Books about serious illness (pre-bereavement)

‘As big as it gets: supporting a child when a parent is seriously ill’ by Winston’s Wish

This booklet provides a range of ideas for parents and carers so that they feel able to involve their children in what is happening when a parent is seriously ill.  The book also includes some suggestions about what parents might say to children and how to offer support. Together you can create a toolkit which will help you to make sure your child feels informed, loved and hopeful.


‘Talking to my gran about dying: my school project’ by Gina Levete

When Will has to do a project for school, he decides to do it on dying. After all, dying happens to everyone, and all he has to do is talk to his Gran, Tam, about what she thinks. Will and Tam talk about questions like 'why do people have to die?' and 'where do people go when they die?'. This illustrated book is an excellent way to talk to children aged 8-11 about dying, to answer their questions and to help them understand what dying means. Questions to the reader throughout the book help to spark discussions and will allow the child to safely explore their thoughts and feelings.


‘The secret c: straight talking about cancer’ by Julie A. Stokes

This booklet is aimed at supporting parents or carers who are faced with the challenge of trying to explain to their child what cancer means and how it may affect their family, and encourages open communication and questions about cancer within the family.  Through pictures, captions and straightforward language, it explains how tumours are formed, what the various treatments are and how these may affect the person with cancer.  It stresses the need to keep to family routines and, importantly, to still try and have fun.  It is aimed at children aged 7 to 10 years and will work best when an adult is present to expand on the simple messages in the text.


‘When your mum or dad has cancer’ by Ann Couldrick

When someone in the family becomes seriously ill, it affects every single member. This booklet is for children who have to make sense of the crisis that has hit the family.