Books on Grieving and Response to Disaster

Books for children and adults about Grieving and Responding to Disaster from Daryl Mark, Children’s Librarian, and recommended by several librarians at the Cambridge (Mass.) Public Library.

Books for Adults

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief. Pauline Boss, 1999.
How to handle grief when the loss is unresolved such as a soldier missing in action, an Alzheimer’s patient.

Comfort: A Journey Through Grief. Ann Hood, 2008.
How the author was able to find comfort and hope after losing her daughter. 

The Gifts of Suffering: Finding Insight, Compassion, and Renewal. Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D., 1996.
How we can gain insight and renewal when we experience suffering.

Being With Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death. Joan Halifax, 2008
Buddhist teacher offers lessons learned from many years of caring for dying people.

On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler, 2005.
The author of On Death and Dying applies the five stages to grieving a loss.

Healing Grief: Reclaiming a Life After Any Loss. James Van Praagh, 2000.
Bringing hope and renewal to our lives after a loss.

For Adults Caring for Children

The Scared Child: Helping Kids Overcome Traumatic Events. Barbara Brooks, Ph.D. and Paula M Siegel, 1996.
Helping children deal with traumatic events including natural disasters, world events, as well as family problems.

Talking About Death: A Dialogue between Children and Adults. Earl A. Grollman, 1991.
A book for parents and children to read together.  An outstanding guide to talking about death. Includes a list of resources.

Talking with children about loss: words, strategies, and wisdom to help children cope with death, divorce, and other difficult times. Maria Trozzi with Kathy Massimini, 1999.
Helps adults understand children and teens’ experience of loss and gives age appropriate responses to questions about death and tragedy.


This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World. Selected by Naomi Shihab Nye, 1992.
Poems from sixty-eight countries which share the wide range of human emotions.

This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort. Selected by Georgia Heard.
This collection of poems was published in response to the events of 9/11.

For Young Children

Everett Anderson’s Goodbye. Lucille Clifton, 1983.
A young child’s experience of grieving the loss of his father.

Always and Forever. Alan Durant, 2004.
Animal friends share their sadness after their friend dies and then are comforted by their memories of him.

A Terrible Thing Happened: A story for children who have witnessed violence or trauma. Margaret Holmes, 2000.
A simply written story which shows the range of emotions the character feels after an unnamed traumatic event.

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book. Michael Rosen, 2008.
Honest descriptions of grieving written after the author’s son died. Powerful, simple text.

For Older Children

Selavi, That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope. Youme, 2005.
Story of homeless teens in Port-au-Prince who build, and then must re-build, a radio station.

For Teens

The Color of Absence: 12 Tales about loss and hope. Edited by James Howe, 2003.
Short stories by authors who write for teens.

Nonfiction for Children

Earthquakes. Seymour Simon, 2006.
Full of facts and well illustrated. This book gives information about earthquakes, earthquake preparedness and responding to an earthquake.