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The New Brunswick Hospice Palliative Care Association - L'Association de soins palliatifs du Nouveau-Brunswick

Children’s Literature Recommendations /
Recommandations de litterature pour enfants

Canadian Virtual Hospice - Books for Children

Portail canadien en soins palliatifs - Livres pour enfants

Heaven is for Real
Todd Burpo
When four-year-old Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting was the story that emerged in the following months - a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

This true story, retold by his father but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”

This book will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.

I Miss You
Pat Thomas
This reassuring picture book explores the difficult issue of death for young children. Children’s feelings and questions about this sensitive subject are looked at in a simple but realistic way. This book helps them to understand their loss and to come to terms with their feelings. Written by a psychotherapist and counsellor Pat Thomas, these superb information books promote interaction between children, parents, and teachers on personal, social and emotional issues.

I Wish I Could Hold Your Hand - A Child Guide to Grief and Loss
Dr. Pat Palmer
A best friend has moved away. Dad no longer lives with the family. A favourite relative or pet has died. This warm and comforting book gently helps grieving children identify their feelings- from denial and anger to guilt and sadness- and learn to accept and deal with them. The expressive illustrations and simple direct writing help children discover that it is normal and natural to feel the pain of loss, and that they can help themselves to feel better.

L’Amour pour toujours
Line St-Amour, Ph.D
Deuxième livre d’une série. Belle histoire illustrée qui explique le cheminement d’une maman raton laveur qui meurt à la Grotte des adieux.

Le deuil: y’a pas de mal à être triste
Michaelene Mundy
Offre des recommandations pour expliquer la mort et le deuil chez les enfants. Donne des conseils aux parents. Livre illustré qui facilite la conversation avec les enfants.

Luron et Zebulon
Line St-Amour Ph.D
Excellent livre qui explique en détail les livres Luron apprivoise les forces de l’espoir et l’Amour pour toujours. Les deux livres sont inclus. Le premier explique le cheminement d’une maman écureuil qui subit des traitements pour le cancer et va en rémission. Le deuxième explique la démarche palliative. Bonne ressource pour parents et enseignants. Inclue des recommandations de films et livres.

Mama’s Right Here
Susan Kerner
Mama’s Right Here is a delicate, affectionately written reminder that a mother’s love never disappears. Even when a mother is absent, her presence is constant in a child’s heart. With comforting rhyme and gentle illustrations, this book brings the important message to children that a mother’s love is always with them — in the way we look, and in everything we do.

A companion book, Always By My Side, also written by Susan Kerner, tells of a father’s ever-present love.

The Fall of Freddie The Leaf
Leo Buscaglia
The Fall of Freddie The Leaf touches children and adults alike, illustrating the delicate balance between life and death. This book is a warm, thought-provoking story about how Freddie and his companion leaves change with the passing seasons and the coming of winter.  This is the 20th anniversary edition of the beloved classic that has helped thousands of people come to grips with life and death.

The Invisible String
Patrice Karst
The Invisible String is a simple story that reminds children and adults they are never truly alone. As the mother in this story explains. “People who love each other are always connected by a very special String made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart and know that you are always connected to the ones you love.”

The Memory Tree
Britta Teckentrup
Fox had lived a long and happy life, but now he was tired. He looked at his beloved forest one last time, closed his eyes and fell asleep forever. This is a celebration of life and the memories that live on when a loved one dies.

Une personne que j’aime a le cancer
Mélanie Bouffard & Julie Vadeboncoeur Ph.D
L’histoire de l’expérience d’une maman avec le cancer. Inclut des
« Mots de la psychologue » qui partage son expérience clinique en oncologie.

Waterbugs & Dragonflies- Explaining Death to Children
Dorothy Stickney
How can we answer the many questions young children have about death? Looking for a meaningful way to explain to neighbourhood children the death of a five-year-old friend, Doris Stickney adapted the graceful tale about the waterbug that changed into a dragonfly. There are two editions of this book. The gift edition features enchanting full-colour paintings by Gloria Hernandez is more suitable for children.

What On Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?
Trevor Romain
This small book can help you through a painful time. Trevor answers questions you might wonder about- “Why do people have to die?” “Is the death my fault?” ”What happens to the person’s body?” “How can I say good-bye?” - in simple, honest words. He describes the strong, confusing feelings you might have and suggests ways to feel better. He tells you it’s okay to cry, talk about the death, grieve….and go on with your life. Read what Trevor has to say. Look at his illustrations. He understands what you are going through, and he can help.

When Dinosaurs Die - A Guide to Understanding Death
A comprehensive sensitive guide for families dealing with the loss of loved ones.  This book helps readers understand what death means and how to best cope with their feelings.

When Someone Very Special Dies - Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief
Marge Heegaard
This book was designed to teach basic concepts of death and help children understand and express the many feelings they have when someone dies. Communication is increased and coping skills are developed as they illustrate their books with their personal story.

Why Did You Die? Activities to Help Children Cope with Grief and Loss
Erika Leeuwenburg
Thousands of children each year experience the death of a loved one before they reach the age of 18, and some 10 to 15 percent of them experience mental health problems, such as depression, as a result.  Research shows that childhood grief is correlated with low grades, sleep problems, moodiness, behaviour problems, and an inability to concentrate.  When a loved one dies, children are faced with a kaleidoscope of feelings, thoughts, myths, and questions. This workbook offers tools that you can use to help a grieving child in your life deal with their feelings.

The first section is for adults. It describes a child’s grief process and what can be expected as it progresses. The latter section includes activities you can do with a grieving child.

Penny Bear’s Gift of Love
Penny Wigglesworth
Penny Bear’s Gift of Love is a heart-warming story about a child who finds comfort and hope during his journey through grief. Young Johnathan is very sad because his mother has just died. A magical little bear comes into his life to help him get through the first year without his mom. The story is told by the little bear, known as “Penny Bear.” While written for children, the book offers readers of all ages the reassurance of knowing that the love and memories we have shared with special people in our lives remain with us forever.
Author Penny Wigglesworth is the Founder and President of the Penny Bear Company, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that provides teddy bears to anyone in need of a hug. The book was written as a way to help ease the grief of a young child whose father had died. The website for the organization is
Books and bears can also be ordered by phone (781) 631-5988; by e-mail; or by mail – The Penny Bear™ Company, Inc., Six Elmwood Road, Marblehead, MA 01945, USA.