The Hero in My Pocket, is written by Marlene Lee, who has her MA in bereavement studies. The book is published by Early Light Press, and is excellent for children 6-12 years of age. The artwork in the book was done by children for children, which makes this book very special.
For Greg, 10, and Grace, 7, their father is their special hero who serves in the military. They are proud of him. When their dad is killed in combat, they become acutely aware that every comment about their dad has changed from the first tense to the past tense. They ask their mom to tell them what happened to “just make sure it was true.” In working through their grief, they find a special way to honor and remember their “Special Hero.” This book is more than about reading. It also is about drawing, writing, sharing and remembering on special “Hero Pages.” A very important tool for parents and professionals helping children cope with grief. Although written for military children, this book is a good grief book for any child suffering the loss of a loved one.
A Kids Journey of Grief, TAPS Edition, is available to TAPS children and youth who have lost a loved one in the armed forces. Parents may request a copy by contacting the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, (TAPS), and tell them the branch of service where their loved one served. TAPS also sponsors annual Good Grief Camps for children on Memorial Day Weekend in Washington D.C., May 27-30. And, they hold regional Good Grief Camps across the country during the year.
Help Me Say Goodbye, by Janis L. Silverman, published by Fairview Press, for kids 4 to 8 years of age who have experienced grief. It is a well-crafted summary of the grief process, exploring all aspects of grief, and ways to cope. The author has created this book as an art therapy book to help a child express what they may not be able to communicate, but can do through drawing. There are few sentences on each page, but each one supports a very strong feeling or message that the child is to respond to. For example, death is not something you can control, it is not your fault that your special person died — draw about some of the things you can’t control. When a loved one dies, birthdays and holidays can be hard –you may want to plant a tree or do something in memory of your loved one. Do you have a good box to keep your memories like pictures and objects in? — write about what you want to put in your box. Keep something that belonged to your loved one so you can touch and look at it — think about why these things are important to you. This book is filled with great ideas and is certainly a wonderful keepsake for any child working through loss.