"Where do they go?" is an accessible and tender children's book about death

Originally published at: "Where do they go?" is an accessible and tender children's book about death | Boing Boing


I’ve never read this book, but there are two children’s books about death that really stand out to me:

The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown image

MWB is weird, her metering and language is all over the place, most of her illustrators are absolutely terrible and she often leaves thoughts incomplete or incoherent. However, The Dead Bird is incredibly beautiful, efficient and empathetic. It follows a group of children who seemingly have no context for death as they discover a dead bird and dream up a little ceremony to memorialize it outside of the context of any religion or culture. Absolutely gorgeous and really understands children without pandering to them with sing-song language that cheapens the subject. Apparently, the wonderful Christian Robinson redid the artwork, but Remy Charlip’s original work is perfect as well. I think this book was the one that started me off collecting children’s books.

Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie

Lifetimes strips all religion, cultural references, pandering adult-speak and emotional projection from the subject of death. In fact, it’s really about life and how different beings experience life and, inevitably death. Some beings live longer than others… larger ones tend to live longer, but all lifetimes end. Simple, beautiful and clear in a way that doesn’t attempt to answer “why”, which is the biggest mistake one can make when trying to explain death.


We are all destined to be grass, according to the King.

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We have this one boxed up to hand down to our grandchildren. We got it for our daughter when her grandma died. She was very young and we talked with a counselor on how to help her, she recommended this book.

Our daughter still remembers the book.



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