How do we live after death?

Stories of Grief

My Brother's Shadow

Avery, Tom. My Brother’s Shadow. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2014.

“Eleven-year-old Kaia, who has felt emotionally isolated since her brother’s suicide, befriends a wild boy who mysteriously appears at her London school, finding a way to communicate with him despite his being mute.” – CIP [England}

The Crow-girl

Bredsdorff, Bodil. The Crow-girl. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.

“After the death of her grandmother, a young orphaned girl leaves her house by the cove and begins a journey which leads her to people and experiences that exemplify the wisdom her grandmother had shared with her.” – CIP.  [Denmark]


If I Stay

Forman, Gayle. If I Stay. New York: Speak, 2010, c2009.

“While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weights whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.” – CIP. [Oregon]

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” – C.S. Lewis


Moon Pie

Mason, Simon. Moon Pie. New York: David Fickling Books, 2011.

“Eleven-year-old Martha tries to keep her family together after her mother’s death as her father struggles with alcoholism.” – CIP.  [England]

Bridge to Terabithia

Paterson, Katherine. Bridge to Terabithia. New York: Scholastic, 1977.

” Living in rural Virginia, ten-year-old Jess and Leslie become special friends as they create a magical secret world that they call Terabithia. But when a tragic accident causes Leslie’s death during a storm, Jess is forced to face life alone.” – CIP. [Virginia]

A Perfect Gentle Knight

 Pearson, Kit. A Perfect Gentle Knight. Toronto: Puffin, 2007.

The six Bell children grieve their mother’s death and try to cope with their father’s increasing remoteness from the family as he immerses himself in work.  [Vancouver, B.C.]

“Great grief does not of itself put an end to itself.” –  Lucius Annaeus Seneca


Missing May

Rylant, Cynthia. Missing May. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, [1993], c1992.

” After the death of the beloved aunt who has raised her, twelve-year-old Summer and her uncle Ob leave their West Virginia trailer in search of the strength to go on living.” – CIP.  [West Virginia]


Between Shades of Gray 

Sepetys, Ruta. Between Shades of Gray. New York: Speak, 2012, c2011.

“In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.” – CIP.  For mature readers.  [Russia]

Spinelli, Jerry. Eggs. New York: Little, Brown, 2008, c2007.

“Mourning the loss of his mother, nine-year-old David forms an unlikely friendship with independent, quirky thirteen-year-old Primrose, as the two help each other deal with what is missing in their lives.” – CIP. [Pennsylvania]

The Center of Everything

Urban, Linda. The Center of Everything. Boston: Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013.

Grieving for her grandmother, twelve-year-old Ruby prepares to read her award-winning essay at the annual parade honouring her town’s founder, the inventor of a doughnut with a hole in the middle. Moving backwards and forwards through time with references to mathematics and ancient cultures and explorers, this novel will be appreciated by readers 11-years-old and up who have enjoyed stories by Ruth White.  [New Hampshire]


Behind You

 Woodson, Jacqueline. Behind You. New York: Puffin Books, 2010, c2004.

“After fifteen-year-old Jeremiah is mistakenly shot by police, the people who love him struggle to cope with their loss as they recall his life and death, unaware that ‘Miah is watching over them.” – CIP. [New York City]

“I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” Wendell Berry



With that one word,

He swallows the emotion and pushes it forward:

“There’s no word for what happens to you.”

“There’s no good side of it.”

His voice cracks and an avalanche of tears tumbles down his face. 

I close my eyes;

I cover my ears;

I cannot hear this.

(by Neve from If I Stay by Gayle Forman)

More ‘found’ poems HERE

Adventures at the turn of the 20th century

Far Beyond

Brown, Don. Far Beyond the Garden Gate: Alexandra David-Neel’s Journey to Lhasa. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002.

The spirit of Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney shines in this true story of an early 20th century explorer who was 43-years-old when she set out for India. Travelling through the Himalayas, with a young companion whom she later adopted, David-Neel was the first Western woman to visit the capital of Tibet. Evocative full-page illustrations accompany this inspiring picture book for readers 8-years-old and up.  

Stories set in the past HERE.

“Despite having seen a fair amount of the world, I still love travelling – I just have an insatiable curiosity and like looking out of a window.” – Michael Palin

Stories of adventure HERE.

“Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Stories of courage HERE.

Tillie the Terrible

Stauffacher, Sue. Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. 

Another determined woman at the turn of the 20th century changed her world when she set out to become a cyclist. Wearing a special cycling costume which she had designed, she attracted fame as a long distance racing champion.  Recommended for readers 8-years-old and up. 

“Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence.” – Alistair Cooke

More stories about strong female characters HERE.

“I’ve always felt that what I have going for me is not my imagination, because everyone has an imagination. What I have is a relentlessly controlled imagination. What looks like wild invention is actually quite carefully calculated.” – Terry Pratchett

Mr. Ferris

Davis, Kathryn Gibbs. Mr. Ferris and His Wheel. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. 

In 1893, the first ferris wheel was built for the Chicago’s World Fair. Designed to outshine Paris’s Eiffel Tower which had attracted fame only four years earlier, the lights from George Ferris’s great wheel could be seen at night from forty miles away.  A true story and marvellous picture book for readers 8-years-old and up.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

More stories about real people HERE.

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” – J.K. Rowling

Finding Poetry

I Carry Your Heart
Nonfiction speaks to the head. Fiction speaks to the heart. Poetry speaks to the soul. – Ellen Hopkins
Read reflective poems HERE.
When I Heard
The poet doesn’t invent. He listens. – Jean Cocteau
Read found poems HERE.
 On the Wing
Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. – Robert Frost
Read surreal poems HERE.

This is Just to Say

Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.Allen Ginsberg
Read false apology poems HERE.
Blues Journey
Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure. – Mark Strand
Find stories in verse HERE.
My Letter to the World
One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.  – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Read famous poems HERE.

River of Words

Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life. – William Hazlitt