Literature Resources
NALAG invites members to provide reviews and links to literature resources they have found helpful.
Send your review to Contact NALAG – Please add an attachment as necessary.

Skylight Shop
Saying Goodbye to Grandpa – a book by Frances Rabone (2011)
Back cover description
When Ben hears that his Grandpa has died of a heart attack he is shocked and sad.  He wishes he could have the chance to say goodbye.  However one last encounter allows him to deal with this in an unexpected and empowering way.  Saying Goodbye to Grandpa is helpful for grieving children aged 4-8 years when someone they love has died.

Frances Rabone, has worked for more than 15 years as a grief counsellor.  Saying Goodbye to Grandpa is inspired by her professional and personal experience of death, dying and bereavement.

This book is available for purchase from the author:
Frances Rabone
54 Aurora Terrace
Email [email protected]

Price $16 retail, $10 wholesale

Goodbye: for times of sadness and loss
– a book by Melanie G Mason
While working on this book, author – Melanie Mason was aware of the grief that accompanies not only bereavement but that associated with the loss of health, home, job, relationship and identity.  Goodbye is a collection of photographic images, accompanied by the author’s favourite song lyrics, poetry and prose and is intended to “offer comfort and insight during times of sadness and loss”.

Source: Press release, courtesy of the author, August 2012

See a review of this book and purchasing info
Grief Work for Teens – a resource book
Grief resource book for those working with teens.

Grief Work For Teens – Healing From Loss (Reproducible interactive and educational handouts) by Ester R.A. Leutenberg & Fran Zamore, MSW, ACSW Illustrated by Amy L Brodsky LISW (May 2008) “GriefWork for Teens is for facilitators helping grieving teens heal from their losses. The authors refer to the psychological process of coping with a significant loss as grief work. The range of behaviours, emotions and attitudes is huge. Throughout the book they use the terms normalise and New Normal to convey that everyone’s grief has a unique expression and is that particular person’s ‘normal.’”

Source: The Brainary Educational Resources, Vic, Australia
Resilience:  Why things bounce back.
Kathryn Ryan talked to the author of a new book exploring the nature of resilience. The recently published book –
Resilience:  Why things bounce back, by Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy (Free Press, July 2012) investigates factors contributing to the capacity for communities and individuals to recover and rebound following catastrophic and adverse events.  While Kirkus Reviews suggest the content provides “A broad-sweep overview of a complex subject” a number of editorial reviews praise the book for identifying resilience as a key concept and mapping the territory relevant to its enhancement

To access Kathryn Ryan’s radio interview with author Andrew Zolli visit:
Type ‘Andrew Zolli’ into the search bar.
BEYOND WORDS – grieving when your child has died
By Andrew Thompson (Starship Hospital and Auckland University) and Tricia Irving Hendry (Skylight)

This handbook, published in New Zealand, is relevant to bereaved parents around the world. The book brings together the best mix of understanding, insight and support information possible with the comments insights, stories and letters of many bereaved parents. These are combined with warm colours and fantastic photography. The book offers honesty and frankness – which so many bereaved parents say they want – while also offering encouragement, comfort, grief management ideas, support options and hope. Supporting bereaved parents well is also one way of supporting other children or teens they may have, because they will be hurting and grieving too.
Schools, Communities and Social Inclusion
Dorothy Bottrell and Susan Goodwin

Working with Families
Strengths-based Approaches by Jackie Sanders & Robyn Munford

Book Review – The Sky Dreamer by Anne Morgan
Illustrated by Celine Eimann
This delightful story tells of  a young boy, Liam whose sister Cassie has died. He watches the winter clouds, hoping his siter is out there somewhere. The night before Liam’s birthday, Cassie appears siling in a ship, the Sky Dreamer. Anchoring the ship in the ghost gum tree in their garden, she calls to Liam to come aboard and together they sail through the night. Liam has to steer the ship through rough and stormy conditions, passing planets and stars and black holes and despite calling to his sister to help, she can only sit sewing his birthday present. He has to learn how to navigate the storm clouds, bringing them safely home. As they return, he wants to sail with her forever but Cassie urges him  to leave with his present. Liam  awakes to find  himself enfolded with a special cloak made for him by his sister.
This sensitively told story with beautiful illustrations is gently reflective with a touching underlying message  for a child experiencing grief of a sibling.  Recommended.
Published by IP Kidz 2011  For purchase [email protected]
Anne Morgan’s website :
Reviewed by Carrie Dean

Read review  on our blog SING NO SAD SONGS by Sandra Arnold. A memoir discussing Dying and Bereavement Sing No Sad Songs, by Sandra Arnold, published by Canterbury University Press, June 2011, RRP NZ$35, Paperback, 256pp.  ISBN 978-1-927145-06-7.
For further information please contact:
Maria De Cort
Canterbury University Press
[email protected]

My Brother’s Shadows: a journey of faith in the midst of tragedy
by Hayley Reynolds, 2011
In “My Brother’s Shadows” Hayley recounts the emotional journey she took with her family as her younger brother Wayne fought cancer, only to pass away 18 months later. The story is told from her perspective as a sibling and with respect to her Christian faith. In the book she openly shares many of her diary entries, prayers, and questions of faith as the family desperately prayed for a miracle of healing; and concludes with chapters on grief, suffering, faith and healing, and heaven. This book is aimed towards young people who have experienced loss and grief, but should also help anyone struggling with what life has thrown at them.

Books can be purchased from The Wayne Reynolds Trust Website

“Diary of a Bereaved Mother”
A journal of a young mother who struggled while waiting for her baby’s death, her bereavement and her survival.
By Ann Chin
Genre: Self help/non fiction/ infant death/bereavement
Foreword: Robyn and Jonathan Dove, pastor of Mt Albert Baptist Church.
This book is available at the Women’s Bookshop, University Bookstore, Church of Christ Bookshop and Wheelers’ Books.
It is listed on the database Nielsen BookData Online.
I have posted the beginning chapters in my book blog:

The Children’s Bookshop Shop 26 Kilbirnie Plaza Wellington
A Range of Books that explain Death and Grief to Children available in store now.
Check their website  or

New Book explores the emotional journey of infertility and baby loss
Baby Gone compiled by Jenny Douche’ of Wellington is a book of true New Zealand stories.
Jenny was inspired to create this book after having a stillborn baby boy at 30 weeks gestation. Baby Gone has been created to give solace and many readers will be able to relate to the stories. It will help them feel less alone and to see that their grief is valid and their emotional turmoil is normal. Baby Gone will also help educate others, resulting in the provision of a more compassionte level of care. To enable this Catherine de Groot, co-founder of Trilogy, has kindly donated over 1,100 copies of the book to 18 organisations including Plunket, NZ colleges of Midwives and General Practitioners, NZ associations of Funeral Directors and Counsellors, Womens Refuge and SANDS and the Neonatal Trust.
Book Trade distribution is through Random House Baby Gone can be also purchased on line at
Contact information:
Jenny Douche’
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 04 479 7599

What Happens Next? A handbook for those caring for a young person with a mental illness. Cost $14.00

Death Without Warning Information and Support after an unexpected death. Cost $9.00

Email: [email protected]

Motherless Daughters – the legacy of loss
by Hope Edelman, Delta, 1995 Australia
Edelman shares her own painful story and the stories of many other women who, as children or adults, lost their mothers. She explains the experience of grief and adjustment. She considers the secondary effects that can occur: the girl-child filling the lost mother’s role at home for father and younger siblings. An adult text.

How it Feels When a Parent Dies
by Jill Krementz, Alfred A. Knopf, 1993. USA
This has been written for older children and teens. 18 young people from age 7 – 17, speak openly of their experiences and feelings. As they speak we see them in photos with their surviving parent and with other family members, in the midst of their everyday lives.


Passing On
by Mike Dumbleton and Terry Denton, Red Fox, 2002 – Australia
This is a colourful children’s picture book, full of nature and sea images most New Zealand children would identify with. A grandmother and her young grandchild treasure the time they have together. The wonderful hours spent gardening, fishing and paddling in the sea will always be remembered. An uplifting story about a relationship that never dies. A great focus on the gift of memories and the ability to keep a relationship bond, even after death. (4-8)

Old Pig
by Margaret Wild, Dial Books for Young Readers 1996 Australia
Old Pig and Granddaughter share everything, including the chores, until the day when Old Pig says “I have a lot to do. I must be prepared.” Granddaughter knows that her loved Old Pig will soon be gone- but her love and memories will still be there. This tender, beautifully illustrated picture book story is about love and loss. It will comfort children dealing with death for the first time. In a few short pages, shows that death can be a celebration of life and that person’s contributions to it. (4-8)

Grandma’s Bill
by Waddell & Johnson, Orchard Books 1991 UK
Young Bill and his grandma engage in comfortable conversation as they look through her photographs, tracing the family from the time Grandfather Bill was a baby to the present. The sepia-tone snapshots regularly evolve into full-color spreads, giving a sense of immediacy to the past. A cozy and nostalgic tribute to the power of family ties. (4-8)


The Kite and Caitlin
by Roger McGough, Red Fox 1996 UK
In this children’s picture book Caitlin loves her kite. She is very ill and she doesn’t get better. One evening she and her kite soar together through the skylight, over lakes and mountains, until they reach a place that’s free of pain and suffering, a place she calls her new home. (4-9)

On the Wings of a Butterfly – a story about life and death
by Marilyn Maple, Parenting Press, 1992 USA
This picture book is a gentle and affirming story about Lisa, a young child with cancer. Trying to make sense of her life and death, Lisa befriends Sonya, a caterpillar preparing to change into a butterfly. A story that provides opportunities to talk about the nature of life and death. (6 – 12)

A Birthday present for Daniel – a child’s story of loss
by Juliet Rothman, Prometheus Books, 1996. USA
A little girl’s brother has died. She tried to understand her feelings and those of her family. Then she finds a way to celebrate her brother Daniel’s birthday, even though he’s died. (4-8)


Losing a Parent to Death in the Early Years: Guidelines for the Treatment of Traumatic Bereavement in Infancy and Early Childhood
by Lieberman, Compton, Van Horn & Ippen
This book tackles bereavement in early life – a topic often glossed over by many who write or speak about childhood grief. The writers provide honest, empathetic and effective suggestions for supporting infants and under 5s after a bereavement. Scholarly and research based, this book makes a very important contribution in the bereavement field.

What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?
DVD by Trevor Romain.
Based on Romain’s popular book of the same name, this DVD is For children and family dealing with death. It uses gentle humour, lively graphics and a compassionate storyline to give helpful advice to kids around managing grief. 80 minutes running time, including special features.

You Are Not Alone: Teens Talk About Life After The Loss Of A Parent
by Lynne Hughes
Hughes is the founder of Comfort Zone Camp for grieving kids. She asserts that teens sharing experiences about losing a parent begins the healing process. The author’s story, of losing both of her parents by the age of 12 and living with an unloving stepmother, launches off the book and then 14 following chapters tackle the grief process of grieving and dealing with life without a parent. Lots of teen quotes are used interspersed throughout the book, giving insight into a variety of ways young people have dealt with loss. There are good suggestions of how to find support and help form adults. A helpful book – from the USA.

Life after Baby Loss – a guide to pregnancy and infant loss and subsequent pregnancy in New Zealand
By Nicola Miller- Clendon
An essential resource for those who have experienced the loss of a baby. It includes extensive contacts in NZ, as well as many suggestions and empathetic support. It provides the certain promise also that there will be life after baby loss.

The Art Of Healing Childhood Grief: A School-based Expressive Arts Program Promoting Social And Emotional Literacy
by Anne Black and Penelope Simpsom
For those working alongside hurting, grieving children in any context, this large handbook offers a comprehensive and creative reference guide and has been written by two very experienced educators. (USA) It is a treasury of different kinds of creative approaches that are designed to help open up the hearts and minds of grieving children so they can feel and express their thoughts and feelings – and start to heal.

Healing The Bereaved Child
by Alan Wolfelt
This comprehensive guide is written by widely respected grief specialist, Alan Wolfelt (USA), who is known for his practical and down to earth understanding of grief in our live. It is designed to assist those helping grieving children and offers a holistic view of grief as a normal, natural process. It explores the ways in which bereaved children can not only heal but also grow through their grief, and provides the six needs of mourning and counselling fundamentals and techniques for caregivers. Also included are explorations of how a grieving child thinks, feels, and mourns; what makes each child’s grief unique; and ideas to help grieving adolescents.

Books for teens, and for those wanting to support them

The Journey Through – youth handbook for facing tough times of change, loss and grief skylight 2003
Written for NZ young people, this youth friendly book tackles issues teens face around change, loss and grief with honesty and frankness.  It helps readers understand, process and manage their grief experience as positively as possible – whatever the cause of the loss and grief has been. It also features many stories and quotes from young people themselves. Designed colourfully, it’s able to be snacked on and gone back to again and again. This book is excellent for young people, parents and anyone experiencing grief or working with adolescents.

The Grief book – strategies for young people
Elizabeth Vercoe with Kerry Abramowski, Black dog Books, 2004
The author offers a bag of strategies for dealing with grief. From simple things to recognising that you are grieving, to more momentous things like attending a funeral, the book is full of practical, honest suggestions for moving through grief.  It is aimed specifically at young people, but will speak to those of any age experiencing any kind of grief – adjusting to illness, coping with the death of a loved one, dealing with a divorce, the list is endless. The text is accessible and realistic, coming from people who know about grief: Vercoe is a survivor of Hodgkin’s Disease and Abramowski has worked with young cancer patients. This experience generates an understanding and gentle tone.

A Grip on Grief
Elsa McInnes, Castle Publishing, 2001
12 true life stories of NZ and Australian teens who’ve had various experiences of loss and grief. Written for young people, and from a christian perspective, this book features honesty, helpful information and reassurance. Lots of great quotes and a useful resource list also.

Working with Challenging Youth – lessons learned along the way
Brent Richardson, Taylor and Francis, 2001
“Challenging Youth” have lives featuring traumatic change, loss and grief of the most demanding kind. How can we reach them to support them? Written for professionals or volunteer youth workers, this book stresses the importance of self-awareness, genuineness, and empathy in effectively supporting challenging youth. It is a practical, reader-friendly guide through the pitfalls and problems that arise when working with challenging populations. Building on a solid theoretical base, the book identifies specific considerations and strategies for counsellors and youth workers. The author identifies six principles of effective youth counsellors and frames each chapter around a specific principle. In addition, it offers 47 lessons for working with at-risk youth and uses vignettes and studies to illustrate the principles under discussion.

More Than Just the Blues – understanding serious teenage problems
Dr Joseph Rey, Simon and Shuster. Australia, 1991.
In this highly valued book, Dr Rey (Australian Adolescent Mental Health Specialist) describes many of the issues that can cause change and loss and grief in young people’s lives, including depression and mood issues, eating disorders, fears, personality challenges, disruptive behaviours, suicidal behaviours and school problems. He outlines approaches to support teens through these and writes for parents who are worrying what to do next – or who can’t understand what’s going on for their teen.

The Struggle to Be Strong – true stories by teens about overcoming tough times
Edited by Desetta and Wolin. Youth Communication and Project Resilience, 2001, Free Spirit.
Each chapter of this book is written by a teen who has struggled with the very real problems teens face, including pressure to use drugs, racial prejudice and sexual (including homosexual) feelings. The editors have allowed the grittiness of adolescent life to come through. This book provides effective models teen readers can apply in dealing with their own lives, and assist adults in better understanding youth issues and effective interventions

Longing for Daddy – healing from the pain of an absent or emotionally distant father
Monique Robinson, Waterbrook, 2004
This book is written from a specifically Christian perspective. Robinson, whose father saw her once as a newborn and then never returned, writes about the pain and loss of growing up fatherless. She tells her female readers that whether they never had a father or had a horrible one, they can recover from the trauma by understanding and accepting the perfect, protective love of God. She describes the pain of a father’s physical absence–reflecting her own experience- and broadens the book’s appeal to include those women whose fathers were emotionally absent through overwork or non-communication. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection.

by Sue Wood and Peter Fox, with Karen McMillan. Published by Calico Publishing Ltd.
Dying – A New Zealand Guide For The Journey is an effective New Zealand adaption of a book originally written by the authors for South African readers. “This book is about the realities of the terminal phase of illness”, states its preface, and it aims to guide and support anyone who is dying with practical information for their difficult journey. Topics include what may be expected in the last stage of life, things others have found helpful or important to do, ways to manage practicalities and to respond positively, and ideas for meeting the arising physical, emotional and spiritual needs. This information has been drawn from the authors’ many years as counsellors working in the palliative field, and includes suggestions for family, friends and professionals as they also journey alongside the person who is terminally ill.
While Dying – a New Zealand Guide for the Journey tackles a sensitive subject, it is very readable. It has been written in a very clear, direct style with respect, compassion and understanding. All sections are clearly marked and boxed extra information, quotations and references throughout add interest. It will work well as a ‘snackable’ handbook people can dip into as they wish. In adapting the book Karen McMillan, a writer and a volunteer at North Shore Hospice, has also included an excellent range of current New Zealand contact details for relevant support and information agencies.

Skylight is delighted to point people towards this new book. It makes a significant contribution to New Zealanders facing death and dying, and to those caring for them. It respects and affirms their dignity, comfort and need for honest and practical information. It is available from bookshops or can be ordered directly from Calico Publishing Ltd, P O Box 29 039, Greenwoods Corner, Auckland 1023. Ph: 09 624 5674; Fax: 09 624 5672; Email: [email protected]

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Reviewed by Tricia Irving – 2015
[email protected]