CCS Community Services: 1857 De Maisonneuve Blvd, Montreal, QC H3H 1J9, Telephone: (514) 937-5351
CENTRE DES JEUNES DE L’ILE BIZARD : Telephone: (514) 620-7355
CENTRE JEUNESSE DE MONTREAL: 1001 Boul. de Maisonneuve Est, Montreal, QC H2L 1Y4 , Telephone: (514) 896-3200, www.centrejeunessedemontreal.qc.ca
CLOVERDALE MULTI-RESSOURCES : Telephone: (514) 684-8228
CSSS DE L’OUEST DE L’ILE – CSSS WEST ISLAND Site CLSC LAC SAINT LOUIS, CLSC PIERREFONDS: 13800 Boul. Gouin, Pierrefonds, QC H8Z 3H6. Telephone: (514) 626-2572.
DM FAMILY AND SCHOOL SERVICES: 278 Lakeshore, Pointe-Claire, QC H9S 4K9 Telephone: (514) 483-9339,
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.dmfamilyschool.com
Meeting the need of families: Individual, couple & family therapy, social skills groups for youth, parent training programs, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), play therapy for young children, organization & study skills, blended families, as well as special education consultants provide in-school support (IEP/BIP)
FEDERATION CJA: 1 Cumming Square, Montreal, QC, Telephone: (514) 735-3541
FEDERATION CJA WEST ISLAND : 96 Roger Pilon Blvd. Dollard des Ormeaux, QC H9B 2E1 (514) 624-5005 http://www.federationcja.org/
HEAD AND HANDS : Telephone: (514) 481-0277 www.headandhands.ca, Medical, legal & counselling services for 12 to 25 year olds.
MAB – MACKAY REHABILITATION CENTRE: Address: 7000 Sherbrooke St. W. Montreal, QC H4B 1R3 Telephone: (514) 482-0487
The Montreal Association for the Blind (MAB) and the Mackay Rehabilitation Centre have amalgamated to create the MAB- Rehabilitation Centre. The Centre provides social integration services to children with motor or language impairments and to persons of all ages who are blind or visually impaired and/or deaf or hard of hearing. While the MAB is committed to serving the English-speaking population of Quebec, its services are available in both English and French.
MAISON DES JEUNES A MA BAIE: Telephone: (514) 685-2989 www.membres.lycos.fr/amabaie
MAISON DES JEUNES DE PIERREFONDS : Telephone: (514) 683-4164
MAISON DES JEUNES L’ESCALIER DE LACHINE : Telephone: (514) 637-0934, www.colba.net
MUHC – MONTREAL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: 2300 Tupper, Montreal, QC H3H 1P3, Telephone: (514) 412-4455 (social service dept) The Montreal Children’s Hospital, part of the McGill University Hospital Centre (MUHC), specializes in children and adolescents from birth to 18 years old.
NURTURED HEART APPROACH Telephone: (514) 487-3533 e-mail: email@example.com contact: Linda Aber
PARENT CHILD RESOURCE CENTER: 2791 Cote Ste. Catherine, Montreal, QC, H3T 1B5, Telephone: (514) 733-4959
PROJET COMMUNAUTAIRES PIERREFONDS : Telephone: (514) 684-5995, 11 different programs for immigrant & low-income youth & families
WEST ISLAND ASSOICATION FOR THE INTELLECTUALLY HANDICAPPED (WIAIH): 111 Donegani, Pointe-Claire (Qc) H9R 2W3 Telephone : (514) 694-7090 Website : www.wiaih.qc.ca
WEST ISLAND CRISIS CENTRE (CRISIS CENTRE 18 AND OVER) : Telephone: 684-6160, Crisis intervention service & mobile unit as well as temporary shelter for adults having psychosocial difficulties
WEST ISLAND Y CENTRE : Telephone: (514) 694-9622 WWW.YQUEBEC.ORG
WEST ISLAND YMCA CENTRE: 230, boul. Brunswick Pointe Claire H9R 5N5 YMCA Phone: (514) 630-9864. Website: www.yquebec.org
The West Island Y provides many programs for youth including DE-Zone drop-in centre. This is a safe drug-free environment and drop-in space for youth to ‘hang-out’. The Y provides direct informal supportive counseling and referrals, encourages the implementation of youth initiated activities and includes new programming that includes Zone workshops, an arts program, an after-school homework program, an addictions prevention program, etc.
A free after school homework and tutoring support is provided with Education 360, an organization offering academic support with experienced teachers from the alternative school system. Normally this type of support is inaccessible because of the expense of high tutoring costs but will be free to youth attending De-Zone.
THE WEST MONTREAL READAPTATION CENTRE (CROM): Frank Vincelli. Telephone: (514) 363-3025 Address: 8000 Notre dame West, Lachine H8R 1H2. West Montreal Readaptation Centre (WMRC) provides readaptation, social integration participation and specialized services to individuals living with an intellectual disability and/or pervasive developmental disorder including autism,. WMRC provides lifespan services, offering services to children, adolescents and adults as well as support to their families.
WOMEN’S Y OF MONTREAL (YWCA): 1355 blvd. Rene Levesque ouest, Montreal, QC Telephone: (514) 866-9941. The Women’s Y provides programs specifically for women. The goal is to facilitate and encourage women in their personal development and capacity building. Leadership Services (Youth): Develops and delivers programming to promote and enhance the overall well being of girls. Groups are run in school and community centers. The program objectives are: to stimulate inquiry into identity, value systems and relationships; to cultivate leadership, social consciousness and solidarity; to inspire physical and creative expression.
WEST ISLAND YM-YWHA: 13101 Gouin Boulevard Ouest, Pierrefonds, Quebec. Telephone: (514) 624-6750
RECREATIONAL SERVICES: THE FOLLOWING ARE ACTIVITY CENTRES FOR 12 – 17 YEARS OLDS:
MAISON DES JEUNES À-MA-BAIE: Telephone: (514) 685-2989
MAISON DES JEUNES DE PIERREFONDS: (12-18 YRS): Telephone: (514) 683-4164
MAISON DES JEUNES L’ESCALIER DE LACHINE: Telephone: (514) 637-0934
ONROCK MINISTRIES DROP-IN CENTRE “THE VAULT”: Telephone: (514) 696-1905. WWW.ONROCK.ORG
CYBERBULLYING: www.cyberbullying.ca, information about cyberbullying
CYBERBULLYING PREVENTION: http://netbullies.com, preventing and handling cyberbullying and harassment
DEFINE THE LINE: www.definetheline.ca, information about cyberbullying launched by a McGill professor
MEDIA AWARENESS NETWORK: www.media-awareness.ca, tools to protect your children from cyberbullying
SAFE KIDS CANADA: www.safekids.com, site about safe cell phone use and internet safety
CYBER PATROL: www.cyberpatrol.com, Software to filter certain kinds of information such as a child’s name, address, and phone number
CYBER SITTER: www.cybersitting.com, software to record children’s internet messages
NET LINGO: www.netlingo.com, a dictionary defining thousands of terms and acronyms used online
NO SLANG: www.noslang.com, provides translation of slang and acronyms used online
ON GUARD ONLINE: www.onguardonline.gov, a website sponsored by the U.S government that offers tips for safe internet surfing and social networking
SPECTORSOFT: www.spectorsoft.com, software to record children’s internet messages
SINGLE PARENT SUPPORT
ONE PARENTS FAMILIES ASSOCIATION: Telephone: (514) 685-2717, a group of single parents meet weekly. Children welcome.
SEPARATED FATHERS: (514) 254-6120, support group
SINGLE MOTHERS PROGRAM (MONTREAL YWCA): Telephone: (514) 866-9941 ext. 416, 19- week program designed to encourage integration into the workforce
SINGLE PARENTS ASSOCIATION: Telephone: (514) 366-8600, provides social services to single parents
AUBERGE SHALOM POUR FEMMES: Telephone: (514) 731-0833, www.aubergeshalom.org, support line for abused women. Available 24/7
EDUCATION COUP-DE-FIL: Telephone: (514) 525-2573, parent hotline manned by trained counsellors who offer support and refer callers to resources
KIDS HELP PHONE: Telephone: (800) 668-6868, www.kidshelpphone.ca, Telephone and web support for kids in distress
PARENTS HELP LINE: Telephone: (514) 288-5555
Offers listening and intervention assistance to parents 24/7
CANADIAN PEDIATRIC SOCIETY: www.caringforkids.cps.ca
Website with advice from Canada’s peditricians
HEALTH CANADA: www.hc-sc.gc.ca,Information about health, latest medical news and recalls
PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA: www.phac-aspc.gc.ca, Protects the health and safety of Canadians through the prevention of chronic disease and injuries, public health emergencies and infectious disease
STEP BY STEP PHYSIOTHERAPY (514) 804-8925 www.physiostepbystep.ca (514) 963-7934
Pediatric motor development assessments
TINY TOTS MEDICAL CENTER Dollard-des-Ormeaux (514) 685-3531
Variety of diagnostic services for children
CANADA’S FOOD GUIDE www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Learn about healthy eating habits
CANADIAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION & DIETICIANS OF CANADA www.healthyeatinginstore.ca
Deciphering food labels
COLLEGE PEDIATRIC THERAPY 175 Frontenac, Pointe-Claire, QC (514) 461-3934 OR 4145 Sherbrooke St. W. #300
Westmount (514) 933-8255 www.collagetherapies.ca
THE MUMMIES LIST: www.mummieslist.com
MONTREAL MOM’S: www.montrealmom.com
CLINIQUE ENFANT-MEDIC (514) 685- 0880
CHILDREN’S CARE CLINIC 14770 Boul De Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds QC H9H 4Y6 (514) 6962442
TINY TOTS MEDICAL CENTRE, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC (514) 685-3531
COLLAGE PEDIATRIC THERAPY (514) 461-3934 (514) 933-8255 www.collagetherapies.ca
THE DONALD BERMAN YALDEI DEVELOPMENT CENTRE (514) 279-3666 www.yaldei.org
Carlstrom, Nancy White (1990). Blow Me a Kiss, Miss Lilly. New York: Harper and Row Publishing.
• This book tells the story of a little girl and an old woman who were next door neighbours, and best friends. They shared their lives together, and thus when the woman fell ill and died, the little girl was devastated. One of the important aspects of this kind of loss that is illustrated in this book is the simple separation from a loved one. The girl stares longingly out her window towards her neighbour’s house and feels the absence strongly. However, the girl adopts the woman’s cat, and after some time is able to remember her older friend fondly.
Carson, Jo (1992). You Hold Me and I’ll Hold You. London, UK: Orchard Books.
• This is a lovely story about a little girl whose great aunt dies, and she, her sister, and her father travel to Tennessee to attend the funeral and memorial service. This book is unique because the little girl never knew her aunt that well, so the story is more about understanding death, funerals, and the grief of others than dealing with her own. It is well-written, and realistically outlines what a young child’s thought process might be when told of the death of a distant relative (e.g. the child thinks about the death of her pet, and what happened under those circumstances, and she also considers ‘loss’ in general while thinking of her parent’s divorce). Great illustrations.
Wilhelm, Hans (1985). I’ll Always Love You. New York: Crown Publisher’s Inc.
• This is a story about a boy and his dog, and their relationship from beginning to end, when the dog dies. It is a nice story, and deals with the sadness of losing a loved one, accompanied by the eventual reality of coping with a life without them.
Brown, Laurie Kransy and Marc Tolon Brown (1996). When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
• This is an excellent picture book for children that uses human-like dinosaur characters to explain death, dying, and bereavement. It answers many common questions that children may have concerning death and dying, and suggests activities that children can take part in to remember someone. This book also discusses the more difficult subjects of suicide, war, prejudice, and poverty as ways in which some people die, and explains death rituals from several different cultures. It is a thoughtful and open-minded endeavor.
Buscaglia, Leo (1982). The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
• This is a beautiful story that will help young children gain a better understanding of the meanings of life and death, and the cycles that take place among all living things. It is often metaphorical, and leaves the reader free to explore the journey of life through the eyes of a leaf. Importantly, this book portrays death as a natural process which may be sad, but is not to be feared.
Mellonie, Brian and Robert Ingpen (1983). Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children. New York: Bantam Books.
• This is a book that illustrates how the living and dying of people is a natural process, like that of all living things. The book discusses the life cycles of various plants and animals as well as humans, in simple and direct language. However, it does not discuss grief and bereavement, or use personal narratives.
Mills, Joyce C. (2003). Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying. Gareth Stevens Pub.
• This is a story for children who are facing death: their own, or that of a loved one. The book follows Amanda, who calls upon the Tree Wizards of the Forest to help Gentle Willow, who is suffering from a mysterious ailment, but the Tree Wizards are unable to help. Amanda struggles with loss, confusion, anger, and finally, hope, as she helps Gentle Willow understand and accept her death.
Hanson, Warren (2003). The Next Place. Waldman House Press.
• This is a poetic and inspirational exploration of where people go when they leave ‘this place.’ Although it does not name death specifically, it presents a beautiful and hopeful view of where people go when they die without prescribing any one spiritual view other than the imagination that the next place is wonderful and liberating.
Goldman, Linda (2006). Children Also Grieve. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
• This combination narrative and interactive memory workbook is an imaginative resource that offers support and reassurance to children coming to terms with the death of a close friend or relative. The story tells of the experiences of Henry, the dog of a family whose grandfather has died.
Coerr, Eleanor (1977). Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
• This is a beautiful and heart-wrenching tale based on the true story of a young Japanese girl called Sadako, who died as a 12-year-old of leukemia after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It details the grief of Sadako and her family as they come to realize that she is dying, and their struggle to maintain hope against all odds. This book also touches on the difficult issue that families and caregivers face when trying to decide how much a child should know, and whether to talk about their inevitable death openly, or continue to pretend there is hope for survival. Finally, this book represents the tragedy that war does not always bring a quick and sudden death for those engaged in battle, but can hurt those seemingly untouched. The call for peace is restated at the end of this book.
Greene, Constance C. (1976). Beat the Turtle Drum. New York: Viking Press.
• This is a touching, thoughtful story about the relationship between two young sisters, and the tragedy that befalls their family when the younger one dies in an accident. Although it does not deal with terminal illness, death and grief are handled in a realistic, sensitive manner. This book touches on the feelings of anger and confusion that are aroused in many when a young person dies, but the narrative also discusses the various coping strategies attempted by the young girl’s family and friends.
Abelove, Joan. (1999). Saying It Out Loud. New York: DK Publishing, Inc.
• This is a story about a 16-year-old Jewish girl growing up in the early 1960’s whose mother is suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumour. As Mindy slowly realizes her mother is dying, she struggles to come to terms with her feelings of loss, anger, guilt, and sorrow. Her father, in his own grief, isolates himself from her, and tries to keep her from her ailing mother. This book is unique in that it shows the extremely positive role that close friends can play for adolescents who are grieving. It is well-written and deals with these important issues in a sensitive manner.
Bauer, Marion Dane. (1986). On My Honor. New York: Houghton Mifflin, Clarion Books.
• The painful, deeply touching book is about a 12-year-old boy who loses his best friend on a dare to swim in a fast-flowing river. The story details the boy’s shock, denial to friends and family, and then eventual grief. One of the aspects of this book that is particularly well-done is the guilt that the boy feels with respect to the death of his friend, something that many grieving individual’s feel no matter the circumstances surrounding death. Finally, the book concludes with a touching moment between father and son as they try to comfort one another.
Blume, Judy. (1987). Tiger Eyes. Scarsdale, NY: Bradbury Press.
•Tiger Eyes is a story about a 15-year-old girl who struggles to come to terms with her father’s sudden and violent death. She and her mother and younger brother travel across the country to spend time with relatives, and Davey (the girl) is essentially left to her own devices. She meets a mysterious young man and bonds instantly with him, only later realizing that his father is also dying. Davey learns to cope with her own grief by sharing in someone else’s, and eventually finds strength and resources within herself. This is a well-written, moving book that describes the long process Davey and her family must undergo in order to move on with their lives.
Heegaard, Marge Eaton (1990). Coping with Death and Grief. Minneapolis, MA: Lerner Publications.
• Coping with Death and Grief is a book that uses both narrative and instructive teachings to answer questions about death, dying, and grief, and advice on how to cope with all of these elements. Each chapter begins with a story that helps to illustrate the theme of the chapter, and therefore the book is laid out in a straightforward and logical manner, while maintaining an element of sensitivity
Hermes, Patricia. (1982). You Shouldn’t Have to Say Goodbye. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
• This beautifully written book is about a 13-year-old girl who finds out her mother has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and details her struggles with her mother’s illness and eventual death. This story touches on many of the emotions a person feels when grieving, including disbelief, anger, and guilt, but is also unique in some ways: instead of ending the book on a rather upbeat note reminding the reader that ‘life will go on,’ the author plainly says that the death of a loved one is an awful experience – there is no other way around it. And perhaps people will one day not feel the pain as freshly, but grieving remains a very difficult experience and should not me minimized.
Hyde, Margaret O. & Hyde, Lawrence E. (1989). Meeting Death. New York: Walker Books.
• This book is a straightforward, thorough analysis of many issues surrounding death and dying. The authors examine beliefs about death from various cultures, as well as our encounters with the terminally ill, suicides, and accidental deaths. The concept of the ‘good death’ is also discussed, and finally the book looks at grief and mourning. The only drawbacks of this book are that it relies heavily on Kübler-Ross’s five stages of dying, and does not leave room for more complex interpretations of the dying process.
Krementz, Jill. (1988). How it Feels When a Parent Dies. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
• This book contains a number of short narratives about the true stories of children who have lost one of their parents, through either sudden death or an illness. One of the strengths of this book is that it is illustrative of the many different grieving reactions, and normalizes them for other children who may be grieving. It also focuses on the fact that although the grieving process may be ongoing, these children have still managed to cope and grow.
LeShan, Eda. (1976). Learning to Say Good-by When a Parent Dies. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company.
• This is a very frank and persuasive book, and is direct in the way it addresses the many problems faced by children who lose a parent. It is largely instructive, but uses some non-fictional narratives about children who have lost a parent in order to highlight important points. This book reassures children that the various emotions they may be feeling are a normal part of the work of grief, but also discusses seeking special help under certain circumstances.
LeShan, Eda. (1986). When a Parent is Very Sick. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
• This is an instructive, teaching book for teens that deals with the issues of coping with a parent’s illness and possible death. It uses specific stories to illustrate various grieving reactions, and interactions with other people that the grieving child might encounter. This book also examines the issue of anticipatory grief, and how the death of a parent after a long illness can bring a different sort of grief than the sudden death of a parent. This book is valuable because it emphasizes that individuals should never apologize for their feelings, because the work of grief can be complicated and confusing. Finally, the book examines adjustment after the death of a parent and how adolescents can negotiate going on living.
Pringle, Laurence. (1977). Death is Natural. New York: Four Winds Press.
• This book explains life and death from an evolutionary biology perspective. It talks about the cycling of resources, natural selection, predator/prey interactions, etc. but does not attempt to discuss the human emotional side of the equation. It would be useful to a child who is perhaps more scientifically minded, as it reads like a science textbook.
Rofes, Eric E. and ‘The Unit’ at Fayerweather Street School. (1985). The Kids’ Book About Death and Dying: By and For Kids. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
• This is a unique book because it is written essentially from the observations and experiences of 14 young students to help other children gain a better understanding of the issues surrounding death and dying. As well as using specific narrative, it offers general information about death, grief, and human experience. One of the best aspects of this book is that it opens with a section on how to talk about death itself, and thereby acknowledges that death is often a taboo subject in Western society.
Saynor, John Kennedy. (1990). Goodbye Buddy. Ajax, ON: W.L. Smith and Associates, Limited.
• This book tells the story of a boy who is grieving over the death of his best friend. It is a well-written and touching, and includes activities after the story that ask the reader to reflect on their feelings, and help them to remember a loved one that has died.
Wilson, Jacqueline (1996). Double Act. Illustrated by Nick Sharratt. Corgi Children’s ISBN: 978- 0440867593 (Also on audiocassette)
• Ruby and Garnet are 10-year-old twins. They do everything together, especially since their mum died three years ago. When their dad finds a new partner and they move house, Ruby and Garnet find it hard and get into all sorts of trouble. Eventually, they settle down and learn to live with the changes. A lively and humorous book that deals sensitively with change.
Wilson, Jacqueline (2002). Dustbin Baby. Corgi Children’s ISBN: 978-0552547963 (Also on audiocassette)
• April was abandoned in a dustbin as a baby on the 1st April. Having spent all her life in a children’s home and with different foster parents (one of whom committed suicide), things haven’t been easy and April is struggling. Now she’s fourteen and on her birthday, determined to find out more about her past, sets off to find some important people. This is an emotive book with a great storyline in usual Jacqueline Wilson style. It is open and honest.
Grollman, Earl A. (1999). Straight Talk about Death for Teenagers: How to Cope with Losing Someone You Love. Sagebrush Ed Resources ISBN: 978-0807025017
• This book was written after the author spoke to thousands of teenagers and found they often felt forgotten after someone has died. Written in short, clear sentences that are easy to read, it covers feelings, different types of death and the future. This book gives the reader many options of what can happen, how s/he may feel, giving advice and reassuring readers grief is normal.
Lloyd, Carole (1997). The Charlie Barber Treatment. Walker Books Ltd; New Edition ISBN: 978- 0744554571
• Simon’s Mum died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage and he came home from school to find she had died. With his GCSE coursework piling up and having to help around the house, Simon finds it hard and doesn’t go out much with his friends. He then meets Charlie, who is visiting her Grandma, and believes their meeting was fate. Simon starts to enjoy life again and to re-build relationships with his family and friends. A sensitive and realistic book that conveys some of the thoughts and emotions of a teenage boy.
Gibbons, Alan (2004). The Lost Boys’ Appreciation Society. Orion Children’s Books ISBN: 9781842550953
• Teenage life is difficult enough for Gary and John, but when their Mum dies in a car accident, things get steadily worse. John struggles to keep the peace as Gary goes off the rails, saying his new mates are now his family. With GCSE exams looming and his Dad going out on dates, things become unbearable for John. A gripping book exploring relationships and how different people react to life events.
Chodzin, Sherab & Koh,Alexandra. (1999). The Man who Didn’t Want to Die: From The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales. Illustrated by Marie Cameron. Barefoot Books ISBN: 1841480096
• This short story is based on a Japanese folk tale and approaches death from an unusual angle. When a man decides he doesn’t want to die, he is sent to the Land of Never ending Life and expects to meet the happiest people in the world. However, the realities of living forever are not as attractive as he thought and he consequently learns an important lesson. This story is very thought provoking and could lead to some interesting discussions.
Downham, Jenny. Before I Die. David Fickling Books ISBN: 978-0385613460
• With only months left to live, 16-year-old Tessa makes a list of things she must experience: sex, petty crime, fame, drugs and true love. Downham’s wrenching work features a girl desperate for a few thrilling moments before leukaemia takes her away. Although Tessa remains ardently committed to her list, both she and the reader find comfort in the quiet resonance of the natural world. Tessa’s soul mate, Adam, gardens next door; a bird benignly rots in grass; psychedelic mushrooms provide escape; an apple tree brings comfort; and her best friend, Zoey, ripens in the final months of pregnancy.
Moon, Pat (2003). The Spying Game. Politico’s Publishing Ltd ISBN: 978-1842750049
• Joe’s dad died in a car accident and he feels really angry towards the man who killed his father. He decides to set up a secret ‘Nightmare Plan’ to vent his anger and begins to persecute the man and his family by scratching his car and sending hate mail. This powerful book reveals the difficult emotions Joe faces both at home and at school. A very readable and fast paced book that would appeal to many young people.
Gleitzman, Morris & illustrated by Andy Bacha (1999). Two Weeks with the Queen. Puffin Books ISBN: 978-0141303000
• Twelve-year-old Colin, an Australian boy, is sent to stay with relatives in England when his brother becomes ill with cancer. He is determined to find a way of curing his brother, which leads him into all sorts of adventures including trying to visit the Queen! Colin finds a friend in an older man named Ted who helps him express his feelings and understand what he has to do. (Also on audiocassette.)
Fine, Anne (2006). Up on Cloud Nine. Corgi Children’s ISBN: 978-0552554657
• Stol falls out of a top floor window and ends up unconscious in hospital with lots of broken bones and no-one knows whether it was attempted suicide or an accident. This book is written from the perspective of his best friend Ian whilst he is sitting by his bedside. He recalls all the fun times they have had together as well as acknowledging the slightly different way Stol sees the world. Ian captures the emotions of his own adoptive parents Page 5 of 6 as well as Stol’s family and the hospital staff in an amusing yet moving way illustrating how Stol has had an inspirational effect on everyone. (Also available in audiocassette)
Wilson, Jacqueline & illustrated by Nick Sharratt (2001). Vicky Angel. Corgi Children’s ISBN: 978-0440865896
• When Jade’s best friend Vicky, is run over by a car and dies in hospital everyone at home and school starts treating her differently. ‘Vicky Angel’ then starts following Jade around, distracting her and getting her into trouble. This moving but amusing story illustrates how hard it is to carry on with every day life after a tragic accident. (Also available in audiocassette)
Gray, Keith (2008). Ostrich Boys. Definitions. ISBN: 978-0099456575
• It’s not really kidnapping, is it? He’d have to be alive for it to be proper kidnapping.’ Kenny, Sim and Blake are about to embark on a remarkable journey of friendship. Stealing the urn containing the ashes of their best friend Ross, they set out from Cleethorpes on the east coast to travel the 261 miles to the tiny hamlet of Ross in Dumfries and Galloway. After a depressing and dispiriting funeral they feel taking Ross to Ross will be a fitting memorial for a 15 year-old boy who changed all their lives through his friendship. Little do they realise just how much Ross can still affect life for them even though he’s now dead. Drawing on personal experience Keith Gray has written an extraordinary novel about friendship, loss and suicide, and about the good things that may be waiting just out of sight around the corner…
Valentine, Jenny (2008). Broken Soup. Harper Collins Children’s Books ISBN: 978-0007229659
• When the good-looking boy with the American accent presses the dropped negative into Rowan’s hand, she’s sure it’s all a big mistake. But next moment he’s gone, lost in the crowd of bustling shoppers. And she can’t afford to lose her place in the checkout queue — after all, if she doesn’t take the groceries home, nobody else will. Rowan has more responsibilities than most girls her age. These days, she pretty much looks after her little sister single-handedly — which doesn’t leave much time for friends or fun. So when she finds out that Bee from school saw the whole thing, it piques her curiosity. Who was the boy? Why was he so insistent that the negative belonged to Rowan?
DeVita-Raeburn, Elizabeth (2004). The Empty Room: Surviving the Loss of a Brother or Sister at Any Age. Scribner.
• In 1972, when the author was six, her nine-year-old brother, Ted, developed huge bruises all over his body. Diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare immune deficiency disease, Ted lived in a sterile hospital “bubble room” until his death eight years later. In this beautifully written account, DeVita, a science journalist, describes how Ted’s life and death have affected her and, drawing on 77 interviews with others who have lost siblings, examines a subject that has largely been overlooked. DeVita considers survivors, rather than academicians or researchers, to be the real experts on this subject. Many gripping stories are told by brothers and sisters of all ages, including those who have endured the death of a twin. In order to protect their other children and deal with their own grief, many parents, like DeVita’s own, did not often discuss the deaths and, in a sense, deprived the surviving siblings of the mourning process. In haunting and evocative narratives, many of those interviewed share how they finally found a way, years later, to acknowledge their terrible loss. DeVita recalls her relationship with the brother who loved and teased her, as well as his bravery during the years of isolation when almost no one touched him. “Meredith,” who suddenly lost her beloved teenage brother to cancer, now runs marathons in his memory, among other coping strategies. DeVita recounts the interviews she conducted with her own parents and movingly illuminates the tragic situation of her father, an oncologist, who could not save his own son, and her mother, who found the inner strength do her best for her dying son.
Harris, Maxine (1996). The Loss That Is Forever: The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father. Plume.
• More than 60 men and women who lost a parent at an early age contributed their stories to this investigation of an important life event by a practicing psychotherapist. Their stories, including accounts of some famous figures: C.S. Lewis, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt, shed light on a legacy of loss the author views as “the psychological Great Divide, separating the world into a permanent ‘before and after.'” Whatever form the impact of this loss takes in later adult life, it can be rage, driving ambition, fear of intimacy, these life stories amply demonstrate the indelible character of the mark left on the child. These are also stories of recovery, of people who became more than survivors, testifying to the repair of damage from childhood trauma. This enlightening presentation opens up a seldom discussed topic.
Lewis, C.S. (1961). A Grief Observed. Faber and Faber Ltd.
• C.S. Lewis joined the human race when his wife, Joy Gresham, died of cancer. Lewis, the Oxford don whose Christian apologetics make it seem like he’s got an answer for everything, experienced crushing doubt for the first time after his wife’s tragic death. A Grief Observed contains his epigrammatic reflections on that period: “Your bid–for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity–will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high,” Lewis writes. “Nothing will shake a man–or at any rate a man like me–out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.” It is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings.
Didion, Joan (2005). The Year of Magical Thinking. Knopf.
• The author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem and 11 other works chronicles the year following the death of her husband, fellow writer John Gregory Dunne, from a massive heart attack on December 30, 2003, while the couple’s only daughter, Quintana, lay unconscious in a nearby hospital suffering from pneumonia and septic shock. Dunne and Didion had lived and worked side by side for nearly 40 years, and Dunne’s death propelled Didion into a state she calls “magical thinking.” “We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss,” she writes. “We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes.” Didion’s mourning follows a traditional arc—she describes just how precisely it cleaves to the medical descriptions of grief—but her elegant rendition of its stages leads to hard-won insight, particularly into the aftereffects of marriage.
Sirota, Corrie (2015) Someone Died…Now What? A Personal and Professional Perspective on Coping with Grief and Loss. Self Published, Createspace.