Featured Article: Dealing with Grief Through Books


While many of us associate the month of October with cooler days, longer nights, and Halloween, the month has some thought-provoking national days and weeks. October is Emotional Wellness Month, National Depression Education and Awareness Month, and includes Mental Illness Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day (October 10). With less sunny days in autumn, it is no surprise that we should be especially aware of our emotional well-being.

One way we as librarians can support a child’s emotional well-being is to build a library collection that explores the many difficult situations which children may find themselves, especially situations that evoke grief. Grief for a child may be loss of a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend or pet. Grief for a child could be disappointment, such as not making the team, not being included, or not making a good grade. In this issue of Read & Shine, we are providing a list of picture books dealing with grief, a middle grade book review about two girls dealing with their own personal sorrows, and a few quotes to show the power of words. Coping with grief is never easy. Many times, a grieving person does not want to talk about the grief, and when those times present themselves, it is vital that we show our support in another way. A book describing someone else dealing with grief may be the emotional support that a child needs.

“Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.”― Veronica Roth, Insurgent

“Someone leaves and their goneness is so big you keep tripping over it.” – Emily Horner, A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” ― E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

“There was just something about her dying that I had understood but not really understood, if you know what I mean. I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn’t really hit you, and then when it does, that’s when you feel like shit.” – Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

“Sometimes sad is very big. It’s everywhere. All over me… And there’s nothing I can do about it.”– Michael Rosen, Michael Rosen’s Sad Book

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