As Prince Harry has so publicly spoken about, it is good to 'Start a conversation' about how you are feeling – whatever that might be about. But he spoke specifically about losing his mother at the age of 12. When a child loses his or her mum or dad, how can that child possibly begin to articulate how he/she feels. A good way to start the conversation may be to let the child empathise with characters in a story. Here are our favourite books about starting that conversation.
The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic and Olivier Tallec is an incredibly straightforward book about a child whose has lost his mother. He is overwhelmed with sadness, anger and fear that he will forget her. He shuts all the windows to keep in his mother's familiar smell and scratches open the cut on his knee to help him recall her comforting voice. He doesn't know how to speak to his dad any more, and when Grandma visits and throws open the windows, it's more than the boy can take - until she shows him another way to hold on to the feeling of his mum's love. With tenderness, touches of humour and unflinching emotional truth, Charlotte Moundlic captures the loneliness of grief through the eyes of a child.
Missing Mumming by Rebecca Cobb is another beautiful book by well-renowned author Rebecca Cobb. Ann Chalmers of the Child Bereavement charity has this to say about it: 'Missing Mummy says so much in a powerful and visual way - the illustrations speak volumes on their own and the minimal text provides a useful prompt to open up conversations around the many questions children may have when they experience the death of someone important in their life.' --Ann Chalmers, Chief Executive, Child Bereavement Charity
Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley is about a badger who is so old that he knows he will soon die. He tries to prepare his friends for this event, but when he does die, they are still grief-stricken. Gradually they come to terms with their grief by remembering all the practical things Badger taught them, and so Badger lives on in his friends' memories of him.
The Day the Sea Went Out and Never Came Back by Margot Sunderland and Nicky Armstrong is an unbelievably moving book.
Eric is a sand dragon who loves the sea very much. Each day, he watches it going out and coming back. But one day, the sea goes out and does not come back. Eric waits and waits, but it does not come back. So he falls on the sand in terrible pain. It feels to him as if he has lost everything. After many bleak days, Eric sees a little wild flower. It is dying. Eric knows he must save it. He finds water. More and more flowers appear and so Eric starts to make a beautiful rock pool garden. And as he does, he finds the courage to feel the full pain of his loss, instead of closing his heart. He realises that his memories of his precious sea are like a special kind of treasure in his mind, a treasure he will never lose.