Grief

“It is useless for me to describe to you how terrible Violet, Klaus, and even Sunny felt in the time that followed. If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it.”
– Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

Aftershock

Ashley, Bernard. Aftershock. London : Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2011.

“Makis, having quickly adjusted to life in London where he and his mother Sophia have moved after his father’s death in an earthquake in Greece, finds himself torn between his commitment to the football team and his desire to help Sophia, whose grief and inability to speak English has thrown her into depression.” – WAFMS. [London (England); Soccer] A British novel recommended for competent readers 11 to 14 years old. 

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
– William Shakespeare, Macbeth 

Millions

Boyce, Frank Cottrell. Millions. London : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2004.

“After their mother dies, two brothers find a huge amount of money which they must spend quickly before England switches to the new European currency, but they disagree on what to do with it.” – FVRL. A well-plotted novel for readers 11 to 14 years old. [Brothers; England; Money; Saints; Visions] 

“But grief makes a monster out of us sometimes . . . and sometimes you say and do things to the people you love that you can’t forgive yourself for.”
Melina Marchetta, On the Jellicoe Road

Getting Near to Baby

Couloumbis, Audrey. Getting Near to Baby. New York: Putnam, 1999.

“Although thirteen-year-old Willa Jo and her Aunt Patty seem to be constantly at odds, staying with her and Uncle Hob helps Willa Jo and her younger sister come to terms with the death of their family’s baby.” – OhioLINK. Recommended for introspective readers 11 to 14 years old.

Chasing Redbird

Creech, Sharon. Chasing Redbird. London: Macmillan Children’s Books, 1997.

“Thirteen-year-old Zinnia Taylor uncovers family secrets and self truths while clearing a mysterious settler trail that begins on her family’s farm in Kentucky.” – FVRL. A quiet novel by an outstanding author. Recommended for readers 11 to 14 years old. [Aunts; Guilt; Kentucky; Uncles] 

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”  – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Seeing Red

Erskine, Kathryn. Seeing Red. New York: Scholastic Press, 2013.

“When twelve-year-old Frederick “Red” Porter’s father dies in 1972, his mother wants to sell their automobile repair shop and move her two sons back to Ohio, but Red is desperate to stop the sale even if it means unearthing some dark family secrets in a Virginia rife with racial tensions.” – FVRL. A 344-page novel recommended for avid readers 11 to 14 years old.

“It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching, and finding.”
– Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Bird Lake Moon

Henkes, Kevin. Bird Lake Moon. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2008.

 “Twelve-year-old Mitch, spending the summer with his grandparents at Bird Lake after his parents’ separation, becomes friends with ten-year-old Spencer, who has returned with his family to the lake where his little brother drowned years earlier, and as the boys spend time together and their friendship grows, each of them begins to heal.” – WAFMS. [Divorce; Family life; Wisconsin] 

Nothing But Ghosts

Kephart, Beth. Nothing But Ghosts. HarperTeen, 2009.

Sixteen-year-old Katie grieves the death of her mother, uncovers a mystery and acquires a boyfriend while working as a gardener on the estate of a recluse who has not been seen for decades. Recommended for readers 13 to 17 years old. [Fathers and daughters; Gardening; Librarians; Mothers; Art; Summer; Secrets; Research; Painting]

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
– C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Baby

MacLachlan, Patricia. Baby. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, [1995], c1993.

“Taking care of a baby left with them at the end of the tourist season helps a family come to terms with the death of their own infant son.” – WAFMS.  A lyrical novel highly recommended for sensitive readers 9-years-old and up. 

“To weep is to make less the depth of grief.”
– William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part 3

Maclachlan, Patricia. The Poet’s Dog. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2016.
Are we really loved? Will will be remembered when we’re gone? Who will save us when we’re lost?
This short easy-to-read novel told from the point of view of an Irish wolfhound portrays the abiding bond between people and animals. It demonstrates the power of poetry and the mysterious connections that carry us through hardships. A philosophical novella highly recommended for readers and listeners 6 years old and up. [Blizzards; Brothers and sisters; Dogs Grief; Human-animal relationships; Loss (Psychological); Poets]

The Reluctant Journal

Nielsen-Fernland, Susin. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen : (who is only writing this because his therapist said he had to, which stinks). Toronto: Tundra Books, 2012. 

“Thirteen-year-old Henry’s life is turned upside down when his older brother Jesse picks up their father’s hunting rifle and leaves home, leaving him and his family to move to a new city, where he keeps a journal to confide in.” – WAFMS. [Brothers; Bullying; Depression, Mental; Suicide]

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

Pitcher, Anabel. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. New York: Little, Brown, 2012, c2011.

“With his family still grieving over his sister’s death in a terrorist bombing seven years earlier, ten-year-old Jamie is far more interested in his cat, Roger, his birthday Spider-Man T-shirt, and keeping his new Muslim friend, Sunya, a secret from his father.” – WAFMS. A British novel recommended for competent readers 10 to 14 years old.

The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”
– John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

First Salmon

Salonen, Roxane Beauclair. First Salmon. Honesdale, Pa.: Boyds Mills Press, 2005.

“During the ceremony of First Salmon, an event celebrated by the Northwest Pacific tribes to honor and welcome back the salmon each year, Charlie remembers his beloved uncle and starts the process of accepting his death.” – FVRL. A picture book recommended for readers 8 to 12 years old. 

This Side of Salvation

Smith-Ready, Jeff. This Side of Salvation. New York: Simon Pulse, 2014.

“After his older brother is killed, David turns to anger and his parents to religion, but just as David’s life is beginning to make sense again his parents press him and his sister to join them in cutting worldly ties to prepare for the Rush, when the faithful will be whisked off to heaven.” – FVRL. This 368-page novel is highly recommended for competent readers 13-years-old and up. [Cults; Faith; Families; Grief; Pennsylvania; Schools]

Small Acts

Whelan, Gloria. Small Acts of Amazing Courage. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011.

“In 1919, independent-minded fifteen-year-old Rosalind lives in India with her English parents, and when they fear she has fallen in with some rebellious types who believe in Indian self-government, she is sent “home” to London, where she has never been before and where her older brother died, to stay with her two aunts.” – FVRL. Highly recommended for avid readers 12-years-old and up. [Aunts; Historical fiction; India; London (England)]

Blindfaith

Wittinger, Ellen. Blindfaith. New York: Simon Pulse, 2007, c2006.

“While coping with her grandmother’s sudden death and her mother’s resulting depression and fascination with a spiritualist church, whose ministers claim to communicate with the dead, fifteen-year-old Liz finds herself falling for a new neighbor whose mother is dying of cancer.” – WAFMS. [Depression (Psychology); Family life; Massachusetts; Religion; Spiritualists]

Behind You

Woodson, Jacqueline. Behind You. New York: Puffin Books, 2010, c2004.

“After fifteen-year-old Jeremiah is mistakenly shot by police, the people who love him struggle to cope with their loss as they recall his life and death, unaware that ‘Miah is watching over them.” – FVRL. Highly recommended for readers 12-years-old and up. [African Americans; New York]

In the Ojibway Teaching, there are 7 ways of dealing with grief:

crying

dancing

praying

singing

sweating

talking

yelling

How many have you observed in novels?

How many have you experienced in real life?

Learn more: Ross, Rupert. Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths. Toronto: Penguin, 2014, p. 244.

Click HERE  and HERE for more stories of grief.

“And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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