Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kid Books Reviews

Not long ago I wrote that we're having trouble finding kid books that explain death to small children. Read the criteria I'm looking for HERE.

Here are a few books found by readers that have been passed on to us. And a few notes of review for each.
Some books are stories, some allegories, some are factual and conversational in content. But I feel I can recommend them to you confidently to give kids information about death, Heaven and life after losing a loved one.

This list will be updated as we find more resources worth passing on.

No New Baby: For Siblings Who Have a Brother or Sister Die Before Birth (Nnc)
Good for Preschool - Early Elementary School aged children. 
We received this book from the hospital we delivered Jairus at and just recently rediscovered it. It does a very good job of addressing the loss of a baby from a young child's point of view. The disappointment, confusion and sadness are discussed, as well as the fact that children react to grief very differently than adults, and that it is ok not to be sad, to play and have fun too. It does not address any spiritual issues but instead displays an excellent example of a family coming together at the loss of their baby. 

God Gave Us Heaven by Lisa Tawn Bergren
God Gave Us Heaven
Good for kids in Preschool - Early Elementary School
This sweet book is a dialog between Daddy and daughter Polar Bear (always a hit at our house). The book address issues like different ages of people (or bears in this case) going to Heaven when they die, that we will not become angels because God made us unique from them with our own purposes in His work. The book has a clear yet simple message of Jesus being the way to get to Heaven. It does not deal specifically with the issues surrounding death but is a sweet story of the gift of Heaven and how wonderful life is there.

Someone I Love Died by Christine Harder Tangveld
Someone I Love Died (Please Help Me, God)
Good for kids in Preschool - Elementary School
This book is not a story but gives information in a kid friendly way, looking at the basic issues around death (including explanations of a burial and what a casket is) and the range of emotion children may experience. It explains what a "soul" is and has places throughout the book where an adult can dialog with the child they are reading to, places to fill in their own names and experiences with losing a loved one through death. The book points to Jesus as our hope and has lots of tips for parents too.

The Dragonfly Door by John Adams
Good for kids who are Elementary School aged
This sweet and sad story is an allegory for death. Two water nymphs friends do everything together, until one day when they have a fight and separate. Seeking reconciliation, one nymph looks for but cannot find her friend and comes to learn she has turned into a dragon fly. Her friend can not come back but now lives in a beautiful, wide new world above the surface of the water where she is more happy and free than ever before.
Because it is an allegory is does not deal with any specifics about death and real life or specific spiritual issues. But the story is a good way to introduce death, that life isn't over but different, and begin discussions about our relationships with other people, especially, that children are not responsible for the death of a loved one, even if they were mad or upset with them before they died, which is a common issue for many kids who face death.It also showcases that grief lingers, even when we know our loved one is in Heaven.

What is Heaven Like? by Beverly Lewis
What is Heaven Like?
Good for kids Later Elementary - Middle School aged
What his grandfather dies, a young boy asks questions about Heaven to those in his community. From his sister to the Librarian to the Ice Cream Man, to his Grandmother and more along the way. It is a sweet story of not only what Heaven will be like, but of a supportive community. Addresses well that we can be simultaneously happy for our loved one who is now in Heaven and sad for our own loss. It also drives home the point that the true treasure of Heaven is getting to spend eternity with Jesus Himself.

Someday Heaven, by Larry Libby
Someday Heaven
Good for Elementary - Middle School aged children
Rather than follow a story line, this book addresses different questions that kids may have about Heaven and what life may be like there. For example, " Where is Heaven?, Will it always be light in Heaven?, Will I need money in Heaven? Will my Grandpa still be old in Heaven? How do I get to Heaven?, etc. Each question is answered using a Bible verse and more in depth explanation. It brings up many good questions that a lot of children have about the mysteries of what life in Heaven will be like, though it does not really address death.

**Still Looking For**
Books addressing stillbirth, miscarriage and infant loss that are specifically for children and are Christian in theme/theology.

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