Friday 16 May 2014

Goodbye Grandma: helping young children cope with bereavement

Goodbye Grandma: helping young children cope with bereavement by Melanie Walsh (Walker Books)
HC RRP $24.95
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Death is the most difficult thing for children to cope with or even understand. ‘What does dead mean?’ ‘Where do people go when they die?’

Many adults have been asked that question. This thoughtfully produced book about the inevitable for every living thing is a great tool for when words and thoughts fail.

The book is designed with cut outs that form frames, and pages cut in different shapes. The paper is thick with bold lines, brilliant colours and illustrations that focus on the point being made, or the question being asked and answered. The text is subtle and satisfying.

Created entirely with the child’s reception in mind, it gives an adequate explanation in simple language, to the harder questions that children throw at us.

It also addresses the adult reaction to death. Loss, like grief, is an ageless issue. At a Wake, adults share their memories and the things they knew about the person that’s passed. Children can see that older people too, feel the same way as they do.  The book also stresses the importance of remembering.

I found this a fantastic resource and one that should be included in Libraries and schools, for there are few books that handle the issue of bereavement so well. Another outstanding book on this subject is Shona Innes’ Life is Like the Wind.

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