Books for Help and Healing

by Sharon Ely Pearson

Many churches have libraries. And probably many of them simply collect dust and serve as depositories for those cleaning out their office library or discarded titles that are taking up room at home. Shelves of old bibles, random “spiritual titles,” self-help books, and books by authors such as Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, and Jan Karon. Are such books helpful to your congregants?

As educators, pastors, and parents struggle to help children (youth and adults, too) we again seek books for children to help open up conversation on tragic events. What if your church offered a lending library to families with books that could help? 

Perhaps you don’t have the funds to start such a collection. What if donations were made in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving for a teacher, birth or anniversary? Here are some titles to get you started:

For children

  • Bahr, Mary. If Nathan Were Here (ages 5 and up) 0802851878
  • Buscaglia, Leo. The Fall of Freddy the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages  (ages 4 and up) 978-0943432892
  • Clifton, Lucille. Everett Anderson’s Goodbye (ages 5 and up) 978-0805008005
  • dePaola, Tomie. Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs (ages 4 and up) 978-0698118362
  • Gellman, Marc. And God Cried, Too: A Kid’s Book of Healing and Hope (ages 7 and up) 9780060098865
  • Gellman, Marc. Lost & Found: A Kids’ Book for Living through Loss (ages 8 and up) 9780688157524
  • Hanson, Warren. The Next Place (ages 5 and up) 978-0931674327
  • Holmes, Margaret M. A Terrible Things Happened: A Story for Children Who Have Witnessed Violence or Trauma (ages 4 and up) 978-1557987013
  • Karst, Patrice. The Invisible String (ages 3 and up) 978-0875167343
  • Liss-Levinson, Nechama. Remembering My Grandmother: A Kid’s Own Grief Workbook in the Christian Tradition (ages 7 and up) 978-1594732126
  • Liss-Levinson, Nechama. Remembering My Pet: A Kid’s Own Spiritual Remembering Workbook for When a Pet Dies (ages 8 and up) 978-1594732218
  • Lovall, Cynthia Miller. The Star: A Story to Help Young Children Understand Foster Care (ages 6 and up) 978-0967701004
  • Mellonie, Bryan. Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children (5 and up) 978-0553344028
  • Miles, Miska. Annie and the Old One (ages 3 and up) 978-0316571203
  • Mills, Joyce. C. Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying (ages 4 and up) 978-1591470724
  • Rogers, Fred. When a Pet Dies (ages 4 and up) 978-0698116665
  • Rylant, Cynthia, Cat Heaven (ages 4 and up) 978-0590100540
  • Rylant, Cynthia. Dog Heaven (ages 4 and up) 978-0590417013
  • Schwiebert, Pat and Chuck DeKlyen. Tear Soup (ages 8 and up) 978-0961519766
  • Sgouros, Charissa. A Pillow for My Mom (ages 5 and up) 978-0395822807
  • Traisman, Enid A. A Child Remembers: A memory book for bereaved children (ages 8-12) 978-1561230693
  • Viorst, Judith. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (ages 6 and up) 978-0689712036

For youth

  • Fitzgerald, Helen. The Grieving Teen: A Guide for Teenagers and Their Friends 0684868040
  • Gamber, Jenifer C. and Sharon Ely Pearson. Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People 978-0819227645
  • Goodman, Marilyn E. When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens About Grieving and Healing (ages 11 and up) 978-1575421704
  • Grollman, Earl A. Straight Talk about Death for Teenagers: Hope to Cope with Losing Someone You Love (ages 12 and up) 978-0807025017
  • Krementz, Jill. How it Feels When a Parent Dies 978-0394758541
  • Traisman, Enid Samuel. Fire in My Heart, Ice in My Veins: A Journal for Teenagers Experiencing a Loss 978-1561230563

For parents and caregivers           

  • Fitzgerald, Helen. The Grieving Child: A Parent’s Guide 978-0671767624
  • Stickney, Doris. Water Bugs and Fireflies: Explaining Death to Young Children 978-0829816242
  • The Dougy Center for Grieving Children. Helping Teens Cope with Death 978-1890534028

Do you have suggested titles to add to this list?

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