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Suggested reading list

Our librarian, Mary Hartley has put together the suggested reading list below – her personal ‘picks’ of helpful and supportive books.

All these books can be borrowed from our Postal library.

If you buy any of these books from Amazon, please can we ask you to sign up to Easy Fundraising (choosing The Compassionate Friends as the beneficiary) and go to the Amazon site through there. You can find more information about how we raise money in this way here. This costs you nothing and every time you shop online at Amazon and almost 3000 other online retailers, our charity receives a donation from the seller.

Aspects of Loss by Gill Hartley (Gill is not a relation although she is now a friend. This is an excellent book for all bereaved parents.)


One Step at a Time - Mourning a Child by Betty Madill


A Mother’s Grief 30 Years On by Betty Madill


The Bereaved Parent by Harriet Sarnoff Schiff


Knowing Why Changes Nothing by Eva Lager with Sasha Wagner

A mixture of prose and poetry by two mothers who lost children. Eva’s daughter died by suicide.


Always with You by Gloria Hunniford

Her second book.


A Heartbeat Away by Flappy Lane Fox


The Death of a Child edited by Peter Stanford


Our children; an anthology of the experiences of bereaved parents whose children have died at different ages and from various causes.



Suicide survivors, A guide for those left behind by Adina Wrobleski

Adina’s daughter died by suicide


Suicide: Why? 85 questions and answers about suicide by Adina Wrobleski


Suicide of a Child by Adina Wrobleski


Losing a Child, Explorations in Grief

Linda’s daughter died by suicide but this book is helpful for all parents, it’s full of good advice


My Son, My Son: A guide to healing after death, loss or suicide by Iris Bolton with Corin Michell


Searching for my Estrella Maili - Rebuilding my life after the death of my daughter by Gisela Castillo de Lujan


Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the suicide loss of a sibling by Michelle Linn-Gust.


His Bright Light by Danielle Steel

This is a non-fiction book about the author’s son who suffered from bi-polar disease and died from suicide.



Surviving a Sibling: Discovering Life after Loss by Scott Masterley


Letters to Sara: the agony of adult sibling loss by Anne McCurry


The Last Act of Love: the story of my brother and his sister by Cathy Rentzenbrink

This is quite a new book and is about the best book written by a sibling I’ve seen.



I Miss my Sister by Sarah Courtauld and Holly Surplice


The Sad Book by Michael Rosen

Many adults also find this book really helpful.


Water Bugs and Dragonflies by Doris Stickney



When a Grandchild Dies: What to do, what to say, how to cope by Nadine Galinsky


Grandparents Cry Twice: help for bereaved grandparents by Mary Lou Reed



A Song for Jenny: A mother’s story of love and loss by Julie Nicholson

This beautiful young girl died in the 7/7 attacks. There’ll be a DVD of her story available soon.


For the Love of Julie by Ann Ming


An Ordinary Murder by Lesley Moorhead


Tim, an Ordinary Boy by Colin and Wendy Parry


Goodbye Dearest Holly by Kevin Wells

Although the Soham murders were horrific Holly’s dad is basically a positive person and I came away from this book with the feeling that his family had been neither defeated nor destroyed by the man who’d taken their daughter and sister from them.



When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner

Kushner is a rabbi whose son died at the age of 14 from a premature ageing disease. He uses his knowledge of theology to try to understand why God would do such a thing to him. It’s one of the most popular books in our library.


On Life After Death by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

A doctor whose work with sick and dying children made her certain life continues after physical death.


The Truth In The Light: an investigation of over 300 near death experiences by Peter Fenwick and Elizabeth Fenwick

As a nurse I’ve been interested in the phenomenon of near death experiences since the 1970s. There have been tens of thousands of reports of these experiences and, although people might disagree about what causes them, they most definitely are happening. Personally I’ve also looked after hundreds of dying people and am also convinced death isn’t the end. The Fenwicks’ book is one of the best on the subject.


Raymond Moody has written quite a few books on this subject, including Life after Life with Elizabeth Kubler Ross.


Don’t Let Them Tell You How to Grieve by Gina Clay


The Swallow, the Owl and the Sandpiper: Words of courage, wisdom and spirit compiled by Claire Maitland


A Broken Heart Still Beats by Anne McCracken and Mary Semel

This is a compilation of poetry and prose from famous people whose children have died through the ages and I think this is my favourite book in the whole library.



The Death of a Child: Reflections for grieving parents by Elaine E Stillwell


Relative Grief by Clare Jenkins and Judy Merry

This isn’t just about the death of children, although that is included, but it’s good because there are thoughts about each death from various members of the family.


Fireflies: a father’s classic tale of love and loss by David Morell

This is an unusual book, which blends fact and fiction, but the feedback is always very good from readers and I really like it too.


Kadian Journal by Thomas Harding

A father’s journal following the sudden death of his young son.

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