Over many years we have developed a list of books and resources which we and others have found helpful. If you would like further help in finding a title or would like to suggest a title to add to our listing please contact the Support and Information Team or call 0800 02 888 40.
Please note: inclusion on this list does not constitute a recommendation by Child Bereavement UK, as we are aware that whether a book is helpful or not is subjective and as such is a decision that can only be made by the individual reader.
We have put links, where possible, from the books to their Amazon page. If you click through to Amazon via the hyperlinks and purchase a book Child Bereavement UK will receive a small commission from Amazon. It will not affect your purchase price, so please consider doing this.
My Brother and Me
Author: Sarah Courtauld
Using delightful illustrations which a young child will relate to, this book is designed to help a child understand how they and we might feel when someone in our family is seriously ill. Facing illness and change can bring to the surface difficult emotions for both children and adults. It provides opportunities for reassurance and a chance to talk about any worries a child might have.
As Big as it Gets
Author: Julie Stokes and Diana Crossley
This booklet aims to help families cope with the serious illness of a parent or child. It provides a range of ideas for parents and carers so that they may feel more able to explain to their children what is happening. The booklet also includes some suggestions about what parents might say to children and how to offer support.
When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness
Author: Marge Heegaard
This book aims to help families communicate and evaluate a child’s understanding and feelings about family change while teaching basic concepts of illness and healthy coping skills.
The Secret C
Author: Julie Stokes
Cancer in the family is hard for everyone. How can adults explain when they themselves are trying to come to terms with the implications of the diagnosis? This book offers simple, honest explanations of what cancer is and how it affects someone. It also gives short explanations of treatments such as radiotherapy. It will help adults to answer difficult questions children need to ask.
Fox & Goldfish
Fox knows that Goldfish is very unwell and is going to die. Before it’s too late he takes his friend on an epic adventure beyond the fishbowl. This story shows the importance of spending precious time with someone who is ill, and doing things together whilst the ill person is still able to. This is important in building memories for a child, and for the person who is ill, of spending precious moments together. It would be particularly relevant and useful in preparing a child for the death of a special person in their lives.
What About Me?: When Brothers and Sisters Get Sick
Author: Allan Peterkin
When a child is seriously ill, siblings experience mixed emotions and hurt feelings, and wonder about the future. In this heartwarming story, the narrator, a confused young girl, expresses all of these concerns when her brother goes to the hospital for an extended stay.
Jack's Radio Mission
By Sarah Boland and Katie Wall
Knowing how scary it can seem, the author decided to write a story that might help reassure children going through radiotherapy. Jack is sitting in the waiting room feeling a bit rubbish and he thinks cancer is rubbish. He decides to turn his radiotherapy into a space mission and fly his space machine through the stars. On completing his mission, Jacks decides his treatment might not be so bad after all.
Beyond the Rainbow: A Workbook for Children in the Advanced Stages of a Very Serious Illness
Author: Marge Heegard
This book provides children and their caregivers a broad range of opportunities to express thoughts and feelings related to advanced stages of a life-threatening illness. The book has a warm interactive quality to it. Through the creative activities it offers, children can learn to communicate more openly about their illness, develop coping skills, express personal wishes, foster hope, and share thoughts and concerns about death.
Standing on His Own Two Feet: A Diary of Dying
Author: Sue Grant
Alexander had just begun his studies at university when he was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. In this honest account, Alex’s mother traces the impact of the diagnosis on the whole family and outlines the issues that arose during diagnosis, treatment and terminal stages of her son’s illness. “Standing on His Own Two Feet” offers an insight into how health care systems serve the terminally ill, the choices faced by families, and ways of providing the best possible care at home and maintaining the patient’s dignity until the end.
Attending to the Fact: Staying with Dying
Author: Hilary Elfick and David Head
This inspirational collection of poetry explores one of the most difficult and painful subjects to make sense of in writing – what it is like to care for the dying and the dead. Drawing on the authors’ own work in hospices, these poems take the reader on a journey that explores the experience of either supporting, or being, someone going through the physical changes and complex emotions that accompany ill-health and death.