June 12, 2009

Don't fear death

Katherine Paterson's Bridge To Terabithiais a beautiful book, but a lot of parents don't want to buy it because of its sad subject matter. Ms. Paterson wrote it for her son, who lost his best friend. It was an attempt to make sense out of a seemingly senseless tragedy. The story was also made into a movie with Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb.

Thinking about death is unsettling, but avoiding the subject can add to a child's fear. To answer some of their questions, try I Found a Dead Bird: The Kids' Guide to the Cycle of Life & Death, by Jan Thornhill. It is an intelligent and sensitive guide to the cycle of life and death, filled with interesting facts and photographs. Sure to provoke late night discussions, the book will appeal to a child's natural curiosity, while its matter-of-fact tone succeeds in making death less frightening.

For a gentle book about grief, read Missing Mayby Cynthia Rylant.

An interesting book is Elsewhereby Gabrielle Zevin. It is about Liz, a deceased 15-year-old, who finds herself living in a place where everyone ages backwards.

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