Death and dying

A PLACE IN MY HEART by Annette Aubrey. (preschool, Grandfather)
Andrew’s granddad has died, and Andrew is feeling very sad and confused.

RUDI’S POND by Eve Bunting. (lower – middle primary, fellow student)
A sad story of a little girl losing her best friend from school and how the class remembers  Rudi.

GRANPA by John Burningham. ( preschool, granpa)
A picture book classic with minimal text showing a loving and sharing relationship between grandfather and granddaughter until all of a sudden, Grandfather is no longer there.

UP IN HEAVEN by Emma Clark. ( Lower primary, dog)
Daisy is devoted to Arthur but she can’t keep up with him anymore because she is old and tired. But when she wakes up in heaven one day, she feels young again. A truly comforting book for all children who mourn a pet.

THE GRANDAD TREE by Trish Cooke. (Mid – upper primary, Grandad)
Leigh and Vin used to play with Grandad under the apple tree in their garden. Now Grandad has gone but, like the tree, the children’s love for him lives on forever…
A gentle, moving tale about the cycle of life and the enduring power of love.

BRODIE by Joy Cowley. (Mid – Upper Primary, Fellow student)
Brodie was a really cool guy. He was always fun to be with, and he was an awesome artist. Planes and helicopters were his passion, and we used to joke about me bungy- jumping from his chopper. Yeah right! We knew he was sick, but never thought he would die.

SAYING GOODBYE TO LULU by Corinne Demas. (Kinder – lower primary, Dog)
When the time comes to say goodbye to her lovable dog Lulu, the girl is unable to do so. How can she say goodbye? How do you honor a loved one and still move on with your life? A beautiful, timeless story to touch all readers.

NANA UPSTAIRS AND NANA DOWNSTAIRS by Tomie de Paola. (Lower primary, Grandma)
Tommy and his family would go to visit his Grandmother and his Great-Grandmother every Sunday. This Great-Grandmother was 94 years old and was always in bed upstairs.
So Tommy called them Nana Downstairs and Nana Upstairs. One morning Tommy’s mother told him that Nana Upstairs died last night.

PASSING ON by Mike Dumbleton. (Pre-school - lower primary, Grandmother)
A Grandmother and her young grandchild treasure the time they have together. The wonderful hours spent reading, fishing, and paddling in the sea will always be remembered. An uplifting story about a relationship that never dies.
SOPHIE by Mem Fox. (Pre-school - lower primary, Grandpa)
Sophie loves her Grandpa. And her Grandpa, of course, loves Sophie. They are best friends. And then one day there is no Grandpa…

LITTLE BEAR’S GRANDAD by Nigel Gray. (Pre-school - lower primary, Grandad)
There was nothing Little Bear liked to do than visiting his Grandad every Friday. They had tea together and then climbed up into the tree house in the garden to look out at the big world beyond. Grandad told Little Bear stories of when he was young. But one day, Grandad was taken to hospital. He was too weak to tell Little Bear a story, so Little Bear told him one instead and, afterwards, Grandad fell into the deepest of sleeps…

GOODBYE MOUSIE by Robie H. Harris. (Lower primary. Mouse)
When the little boy woke up in the morning and tickled Mousie’s tummy, Mousie didn’t wake up. A simple and straightforward look at the death of a pet through the eyes of a young child.

THE SOUND OF THE SEA by Jacqueline Harvey. (Mid primary, mother)
Sam Sullivan remembers the precious times he spent with his mother before she became ill and went away. With the love and support of his grandparents, he gradually overcomes his anger, bewilderment and grief and begins to understand that, although his mother is gone, she will always be with him.

GRANDMA’S SHOES by Libby Hathorn (Lower - mid primary, Grandma)
When Grandma died, lots of people came to our house. “Who could ever step into such a woman’s shoes?” the family asked. After hearing these words, a little girl slips her feet into her Grandmother’s shoes and is magically transported on a fantastic journey filled with images reminiscent of her Grandma.

THE DOVE TREE by Nan Hunt. (Mid primary, Young girl)
When Hannah was five she was given a tree, which was planted at her birthday party with the help of all her friends. Hannah did not live to see her tree flower but her very special friend did and for her it had a very special meaning.

GLASS TEARS by Jane Jolly. (Mid – upper primary, Father)
Tian and her family make a special glass bouquet to place on their father’s grave. Some years before, he left Vietnam on a ship bound for wider, browner lands but never came home. As Tian threads the tiny glass beads onto the wire stems she remembers her father and sheds for him, a glass tear.

GOODBYE MOG by Judith Kerr. (Pre-school – Mid primary, Cat)
Mog was tired. She was dead tired. Mog dies but a little bit of her stayed awake to see what would happen next. But Mog stays around, ghost-like, as she watches the family mourn and then try to take care of an orphaned kitten.

JAMIE’S STAR by Sue Lawson. (Pre-school, Mother)
Jamie has coped with many challenges since his Mum became ill, but how will he prepare for the toughest on of all – facing life without her? A moving story of love, acceptance and hope.

BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS WITH LIFETIMES IN BETWEEN by Bryan Mellonie. (Lower – upper primary – adult, People)
A gentle and moving text that is complimented by Robert Ingpen’s illustrations. The notion of a cycle is emphasised and human lifetimes seen in context of all living things. The language of the text is simple, factual and straightforward. It is pointed out that death can come at time, when young or old.

DAN’S GRANDPA by Sally Morgan. (Pre-school, Aboriginal, Grandpa)
Dan and his Grandpa had a special friendship. ‘Don’t worry Dan,’ Grandpa said one day. ‘No matter what happens I’ll always be with you, looking after you.”

JUST A LITTLE BROWN DOG by Sally Morgan. (Lower – upper primary, Aboriginal, Dog & Mother)
A little brown dog is the runt of the litter but in young Tom, who has also lost his mother, he finds a firm and loving companion.

GRANDPA by Lilith Norman. (Pre-school - lower primary, Grandpa)
Blake thought his Grandpa was a pain in the neck sometimes. And Grandpa told boring stories about his life- over and over again. But now Grandpa is gone, Blake remembered some other things about him, like how he was good at fixing things and how he had made a whole shelf of animals out of horseshoe nails. Blake realizes that he treasures these memories of Grandpa.

REMEMBERING GRANDAD by Gianni Padoan. (Mid-upper primary, Grandad)
With the help of his friends, and the old man’s wise words, James comes to terms with the loss of his beloved Grandad.

JASPER’S DAY by Marjorie Blain Parker. (Mid – upper primary, Dog)
Today, Riley’s family is celebrating Jasper’s Day. Everything they do will be in honour of Jasper – sort of like a birthday. But it isn’t Jasper’s birthday. The old dog’s cancer has become really bad. Riley knows they can’t let him suffer any longer, but letting go will be the hardest thing he’s ever had to do.

THANK YOU, GRANDPA by Lynn Plourde. (Mid primary, Grandfather)
Over the years a grandfather and grand-daughter enjoy many walks through the woods. Each one brings a new discovery. One day they find a grasshopper lying still. “What can we do?” the little girl asks. “We can say thank you and good-bye,” Grandpa replies. One day the girl walks alone, but her grandfather’s lessons remain.

LOVELY OLD ROLY by Michael Rosen. (Lower – mid primary, Cat)
Nothing is the same without lovely old Roly. The children don’t feel like playing their usual games. But then a new cat comes to stay – a sausage on legs who slowly makes herself a place in the family.

DESSER THE BEST EVER CAT by Maggie Smith. (Pre-school - lower primary, Cat)
This is the story about the best cat who ever lived. His name was Desser.

JUST DRAGON by Liliana Stafford. (Lower primary, Grandpa)
When Grandpa is taken to hospital, Emma feels lost. But then a long wooden boat with a great carved dragon comes sailing out of the night sky.

GIDJA by Percy Trezise. (Mid – upper primary, Daughter)
Gidja is a typical Trezise Aboriginal Dreamtime story. The first people to kill fat Gidja because he has let his daughter, Lilga the Morning Star, die. Prior to this death there had been no death in the world. Gidja does not die but becomes the moon who appears to die but unlike Man, always returns.

BEAR’S LAST JOURNEY by Udo Weigelt. (Lower – upper primary, Bear)
The forest animals know that bear is sick but they are shocked to see how ill he looks. Then bear tells them that he is going on a special journey and finally admits that he is dying. Little Fox is especially upset – he cannot imagine life without Bear. A moving story about death, grieving and the solace to be found in memory.

ETHAN : WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BABY BROTHER? By Lisa White. (Lower primary, Brother)
A true story written through the eyes of a child on the loss of his baby brother at birth. This title helps explain this difficult topic using simple illustrations.

FARMER FRED’S COW by Margaret Wild. (Lower – mid primary, Cow)
Horse, Pig, Cow and Donkey have lived with Farmer Fred their whole lives. No one, including Fred, has ever been anywhere else. Now they are all old but Pig tells Cow that when she dies she will grow wings and ‘fly over the mountains, over the rivers, over the sea’. Horse says it is all rubbish but nevertheless they all dream of this wonderful thing. When Cow dies she does indeed come back to them, flying with wonderful wings as do a host of other animals. An odd tale about ageing, but one of kindness, hope and beauty.

JENNY ANGEL by Margaret Wild. (Lower - mid primary, Brother)
Jenny is a guardian angel. At least, that’s what she believes. If she stays on guard every night, she believes the doctors will be wrong and Davy will not die. This is the tender story of Jenny’s journey through from denial to acceptance.

OLD PIG by Margaret Wild. (Pre-school, Pig)
Old Pig and Granddaughter live happily together for many years, until Old Pig grows too tired to go on living, and Granddaughter must prepare to look after herself. A heart wrenching but unsentimental story beautifully illustrated in soft pastel shades.

TOBY by Margaret Wild.  (Lower – mid primary, Dog)
Everything is changing for Sarah so she doesn’t want to face the impending death of her dog Toby, until the last moments. A much loved family dog dies and the family grieves in ways that reflect their own understanding of death.

Updated: 31/07/2008