Many of my clients are considering the impact of their passing on beloved grandchildren and, for the lucky ones, great-grandchildren. Selecting a book (or a few) in advance can be a beautiful gift not only for your young family members, but also for their parents.
So many books touch on themes of religion and spirituality, but I have chosen to highlight three books that instead help readers under age 9 deal with the simple concepts of life cycles, death and the complex emotions associated.
We don’t always have the right words, which is why we’re so lucky that these authors did that legwork for us.
Part of the Ordinary Terrible Things series, AH captures the hurt, confused and indignant interior voice of a young reader. She gives words to the frustration of misleading euphemisms and trite cliches. This book doesn’t try to answer questions about the unknown but instead seeks to explore a wide range of feelings after a young boy’s loss of his grandmother.
The font on the cover was nearly enough to turn me off, but it was a $0.25 at the library book sale so I grabbed it and it’s quickly become a family favorite. The gentle but direct illustrations showing a range of life and death against an unjudging white background allowing even the youngest reader to explore the concept of life cycles. Progressing from small insects to human beings, it doesn’t shy away from the real truth. Kids love being told the truth.
Another gentle book for younger readers, this story follows a life cycle without ever directly using the word death. After collecting the remnants of his beloved Flower and burying them in the countryside, Digger finds a field of flowers have sprung up in their place. Never patronizing or sanctimonious, this hopeful story acknowledges that life can be beautiful, even after a loss. What a beautiful message to leave behind for your grandchildren and their parents.
As part of an in-depth advanced planning process, I’m able to make tailored recommendations based on your particular family situation. If you’re looking to provide some extra loving guidance to a younger family member, I can help you find the right materials and create the perfect message.
What a gift.