Storytelling – starting difficult conversations with children

Talking to children about death is never easy. Using storybooks can be a good way to open these hard conversations and they can also give adults the language to make it easier. Reading stories over and over can really help children understand as they often need things to be repeated, again and again.

Here are some examples of how story books can be used to help children understand what happens when someone or something dies.

No Matter What

By Debi Gliori. Read by Emma Langford
A heartfelt story about the unconditional love each parent feels for their child

The Invisible String

By Patrice Karst. Read by Ita Hannon
When Liza and Jeremy run to their mother during a scary storm, she comforts them by telling them about the Invisible String, which connects people who love each other no matter where they are and means that they are never alone.

Noodle Loses Dad

By Sarah Corbett Lynch
This self-affirming book by 13 year old Limerick author Sarah Corbett Lynch explores themes of loss, bereavement, blended families and grief.

Sammy Found a Treasure

By Laura and Teresa Menendez
In this book, Sammy discovers that a person’s love does not disappear when they die, but stays imprinted in us forever.

The Boy and the Gorilla

By Jackie Azúa Kramer. Read by Tadhg
This profoundly moving tale about a grieving boy and an imaginary gorilla makes real the power of talking about loss.

The Memory Tree

By Britta Teckentrup. Read by Luca
A beautiful and heartfelt picture book to help children celebrate the memories left behind when a loved one dies.

When I’m Feeling Scared

By Trace Moroney. Read by Roisin Meaney
This book will help children better understand their feelings, and in doing so, develop confidence and self-esteem as they grow.