Resources from Preparing Your Children For Goodbye

Death and Dying

Kramer, H., & Kramer, K. (1993).  Conversations at midnight: Coming to terms with dying and death.  New York: Morrow.

Levine, S. (1997).  A Year To Live:  How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last.  New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.

Lynn, J., & Harrold, J. (1999).  Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness.  New York, NY: Oxford University Press. (An online version of the full text of this book is available at

Oishi, E., & Thompson, S. (2008).  Before It’s Too Late: Don’t Leave Your Loved Ones Unprepared.  Lake Oswego, Oregon:

Pausch, R. (2008).  The Last Lecture.  New York: Hyperion.

Polce-Lynch, M. (2006).  Nothing left unsaid: Creating a healing legacy with final words and letters.  New York: Marlowe.

Shaw, E. (1994).  What to do when a loved one dies: A practical and compassionate guide to dealing with death on life’s terms.  Irvine, CA: Dickens.

Advance Care Planning

Doukas, D. J., & Reichel, W. (2007).  Planning for Uncertainty: Living Wills and Other Advance Directives for You and Your Family.  Second edition.  Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Kind, V. (2010).  The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making.  Austin, Texas: Greenleaf Book Group Press.

Kingsbury, L. (2009).  People Planning Ahead: A Guide to Communicating Healthcare and End-of-Life Wishes.  Washington, D.C.: American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Life Review and Reminiscence Therapy

Birren, J., & Cochran, K. (2001).  Telling the Stories of Life through Guided Autobiography Groups.  The Johns Hopkins University Press.

An introduction to life review using a handbook format.

Garland, J., & Garland, C. (2001).  Life Review In Health and Social Care: A Practitioners Guide.  East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.

Covers the use of life review by professionals working in therapeutic settings.

Haight, B. (2007).  The Handbook of Structured Life Review.  Health Professions Press.

Life review can be conducted in group settings, which has an added benefit of promoting social interaction between participants.

Ethical Wills

Baines, B. K. (2006).  Ethical Wills. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo.

Turnbull, Susan B. (2005).  The Wealth of Your Life: A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating Your Ethical Will.  Wenham, MA: Benedict Press.

Grief Books for Adults

American Psychiatric Association (1994).  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed.  Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

D. E. Balk, & C. A. Corr, (Eds.), Adolescent Encounters with Death, Bereavement, and Coping (pp. 81-93).  New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Bonanno, George A. (2009).  The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss.  New York: Basic Books.

The Dougy Center (n.d.).  What About the Kids? Understanding Their Needs in Funeral Planning and Services.  Portland, Oregon.

Emswiler, J. P., & Emswiler, M. A. (2000).  Guiding Your Child Through Grief.  New York: Bantam.

Goldman, L. (1999).  Life and loss: A guide to help grieving children.  New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Greenwall-Lewis, P., & Lippman, J. G. (2004).  Helping children cope with the death of a parent: A guide for the first year.  Westport, CT: Praeger.

Grollman, E. A. (1990).  Talking about death: A dialogue between parent and child.  Third Edition.  Boston: Beacon Press.

Grollman, E. A. (1996).  Bereaved Children and Teens: A Support Guide for Parents and Professionals.  Boston: Beacon Press.

Huntley, T. H. (2002).  Helping children grieve: When someone they love dies.  Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.

Kroen, W. C. (1996).  Helping Children Cope with the Loss of a Loved One: A Guide for Grownups.  Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit.

Reynolds, S. W. (2010).  Room for Change: Practical Ideas for Reviving After Loss.  Austin, Texas: Revival Publishing.

Worden, J. W. (1996).  Children and grief: When a parent dies.  New York: Guilford.

Grief Books for Young People, By Age and Grade Level

Early Childhood (Preschool)

Frisbie Juneau, B. (1988).  Sad but OK: My Daddy Died Today A child’s view of death.  Nevada City, NV: Blue Dolphin.

A nine-year-old tells of dealing with her father’s terminal illness and his approaching death.  Her questions are answered honestly by her parents.  Through reading about another child’s experiences, such as visiting the funeral home and cemetery, your children can see how they can be involved in the end-of-life process.

McLaughlin, K. (2001).  The Memory Box.  Omaha, NE: Centering.

This book tells the story of a young boy whose grandfather has died.  He talks about all the things that he and his Grandpa did together and how he misses him.  He creates a memory box out of Grandpa’s tackle box and places items within it that remind him of the special times that they shared.

Ages 4-8 (Grades K–3)

Boulden, J., & Boulden, J. (1994).  Goodbye Forever Activity Book.  Weaverville, CA: Boulden.

This activity and coloring book explains in simple terms the concept of death as a natural process.  It includes sections on saying good-bye, burial, the ways death is different from sleep, and accepting feelings.

Buscaglia, L. (1982). The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A story of life for all ages.  Thorofare, NJ: Slack.

Freddie the Leaf learns about the cycle of life as he and his friends go through the seasons.  It is a wonderful allegory for the process of life and death.

Kaplow, J., & Pincus, D. (2007).  Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile: A story about coping with the loss of a parent.  Washington, DC: Magination.

Samantha Jane’s father has died, and she no longer feels like smiling.  A kind neighbor notices her struggle and asks her about her missing smile.  She opens up about her feelings and thoughts of the fear that she and her mother will never be happy again.  She realizes through talking with her neighbor, and with her mother, that it is okay to be happy even though her father cannot be with her to enjoy life together.

Stickney, D. (2004). Water bugs & dragonflies: Explaining death to young children.  Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim.

This book for small children addresses their questions about what lies beyond the grave.  The author uses the metaphor of dragonfly larvae, which live below the surface of the water, and of their change into adult dragonflies, which fly above the surface, to illustrate the notion of someone going out of our sight to a wonderful place.  They cannot come back to tell us about it; instead, we have to wait for our time to go to them.

Ages 5-10 (Grades K-5)

Silverman, J. (1999). Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for helping kids cope when a special person dies.  Minneapolis, MN: Fairview.

This activity book helps children express their grief through art by way of drawing and writing their responses to open-ended questions pertaining to death and bereavement.

Ages 6-12 (Grades 1-6)

Brehm, M., & Wenzlaff, R. (2007).  Get rid of the hurt: A reproducible workbook for kids experiencing loss.  Warminster, PA: MarCo Products.

This book helps children understand why people grieve and includes many pages for children to write or draw their thoughts and feelings.

Schwiebert, P., & Deklyen, C. (2005).  Tear Soup.  Portland, OR: Grief Watch.

Grandy is a wise woman who has just experienced the death of someone she loves.  She begins to make tear soup (an allegory for the grieving process), which is made differently by each cook who makes it.  This wonderful book explains the ways that each person grieves in his or her own way and timeframe.

Ages 9-12 (Grades 4-7)

Heegard, M. (1988).  When Someone Very Special Dies: Children can learn to cope with grief.  Minneapolis, MN: Woodland.

This book is intended to help children through various levels of grief using writing and drawing.  It is a valuable tool, especially for those who still have issues with verbally expressing their grief.


Grollman, E. (1993).  Straight Talk About Death for Teenagers: How to cope with losing someone you love.  Boston: Beacon Press.

Intended to be read by teenagers, this book covers practical coping strategies for everyday life.  The format is easy to read, using large type and lots of white space to make the text less overwhelming.

Hughes, L. (2005). You are not alone: Teens talk about life after the loss of a parent.  New York: Scholastic Paperbacks.

This book lets teens know that they do not have to feel alone and there is help available.  The book opens with the author’s story of losing both of her parents by the age of 12.  Readers talk about what it is like to go through the process of grieving and dealing with life without a parent.

Places to Turn to for Help

Aging With Dignity

Toll free: 888-594-7437 (888-5WISHES)

Provides the “Five Wishes” advance care directive documents to help you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself.

American Association of Pastoral Counselors


This is a membership organization, which has over 1600 pastoral counselors listed for referral.  If you wish to receive counseling from a mental health professional with a seminary degree who can guide you spiritually, please refer to this site’s directory.

American Cancer Society


The goal of the American Cancer Society is to prevent cancer, save lives, and diminish suffering from cancer.  The ACS has a comprehensive site index to find information on practically any topic pertaining to cancer, as well as links to support services and programs near you.

American Counseling Association

The American Counseling Association is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession by providing continuing education, publications, research, and other information that assists counselors in expanding their knowledge and expertise.  You can use their search engine called “Counselorfind” to locate counselors’ names, locations, and specific areas of practice using a list compiled by the National Board of Certified Counselors.

American Psychological Association (APA)


202 336-5500

The APA website has a link to its Psychologist Locator.  By typing in your local information, such as zip code, you will be given a list of psychologists in your area.

Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE)

Tel: 404 320-1472

ACPE is a multicultural, multifaith organization devoted to providing education and improving the quality of ministry and pastoral care offered by spiritual caregivers of all faiths through the clinical educational methods of Clinical Pastoral Education.

Children’s Grief Education Association (CGEA)

303 722-2319

CGEA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the needs of grieving children and families by providing education and support to those who serve them.  Their web site contains helpful information and links to other informative sites.

The Compassionate Friends

877-969-0010 (toll-free)

The Compassionate Friends offers a nationwide support network for bereaved families after the death of a child.  It has more than 625 chapters with locations in all 50 states.

The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families

This site lists over 500 centers that provide grief counseling and services.  On the website, you can type in your city, state, zip code, or the name of a particular center in your area.

The Family Caregiver Alliance: National Center on Caregiving

415 434-3388 or 800 445-8106

The Family Caregiver Alliance has a website for those who are providing care for seriously ill or elderly family members.  It offers programs at national, state and local levels to support and sustain caregivers.  Informational sections contain tips and advice, as well as suggestions for further resources.

Funeral Consumers Alliance, Inc. (FCA)



FCA is a federation of nonprofit consumer information societies protecting a consumer’s right to choose a meaningful and affordable funeral.  FCA publications provide funeral planning information with a consumer advocacy perspective.

Growth House, Inc.

415 863-3045

Growth House distributes information about end-of-life care for both professionals and the general public.  With over 4,000 pages of educational material on death, dying, hospice, palliative care, grief, and other related topics, this organization has one of the most comprehensive sites on the Internet.  It has an online bookstore that includes most of the books listed in the bibliography of this book.

National Cancer Institute

NCI Public Inquiries Office


The NCI site contains information about practically everything about the topic of cancer, including a section on coping with loss and bereavement.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)

703 837-1500

NHPCO is the largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States.  Their mission is to improve end-of-life care and help provide access to hospice care for those who are terminally ill and their loved ones.  Their web site includes a search feature that can help you locate a hospice or palliative care program by state or city in the United States.

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