Hill, Frances. The Bug Cemetery (New York: Holt, 2002). Kids find a dead ladybug and conduct a mock funeral, then another and another for all the dead bugs in the neighborhood. All is fun and games until Billy's cat is hit by a car, and sadness becomes real. Not unlike Margaret Wise Brown's classic The Dead Bird, but the twist makes it even more powerful. Ages 4-8.
Brown, Laurie Krasny, and Marc Brown. When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death (New York: Little, Brown Young Readers, 1998). "No one can really understand death, but to children, the passing away of a loved one can be especially perplexing and troublesome." Chapters include "What Does Alive
Mean?" "Why Does Someone Die?" "What Does Dead Mean?" "Saying Goodbye," "Keeping Customs," "What Comes After Death?" and "Ways to Remember Someone". "My family thinks Mom's soul is with God," says one character, "but I'm not sure." What better recommendation for freethinking families than that single sentence. Ages 4-8.
Buscaglia, Leo. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: 20th Anniversary Edition (Thoro-fare, NJ: Slack, 2002). One of the great beloved classics, Freddie follows a single leaf through spring and summer and into fall. As he watches other leaves fall, he realizes and eventually comes to terms with the fact that the same will happen to him. Ages 6-12.
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