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Death of a Parent

Alexander-Greene, A. Sunflowers and Rainbows for Tia. Omaha, NE: Centering Corporation, 1999. (SA)

A 10-year-old African-American girl tells how she feels when her father dies and how she and her family express their sadness as well as their love for him. She describes her experiences of learning about her father's death and preparing for and attending the funeral. The story shows how family members can support one another.

Blume, J. Tiger Eyes. Scarsdale, New York; Bradbury Press, 1981. (SA/AD)

This fictionalized account of a teenager whose father has just been killed provides a wonderful analysis of normal feelings.

Brooks, M. Two Moons in August. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991. (AD)

Kieran, a new boy visiting her small hometown for the summer, helps Sidonie and her family comes together again following the death of Sidonie’s mother.

Clifton, L. Everett Anderson’s Goodbye. New York: Holt, 1983. (PS)

A simple, poetic story of the death of a young African-American boy’s father.

Cohen, C.K. and Heiney, J. Daddy's Promise. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Promise Publications, 1997. (SA)

A boy whose father died feels angry that his father did not keep his promise be with him and help him learn to play baseball. He is visited by his father in dreams and talks with his mother for support. Eventually he learns that his father can always be with him.

Douglas, E. Rachel and the Upside Down Heart (Second Edition). Dancing Magic Heart Books, 2007. (SA)

When Rachel is four years old, her daddy dies, changing her life forever. At first Rachel feels so sad; it’s as if her heart has been turned upside down. This is the true story of how Rachel rediscovers happiness while keeping the memory of her father alive in her heart. This book is available exclusively through

Dragonwagon, C. Winter Holding Spring. New York: Macmillan, 1990. (SA)

Following the death of her mother, Sarah and her father struggle through the first painful year. At first separately, then together, they begin to remember Sarah’s mother with joy as well as grief.

Hammond, J. When My Mommy Died. Flint, Michigan: Cranbrook Publishing, 1980. (PS/SA)

Hammond, J. When My Dad Died. Flint, MI: Cranbrook Publishing, 1981. (PS/SA)

These simple colorings book style publications tell of the experiences and feelings associated with the death of a parent from the perspective of a young child. Activity pages encourage expression of feelings.

Hoffman, A. Green Angel. Scholastic, 2003 (AD)

A fifteen year old girl dives into despair following the sudden death of her parents and younger sister in a fire that was a community-wide disaster. Haunted by loss and the past, she eventually begins to heal through a series of mysterious encounters. A haunting but ultimately hopeful tale.

Holmes, M. Molly's Mom Died. Omaha, NE: Centering Corporation, 1999. (SA)

Molly is an older elementary age girl whose mother died. She tells of the effects of her mother's death on her and how much she misses her mother. The illustrations in this book are especially good and expressive. Not a long book, but very effective.

Holmes, M. Sam's Dad Died. Omaha, NE: Centering Corporation, 1999. (SA)

Sam is an older elementary age boy whose father died. He talks of the effects of his father's death on him and how much he misses his father. The illustrations in this book are especially good and expressive. Not a long book, but very effective.

Leiner, K. Mama Does the Mambo. New York: Hyperion Books, 2001 (SA)

Sofia loved to watch her parents dance together, but since her father’s death, she wonders is she will ever see her mama dance again. Set in Havana, Cuba and sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases, this is a beautiful story from a daughter’s perspective about a family coming to embrace life after death.

Nelson, V.M. Possibles. New York: Paperstar, 1995. (SA/AD)

Just before Sheppy’s father died, he told her that anything is possible, but Sheppy finds that hard to believe. While Sheppy learns more about her father and his past, her brother, mother and she all grieve individually and alone. Eventually, they learn to support one another and mourn together as a family.

Polikoff, B.G. Life’s a Funny Proposition, Horatio. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992. (SA/AD)

As Horatio tries to adjust to the death of his father from lung cancer, O. P., Horatio’s grandfather, mourns the loss of his dog, Mollie.

Powell, S. Geranium Morning. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda, 1990. (SA)

Two friends who lose parents, one suddenly in a car accident and one by illness, learn to share and deal with their grief.

Tiffault, B.W. A Quilt for Elizabeth. Omaha: Centering Corporation, 1992. (SA)

This story tells of young girl who experiences many different feelings after her father dies. With the loving guidance of her grandmother, Elizabeth assembles a patchwork quilt made from the fabrics from her family’s old clothes and belongings. As Elizabeth realizes she has many simple yet vibrant memories of her father, she gains a greater sense of herself and her father’s spiritual presence in her life.

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