Can you recommend a great childrens book to help them understand and cope with the death of a parent?

(19 Posts)
frumpygrumpy Tue 07-Nov-06 10:10:18


The husband of a mum at school (our dds are friends) is suffering a brain tumour and, after a very promising but short fight, is losing the battle. They are likely to lose him quite soon.

I talk with her every morning and it is just heartbreaking listening to her concerns. One of the things she is needing help with is explaining death to her children, they are 6, 4 and 2 . Firstly, to prepare them for losing him and secondly, for explaining when he passes away.

Can anyone recommend a childrens book/books I could buy for her/them? I want to help in any way I can and she is running around all over the place just now that I don't think she will have time to stop and look.

Thank you.

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Fauve Tue 07-Nov-06 10:18:12

There are quite a few out there. A good place to start might be a library, where they usually have a section for books about 'issues' - then you could see what might be most appropriate.

This one, Waterbugs and Dragonflies , is often recommended.

How awful

frumpygrumpy Tue 07-Nov-06 10:21:41

Thanks for that, it sounds lovely (its made me cry at the thought). The amazon site has really useful comments as well so thanks again.

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frumpygrumpy Tue 07-Nov-06 10:23:03

I'm trying hard to not be upset when she talks to me as I think the last thing she needs is me blubbering, but when I leave her I usually end up crying in the car.

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butterflymum Tue 07-Nov-06 10:44:10

You may find this page of links helpful, especially the booklist one . We have used Badgers Parting Gift in the past and found it to be a very good book, especially for the age group of your friend's children.

frumpygrumpy Tue 07-Nov-06 14:38:33

butterfly mum, that site is just great thank you. I will pass the name onto her as it covers a lot of what she has been talking about. Badgers Parting Gift sounds good, thanks again.

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arfur Wed 08-Nov-06 16:16:21

No personal experience thankfully but I remember seeing something on Children in Need one year about Winstons Wish (probably similar to Daisy's Dream) and was moved to tears about how they were helping children cope with unimaginably sad situations. I remember them giving all sorts of what seemed to me like odd suggestions like videoing parts of the funeral and taking photos of the flowers etc so that when the children were older and more able to understand they could look at them and see how much their parent was loved by so many people. HTH.

Yorkiegirl Wed 08-Nov-06 16:21:16

Message withdrawn

Twiglett Wed 08-Nov-06 16:21:40

I keep repeating this advice .. so I hope I'm not boring anyone .. I just found it a really helpful way of explaining to young children

"I put a hand in a glove (well in a sock cos I couldn't find a glove)

I said to DS .. "this is you .. the glove is your body" (wiggling fingers all around), "but the hand is the bit that is really you and some people call that your soul or your spirit" (keep on wiggling)

"when you die your spirit goes on" (gently take hand out of glove and make it keep wiggling and swooping around .. tickling him works too as you gently lay the glove down on the ground)

keeping his attention on the hand swooping I said "when you die you don't need your body any more so your spirit leaves it behind" .. spirit hand keeps swooping and talk descends into tickling "

frumpygrumpy Wed 08-Nov-06 20:37:20

Thank you all for that.

Arfur, great thoughts on the funeral, I don't know how to begin to tell her these things but it is a great piece of advice.

Yorkiegirl, thank you so much for posting. I nearly did a shout for you because I knew you'd have valuable experience for me to draw upon. I will point her in the direction of Winstons Wish and WAY.

I don't want to overwhelm her or be the annoying person who keeps coming up with ideas ......but.....both her family and his family are miles and miles away from them and I really don't know if she talks to many other people about it all (just me and another mum I think). Anyway, hows life in your household? I got a BHF letter today and I completed my contribution this morning, with you in mind x.

Twiglett, that is a lovely way of describing it, thank you. She has so far only asked them if they know what happens when someone dies. Her two older children said "its like fairies isn't it" (because she has said that when someone dies they can still see you and hear you, they just can't talk back). I think the glove/sock is a physical way for them to understand and that being able to picture it would help enormously.

I'm nearly made soup at the weekend for her or her freezer but backed out because I don't want to irritate her. Maybe I'll wait until a time she more needs it.

Thanks everyone xx.

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Yorkiegirl Wed 08-Nov-06 20:44:37

Message withdrawn

frumpygrumpy Wed 08-Nov-06 20:50:14

Thank you again, thats very kind. I'll keep this thread....

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ShinyHappyPeopleHoldingHands Wed 08-Nov-06 20:53:07

I saw your thread and wanted to link to this book in case it helps

frumpygrumpy Wed 08-Nov-06 20:58:45

Thanks for posting shiny. Are you an REM fan by chance?

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MammyM Wed 08-Nov-06 21:03:24

The advice on this thread is fantastic, I've nursed many people with brain tumours and it's so cruel. I stumbled upon a book in the library by accident called 'the lonely tree' by Nicholas Halliday which my 2 year old understood, although we've been talking about death recently having just lost my Nanna. When the invetible happens, I've heard other people say, to just help, doing the shopping etc without asking what she wants is helpful.

frumpygrumpy Wed 08-Nov-06 21:06:32

thanks MammyM, good to know. I'll look at that book too.

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ShinyHappyPeopleHoldingHands Wed 08-Nov-06 21:07:14

(FG no not really altho I like that song Just wanted something with a bit more get up and go than SleepyJess )

FrumpytheGrumpyreindeer Wed 13-Dec-06 12:29:10

I got 4 really good books and gave them to her a couple of weeks ago. She was pleased to have them and said they were reading them. Very sadly, he passed away last night. Thank you for all the pointers, I wrote down the websites for her and will keep trying to help.

BudaBauble Wed 13-Dec-06 12:38:47

Oh how sad for them.

Sad anytime obviously but just before Xmas seems so awful.

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