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Books for Adults

Good Grief: Healing Through the Shadow of Loss (Deborah Morris Coryell): 

This book is written by a grief educator. It links grieving and loving. This compassionate guide gives inspiring examples of how embracing our losses allow us to connect to other people. The premise is that we heal grief by learning how to continue to love in the face of loss.

Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew (Anita Diamant):

 This is a beautiful, informative book that explores why and how we say Kaddish. It is for those who are mourning as well as those who wish to comfort the mourners. It is a great resource for understanding Jewish mourning. 

The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion):

This is a beautifully written memoir by a wonderful writer who explores her response to the loss of her husband. It describes her experiences as she moves through the year following her husband's death and shares an intimate view of grieving from the inside out.

Ginsburg, Genevieve Davis. Widow to Widow: Thoughtful, Practical Ideas for Rebuilding Your Life, Da Capo: Aug. 16, 2004. 

As the title suggests, this is a book written for women who have lost their husband. The author approaches widowhood as another cycle in life. It explores the wide range of issues that are experience, both large and small, when a husband dies.

Grollman, Rabbi Earl A. Living with Loss, Healing with Hope: A Jewish Perspective. Beacon, Dec. 1 2015.

This is a very compassionate book that is filled with words of consolation. It focuses on grief, mourning, healing and recovery, building a new life, and includes a ritual guide for the bereaved.  Most of the book is written in a poetic way and weaves in quotations from sacred texts and Jewish writers.

Grollman, Rabbi Earl A. Living When a Loved One Has Died. Beacon, Aug. 1, 1987.

This is a lovely book that focuses on the feelings of the person who has sustained a loss.  It is about grieving as a natural, universal phenomena. The book provides comfort which can assist people in healing in their own personal way.

Hickman, Martha Whitmore. Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief. HarperCollins, Dec. 1, 1994.

This book provides daily meditations for working through grief. Each day of the year contains suggestions for something to do that day.

Holland, Debra. The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, DK, Nov. 1, 2011.

This is a guide to coping with loss and finding hope in the future. It provides simple survival strategies for survivors. It also has several chapters on life's losses other than death.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth and Kessler, David. Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life and Living. Scribner, Aug. 12, 2014.

This is a book with a spiritual message about what the dying can teach us about life. This is a book with many case histories and personal experiences the authors share that focus on death and how precious life is.

Kushner, Harold S. When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Knopf, Aug. 24, 2004.

This is a classic book that was written by Rabbi Kushner after his young son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease. It is his exploration and understanding of why things happen and how God fits into the equation.

Myers, Edward. When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults. Penguin, March 28, 1997.

This is a sensitive guide with practical advice on coping with the death of a parent. It discusses family and personal changes that arise from experiencing this loss. It also has individual chapters on losing a parent suddenly or through a chronic slow decline.

Olitzky, Rabbi Kerry. Grief in Our Seasons:  A Mourner's Kaddish Companion. Turner, April 1, 1998.

This book was written with the intent of being a companion of comfort for the person saying Kaddish. It reflects the Jewish tradition of studying sacred texts while mourning. It is divided into eleven major sections that reflect aspects of mourning and provides readings from sacred Jewish texts that provide comfort and inspiration.

Rando, Therese.  How to Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies. Random House, July 28, 1991.

This is a guide to mourning: to understanding grief, taking care of yourself, accepting the help of others, resolving unfinished business and talking to children about death. It encourages people to learn to grieve in their own ways.

Redfern, Suzanne and Gilbert, Susan. The Grieving Garden: Living with the Death of a Child. Hampton Roads, April 4, 2008.

This is a book in which 22 parents share their perspective on the issues and pertinent questions that come into the lives of parents who have lost a child. This is a book that provides the company of others who have grieved the loss of a child.

Sanders, Catherine M. How to Survive the Loss of a Child: Filling the Emptiness and Rebuilding Your Life. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale, March 28, 1998.

This is a book written by a psychologist who herself has lost a child.  It provides information about the grief process to the bereaved parent as well for family members, friends and caregivers on how to relate to a person who has just lost a child.

Schaefer, Gerald and Bekkers, Tom. The Widower's Toolbox: Repairing Your Life After Losing Your Spouse. New Horizon, Aug. 9, 2011.

This book is a description of the first author's personal experiences in recovering from the death of his wife. It is written in conjunction with a psychotherapist. The authors have the perspective that men and women tend to mourn the loss of a spouse in different ways. 

Schiff, Harriet Sarnoff. The Bereaved Parent. Penguin, Nov. 28, 1978.

This is a classic book for parents whose child has died-and for all who want to help them. The author is also a parent who has lost a child and understands the complex ramification of the tragedy-how it affects parenting other children, the marriage and all the intense emotions that come with such a horrible loss.

Wray, T. J. Surviving the death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale, May 27, 2003.

There is surprising little written on the death of a sibling. Somehow people don't fully acknowledge how difficult it can be to lose a brother or sister. This book looks at the feeling states of grief as they apply to siblings.

Books for Children

Abraham, Michelle Shapiro. Where Is Grandpa Dennis? URJ, Jan. 1, 2009. Ages 4-8.

This book is about a young girl learning about her Grandpa Dennis, the man for whom she was named but never knew. Mother and daughter share about Grandpa who died when mom was in high school.  When Devorah asks, "Where is Grandpa Dennis?", mother explains the many ways her father continues to be present in her life.  Mom says, "Different people believe different things.  I think that a person's soul lives on after they die."  Beautiful illustrations accompany this tender story.

Ferber, Brenda A.  Julia's Kitchen. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, March 21, 2006. Ages 9-12.

Eleven year old Cara is sleeping over at a friend's house the night her mother and sister die in a house fire.  Only dad survived and he is lost in grief and unavailable to answer her questions.  Cara struggles with her grief and gets help from her Bubbe and Zayde and from creating a family scrapbook.  But her healing finally comes with her decision to continue her mother's home-based cooking business - Julia's Kitchen.  This powerful book is filled with hope and a resilient spirit.

Zalben, Jane Breskin. Pearl's Marigolds for Grandpa. Simon & Schuster, Sept. 1, 1997.  Ages 3-8.

This is a beautifully illustrated story about a young girl coping with the death of her grandfather by remembering all the things she loved about him. She discovers a way to keep her grandfather's memory alive by bringing life to marigolds as he did every year. This book includes information about funeral customs of Judaism and four other religions.  The book is short, simple, and reassuring.

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyar 5784