Today was a little less harried at the desk than it has been lately, and I was very glad of that because it allowed me to devote my time and attention to a sensitive reference question that came up.
A patron approached the desk, and asked if I could help her find books for young children about death and grieving. When I gently asked if she could give anymore information about the situation they were dealing with, I found out that their had unfortunately been a pregnancy in the family that ended in miscarriage, and the kids were having a hard time understanding what had happened and that there was no baby anymore, even though a significant amount of time had passed.
I cautioned her that we probably would not have anything on that specific situation, but that I would pull together what I could find and bring them to her to look over. Unfortunately, as I suspected, most of the children's books we had on death and grief dealt with the loss of a pet or a grandparent, and tended to focus on the idea that they had lived a good life and to take comfort in memories, which wouldn't be helpful in this situation. I did find a couple of general books on explaining death, which I gave to her. I also told her that if they googled "how to talk to kids about miscarriage" there were several web articles that might be helpful.
As I continue to search online to try to find a book title or a particularly helpful web article to recommend, I luckily came across one that mentioned two titles of books for children about miscarriage. I was thrilled to actually find that a book existed on such a specific topic. They were both out of print, but one looked like it could be purchased used for a reasonable price. I also said ILL would be an option as well, and I wrote down the titles for her and told her just to let us know if she wanted to try to get them through ILL.
As I continued to look on Amazon, I found three other books listed under "What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item" that looked even more promising as they were either more recent, or had customer review, and one is still available through Baker & Taylor, so we are going to order a copy for the collection. Here are the titles I found, starting with the one available through B&T:
- Molly's Rosebush by Janich Cohn, 1994
- We Were Gonna Have a Baby, But We Had an Angel Instead by Pat Schwiebert, 2003
- Something Happened: A Book for Children and Parents Who Have Experienced Pregnancy Loss by Cathy Blanford, 2012
- Goodbye Baby: Cameron's Story by Gillian Griffiths & Lindsay MacLeod, 1999
I felt very bad for this family having to deal with such a loss, and I can imagine how hard it would be for young children to understand. I was so glad I was able to find some titles that might be helpful, even if they weren't in our collection, and glad for the atypically slower day that allowed us to talk quietly and privately, and the time to devote to keep digging and digging, until I found something.