Below are a selection of books on bereavement recommended by RainbowsGB.

We will add further recommendations over time and would be delighted to review any books you may like to recommend for inclusion, please contact our National Director (South) Eleanor Clarke at eleanor.clarke67@gmail.com.

If you would like to purchase any of the books previewed below then just enter the Title in your preferred “Search Engine” for buying options.

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The Land of Neverendings

By Kate Saunders

When Emily’s sister Holly dies, she is surprised to find that she misses her toy bear, Bluey, almost as much as Holly. Bluey was Holly’s constant companion, and Emily used to make up stories about him and his escapades in the magical (and very silly) world of Smockeroon to entertain her. And the only person who seems to understand Emily’s grief is Ruth, her kindly next-door neighbour.

But then very strange things start to happen. Emily dreams of talking toys visiting her bedroom, telling her that they have come from Smockeroon, and have a message for her from Bluey. A terrible black toad, who stinks of sadness, begins to stalk Ruth’s house. And when a parade of penguins wearing plastic moustaches marches through their kitchen – well, Emily has to begin to wonder whether this is all a dream after all. But why are the toys here, and what could Bluey possibly be trying to tell her?

This stunning novel will tickle your funny bones as much as it pulls on your heartstrings and is a true classic in the making.

Recommended reading age : 9 to 12 yrs

Publisher : faber.co.uk

Kate Saunders is an English author, actress and journalist. She has worked for newspapers and magazines in the UK, including The Sunday Times, Sunday Express, Daily Telegraph, She and Cosmopolitan and has written multiple books for children and adults

‘When I was writing The Land of Neverendings, I could see how tough it was for a child to experience bereavement when there is almost no way to talk about death in this society where we all pretend it doesn’t exist. Accessing books that help to normalise bereavement and loss and offering programmes of peer-to-peer support is something I am delighted to support’. 

Kate Saunders

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Why Do Things Die

By Katie Daynes

Illustrator Christine Pym

A beautiful and gentle look at the circle of life, using Christine Pym’s gorgeous animals characters to explore the emotions and facts around death, with questions such as Is it ok to talk about dying? What happens when someone dies? Can I shout and cry and hide away? and how can I stop feeling sad?

Publisher : Usborne

Recommended reading age : Primary (Reception Year 1 and Year 2)

Katie Daynes

My brother Jo died in a car crash when he was 18. I can vividly remember the moment 16-year-old me received the news – and the days, nights, weeks and months of heartache that followed. Poetry and novels helped. Knowing I wasn’t alone in my grief helped. Treasuring Jo’s memory helped. Over 25 years later, when I was given the chance to write a children’s book about coping with death, I grasped it with both hands.

I wanted to use simple honesty and tender examples to create a useful tool for both children and adults. Working closely with the wonderful illustrator, Christine Pym, we created a cast of characters who could put a voice to all those questions that explode in your head when someone dies. We also had the experienced child psychologist Dr. Sasha Lillie Lyons on hand for advice, guidance and extra words of wisdom.

Katie Daynes

“I’m really pleased that RainbowsGB have chosen to feature our book on their website. I hope it can support the hugely important work they do, helping children to make it through the hardest times in their young lives.”

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          The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates

By Jenny Pearson

Rob Biddulph (Illustrator) 

Freddie Yate’s journey is packed with outrageous escapades that somehow ring true. He’s a very endearing character and the bond between him and his friends is touching and believable. It’s a well-written story that pulls no punches.

Publisher : Usborne

Recommended reading age : 9 to 12 Years

Jenny Pearson :

I wrote The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates following the death of my step-father and the discussions that followed with my children – his grandchildren. Death is something that we don’t always like to talk about, but as teachers, supporting children who are going through a bereavement is something that most of us will experience. And we have a responsibility to do that to the best of our ability. Through reading and sharing stories we are able to open up discussions with our classes which help build empathy and understanding

Jenny Pearson:

I am honoured that Freddie Yates is featured on the Rainbows Bereavement Support group website and I hope that the message I tried to convey ,that even though someone is no longer with us, we can still love them, might help. “

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The Shark Caller

  By Zillah Bethell

Dive beneath the waves with this spell-binding adventure of friendship, forgiveness and bravery, set on the shores of Papua New Guinea, perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell and Eva Ibbotson.

“I want to be able to call the sharks. Teach me the magic and show me the ways.”

Blue Wing is desperate to become a shark caller, but instead she must befriend infuriating newcomer Maple, who arrives unexpectedly on Blue Wing’s island.

At first, the girls are too angry to share their secrets and become friends. But when the tide breathes the promise of treasure, they must journey together to the bottom of the ocean to brave the deadliest shark of them all…

Publisher : Usborne

Recommended reading age : 9 yrs +

Zillah Bethell

Rainbows does the most crucial work, and I’m truly honoured that The Shark Caller can be a part of that.”

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Storm in a Jar

By Samuel Langley-Swain

Illustrated by Katie Cottle

Arlo visited Nana every Sunday. She would always have new sweets waiting for him inside a special jar. When Arlo finds out Nana has passed away, he keeps the jar with him to feel safe and closer to his Nana. As his sadness turns to anger, a storm builds inside the jar, until Arlo has enough and smashes it open! After the storm washes him out to sea, Arlo spots Nana sailing off into the
moonlight. He knows she will be happy and safe, wherever she is headed.  This book is  a vital resource to families who are trying to navigate the emotional aftermath of any kind of loss. It shows us that all types of feelings are real and valid.

Recommended reading age : 3 to 7 Years

Publisher: Childrens Books | Owlet Press

Samuel Langley-Swain

I wrote The ‘Storm in a Jar’ to initially explore the build-up of anger, experienced through the eyes of a child. It came from a fantastic metaphor my adopted son used to describe his own built-up anger. After my great grandmother passed away, I decided to integrate grief into the story and used imagery from a nightmare that my friend’s child had about black jellyfish, and a dream I had about my great-grandmother sailing off into the moon, to thread the story together. She lived to 102 so it was a great point of reflection for me, being able to focus more on my son’s grief, losing his first family member. I wrote the book with an hour of her passing and unlike other books which create a metaphor for death, this book focusses on the emotional journey that follows.

Samuel :

I am so pleased to have Storm in a Jar on the Rainbows Bereavement Support Group reading list as it will offer a vital resource to families who are trying to navigate the emotional aftermath of loss. It shows us that all types of feelings are real and valid.

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