Grief Lending Library

An essential part of the Academy, the Kim Peterson Memorial Grief Lending Library houses an extensive collection of books and resources for all ages, available for check out.

Located at Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway (3601 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines), the library is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm.

Use the below categories to assist with your search.

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Anticipatory Grief
  • Children and Terminal Illness
  • Children's Books
  • Death of a Child
  • Death of a Partner
  • Death of a Pet
  • General Adult Grief
  • Helping Teens and Children
  • Professionals
  • Spanish Language
  • Sudden Death
  • Teen Books

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Title Author Description Category Topics Location
Supporting Children And Teens Through Grief And Loss: a guide for schools Center for Grieving Children, The (1999)

A reader friendly guide to helping children. Includes: supporting grieving children and teens, signs of grief in children and teens, what you can do, teachable moments, and taking care of yourself. Information that will help schools when a death in the classroom occurs.

  • School Resources
Surviving A Sibling: discovering life after loss Mastley, Scott (2001)

Includes personal experiences with sibling grief, survey results from bereaved parents and bereaved siblings, how to bridge the communication gap between parents and children, and dealing with unanswered questions.

  • Death of a Sibling
155.9 M
Talking About Death and Bereavement in School: how to help children age 4 to 11 to feel supported and understood Chadwick, Ann (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012)

This short, easy to read book offers simple but important advice and guidance for school teachers and staff on what to do when a child is grieving. It includes advice on explaining death to children, insights into how children may be feeling and how they may react, and ways in which they can be supported. The book also covers how bereavement can affect a child and how it can affect the whole school in the case of a death of a pupil or staff member.

  • School Resources
155.9 C
Talking About Divorce and Separation Grollman, Earl A. (Centering Corporation, 2005)

Explaining divorce and separation to children is difficult. This book gives helpful advice on how to talk about you and your spouse walking separate paths. Includes a storybook section for children and adults to read together. Following is a section for parents to use to open up communication between parent and child.

  • Divorce
306.89 G
Talking With Children About Loss: words, strategies, and wisdom to help children cope with death, divorce, and other difficult times Trozzi, Maria (Perigee, 1999)

Through stories and thoughtful analysis, Maria explains how to handle the difficult job of talking with children and adolescents about loss. Includes information about divorce, Death of a Pet, death of a family member, the disabling of a sibling and more.

  • All Losses
155.9 T
Taste Of Blackberries, A Smith, Doris Buchanan (Crowell, 1973)

Ages 8-12. A sensitive portrayal of a young boy’s attempt to understand and accept his best friend’s sudden death.

  • Death of a friend / Historical
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Tear Soup Schwiebert, Pat and Chuck DeKlyen (Grief Watch, 1999)

Tear Soup gives you a glimpse into Grandy’s life as she blends different ingredients into her own grief process. Her tear soup will help to bring her comfort and ultimately help to fill the void in her life that was created by her loss. Following Grandy’s story you will find ‘cooking tips’ to use in dealing with grief: if you are the cook; if your friend is the cook; if a child is the cook; if you are a male chef; if there are two of you cooking.

155.9 S
Teens, Loss, and Grief: The Ultimate teen guide Myers, Edward (Scarcrow press 2004)

A self-help guide for teenagers who are struggling with bereavement and the emotional difficulties it presents. This book provides an overview of grief as a painful but normal process, offering insights from bereavement experts as well as practical suggestions for coping with loss, including accounts from teens. This book closes a gap in the available literature on grief and bereavement that has tended to focus on adults and younger children. It provides a warm, accessible resource that will reassure teen readers about the normality of grief, encourages their understanding of what happens during the grief process, and provides an indispensable resource guide.

155.9 M
Tell Me, Papa: a family book for children's questions about death and funerals Johnson, Joy and Marv (Highly Specialized Promotions, 1978)

"Takes the great unknown of death and tells it as it is. Feelings hurt but feelings shared are feelings diminished."

  • Suicide
Tenth Good Thing about Barney, The Viorst, Judith (Athenmeum, 1984)

Ages 3-19. In an attempt to overcome his grief, a boy tries to think of the ten best things about his dead cat.

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Terrible Thing Happened, A Holmes, Margaret M.; afterward by Sasha J. Mudlaff (Magination Press, 2000)

Ages 4-7. For children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode. An afterward for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.

  • Witness Traumatic Event
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Thank You For Coming to Say Goodbye Roberts, Janice & Joy Johnson (Centering Corporation, 1994)

Children of all ages. Ways children can be told, introduced to funerals, say goodbye and express themselves. Stories of children and funerals are sprinkled throughout. Actual hands-on how-to's for orienting children to the funeral home and sections for parents, funeral directors, teachers and clergy.

The Great Big Sad Fox, Christina

It is a discipleship tool for parents and caregivers in helping children learn that people grieve in many different ways, how to talk about grief, ways to honor and remember a loved one, and how Jesus knows and understands their tears.

  • Religious
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The Invisible Leash Karst, Patrice

Here is the very best news ever. When our pets aren't with us anymore, and Invisible Leash connects our hearts to each other. FOREVER.

  • Pet Loss
j813.6 K
There Is A Rainbow Behind Every Dark Cloud Celestial Arts (Celestial Arts, 1978)

Eleven children share their experiences with terminal illness, especially the ways they helped each other cope with the prospects of their own death.

  • Terminally Ill Children / Historical
j155.9 C
There Was a Baby… Camerona, Laura (Words Worth Repeating, 2021)

This book was created about fetal loss to help families have conversations with their children.

  • Miscarriage
jF C
They said it Wouldn't Hurt (but it really did) and I'm Still Fighting Nelson, Abby (Abby Nelson, 2005)

This story is written in love to all who have faced a challenge in life. Perhaps you have been afraid, or have had a bad day at school. Maybe you have lost a best friend or a loved one. You may be sick or hurt. This is a story for anyone who has ever endured pain or gone through struggles. It is a story about overcoming obstacles of life, especially illness. It offers hope; just as author Abby has her whole life while battling congenital heart defects, asthma and pulmonary hypertension. Abby’s Make A Wish was to publish a book and this is the result of that wish.

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Thin Ice Buthman, David (Centering Corporation 1990)

How parents can survive when more than one child dies. The author speaks of his experiences of going back to work, marriage and Jessica, the surviving big sister who was at home.

  • Death of children
155.9 B
Thumpy's Story: a story of love and grief shared by Thumpy, the Bunny Dodge, Nancy C. (Prairie Lark Press, 1986)

"In a warm and sensitive way it (the book) will help children deal with the loss of a loved one."

Time for Everything, A: for kids who are missing someone they love Anderson, Lisa Beth (International Bible Society, 2004)

The words for this book were written long ago as a poem. The poem is now part of the Bible, called Ecclesiastes. It tells about the cycle of life. In the Bible, God says that he will change the pattern of good and bad that we see all around us. God can turn our sadness into dancing. He wants to give us a life that last forever, a life with him on a healed earth with no sickness, no crying and no death-ever!

  • Religious
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Timothy Duck Blackburn, Lynn Bennett (Centering Corporation, 1987)

Ages 4-9. Tender story of a duck (Timothy) who loves a boy. Timothy watches John get sick and die; learns about grief and goodbyes.

Turned Upside Down: A flip book - turning upside down right side up… by connecting with the other side Tache, Teana (New Leaf Distributing Company, 2013)

It has been written as a conversation between a child and their loved one, designed as a memory keepsake and amazingly illustrated to encourage light, love and forever memories. Turned Upside Down opens conversations with children and adults, allowing them to process, understand and embrace the loss of their very special someone. Share the gift of connecting with the other side. 

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Unspoken Grief: coping with childhood sibling loss Rosen, Helen (Lexington Books, 1986)

An overview of the basic issues; children's comprehension of death, the phenomenon of childhood bereavement, and parental loss.

  • Death of a Sibling
155.9 R
Waterbugs and Dragonflies: explaining death to young children Pilgrim Press Resource, A -2004

A tender tale of death and new life, this mini-book uses the symbol of one waterbug, climbing a stalk to turn into a dragonfly, never to return. Used in Sunday Schools. Christian perspective.

Waving Goodbye - An Activities Manuel The Dougy Center (1992, 2004)

Activities promote healing when they are offered freely and when the children and teens can choose their level of participation. Activities don't heal; they create an atmosphere of warmth, comfort and safety, which allows the child and teen to work through the healing process. The goal of these activities is to promote the sharing of feelings, to normalize the grief experience and to encourage peer support.

155.9 D
What About Me?: when brothers and sisters get sick Peterkin, Allan, M.D. (Magination Press, 1992)

Ages 4-8. This question lies at the heart of this poignant story, as a young girl attempts to cope with her brother's being ill. Deals with the many complicated feelings the well child experiences.

  • Ill Sibling
j618.92 P
What Can I Do? Lowry, Danielle (Magination Press, 2001)

Ages 8-12. A young girl tries everything she can think of to keep her parents from getting a divorce, but with the help of a school counselor she comes to realize that the divorce is not her fault.

  • Divorce
jF L
What Does Dead Mean: a book for young children to help explain death and dying Jay, Caroline and Jenni Thomas, OBE (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012)

Suitable for children aged 4+, this is an ideal book for parents and caregivers to read with their children, as well as teachers, therapists and counsellors working with young children. This book guides children gently through 17 of the 'big' questions they often ask about death and dying.

155.9 J
What does Grief Feel Like? Leigh, Korie

Shares the many ways people can grieve when a loved one dies and validates children's unique grief experiences.

jF L
What Does That Mean? Smith, Harold Ivan and Joy Johnson (Centering Corporation, 2006)

A dictionary of death, dying, and grieving terms for grieving children and those who love them. Gives parents suggestions on how to talk with children about death and dying.

What Happened to Daddy's Body? Barber, Elke and Alex Barber (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2020)

This picture book aims to help children aged 3+ to understand what happens to the body after someone has died.

jF B
What’s Heaven? Shriver, Maria (St. Martin’s Press, 1999)

Ages 5-9. The story of Kate, a little girl whose great-grandma has just died. She seeks answers, and her mother helps her learn about heaven.

  • After Life
jF S
When A Child You Love is Grieving Smith, Harold Ivan (Beacon Hill Press, 2004)

Widely recognized grief specialist, Harold Ivan Smith, gives practical steps you can take to ensure that a grieving child receives the necessary, healthy outlets needed during the loss of a loved one. If you are the parent, relative, or friend of a grieving child, you can learn to give that child the support he or she needs to survive.

  • After Life
248.8 S
When a Grandchild Dies: what to do, what to say, how to cope Galinsky, Nadine (Gal in The Sky Publishing Co., 1999)

A guide for newly bereaved grandparents working through their own grief while comforting their children. Includes stories and quotes from those who have experienced such a loss.

  • Death of a Grandchild
155.9 G
When Dinosaurs Die: a guide to understanding death Brown, Laurie Krasny and Marc Brown (Hachette Book Group, 1996, 2009)

Ages 5-8. Unlike many books on death for little ones, this one doesn't tell a story. Instead, it addresses children's fears and curiosity head-on, and in a largely secular fashion, by answering some very basic questions: "Why does someone die?" "What does dead mean?" "What comes after death?" Other questions deal with emotions, and there's a section about death customs.

155.9 B
When Grief Comes: finding strength for today and hope for tomorrow Neely, Kirk H. (Baker Books, 2007)

Neely offers personal stories and practical information to help the reader understand each stage and phase of grief. He also suggests symbols of hope to assure God’s care and concern along the way and includes a special section on the needs of grieving children. Neely always points the reader toward the ultimate hope for Christians-eternal life in heaven, including a joyful reunion with those who believe.

  • Religious
248.8 N
When I'm With Jesus Rae, Kimberly (Narrow Way Publishing, 2013)

Children wonder about Heaven, especially when someone they love goes there. They have questions they are often afraid to ask to grieving adults. This book is created to minister to young children and older children, with large text for young readers or as a read-to book, and smaller text for older readers. It helps children see a loved one's transition to Heaven as a joyful thing, and know they are still loved, even when that person is no longer near.

  • Religious
j236.24 R
When Mom Or Dad Dies: a book of comfort for kids Grippo, Daniel (Abbey Press, 2008)

Ages 4 and up. When Mom or Dad dies, children grieve deeply. But we can show our care and love for them by encouraging them to share their feelings of sorrow and loss. We can give them the time and space they need to adjust and listen to—if not answer—their questions. We can let them know that they can heal and live a happy, full life of faith, hope, and love—the kind of life their Mom or Dad want for them. We can listen to their hurt and respond in a loving and supportive way.

  • Death of a Parent
j155.9 G
When Mom's Cancer Doesn’t Go Away: Helping Children Cope with Loss and Beyond Makekau, Maryann (Little Pink Book, 2010)

Losing your mother to cancer is never easy, no matter what your age. But for a child, the loss is incomprehensible. The time together, special experiences, and memories are much too abbreviated. Perhaps the most difficult of all, is the loss of a mother's love. The Little Pink Book™ series explores cancer through the eyes of a child using whimsical stick characters and an unpretentious storyline. Death and loss are not easily talked about, yet they are events that all of us must eventually face.

  • Death of a Mother
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When Someone Dies: A Child-Caregiver Activity Book The National Alliance for Children's Grief

An activity book for a child and their caregiver to do together to help facilitate grieving a death together.

When Someone You Love Dies Coleman, William L. (Augsburg Fortress, 1994)

Writing for children ages 8-12 and their parents, Coleman discusses the fears and questions that young people have when someone they love dies.

j155.9 C
When Someone You Love Has Cancer: a guide to help kids cope Lewis, Alaric (Abby Press, 2005)

Ages 4-8. This book will help kids cope with the presence of cancer in their lives. May it guide them to a healthier understanding of how the disease affects their loved one, their family, and their world. May it offer-as much as is possible-a little healing in the midst of sickness.

  • Cancer
616.99 L
When You Wish Upon A Star Washington, Ned (Green Tiger Press, 1987)

Ages 5-9. A beautifully illustrated picture book to the words of the childhood song, “When You Wish Upon a Star”

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When Your Child Loses a Loved One Huntley, Theresa (Augsburg, 2001)

Death is hard enough for adults to accept. For children, the experience of loss can be overwhelming. In this concise, practical guide, grief counselor Huntley offers principles for helping children of all ages understand death, work through predictable "tasks of grieving," and take steps toward healing and acceptance.

155.9 H
Where Has Grandpa Gone?: helping children cope with grief and loss Kopp, Ruth (Zondervan Publishing House, 1983)

Covers a wide range of questions and concerns to help us guide children through trials and time of loss.

  • Death of a Grandparent
155.9 K
Where the Balloons Go Coleman, Paul (Centering Corporation, 1983)

Elementary age children. Corey and his grandmother love to watch balloons floating up to the sky, and when she dies, Corey thinks of a special way to say goodbye.

  • Death of a Grandparent
jF C
Where's Our Baby? Oldfield, Valerie (Xlibris LLC, 2014)

A story about a little boy trying to make sense surrounding the death of his baby sister. After no one tells him what happened, he must ask questions to the adults around him and find a way to interpret the things they do and say in order to find out the truth.

  • Death of a Baby Sibiling
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Who Lives Happily Ever After? Turnbull, Sharon (Centering Corporation, 1990, rev. ed., 1994)

The author explores the rage, injustice, secondary blame, the media and legal system. Fits all violent death.

  • Death of a Grandparent
Why Do I Feel So Sad? Lamber, Tracy

An Inclusive, age-appropriate, illustrated kid's book designed to help young children understand their own grief.

jF L
Why is Dad so Mad? Kastle, Seth (Tall Tale Press, 2015)

Is a story for children in military families whose parent battles with combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Why Is Dad So Mad? Is a narrative story told from a family’s point of view (mother and children) of a service member who struggles with PTSD and its symptoms. Many service members deal with anger, forgetfulness, sleepless nights, and nightmares.This book explains these and how they affect Dad. The moral of the story is that even though Dad gets angry and yells, he still loves his family more than anything.

  • Military / PTSD
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Winter Holding Spring Dragonwagon, Crescent (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1990)

Ages 7-10. In discussing her mother's death with her father, 11 year old Sarah comes to see that in endings there are new beginnings, that in winter there is promise of spring, and that everything comes full circle.

  • Death of a Mother
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You Don’t Have To Be Afraid: helping children cope with fear Blake, Chris (American Bible Society)

This book will help children see how much god loves them and how God works through people to provide comfort and hope. They are not alone in feeling afraid.

You Matter Robinson, Christian (Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing Division, 2020)

In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.

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