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Great Answers to Difficult Questions about Death: What Children Need to Know Paperback – 15 Jun 2009

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Great Answers to Difficult Questions about Death: What Children Need to Know + What Does Dead Mean?: A Book for Young Children to Help Explain Death and Dying
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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (15 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849058059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849058056
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 305,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This book will be a welcome addition to any staff room, as a resource to which to refer when children are faced with death... The book provides helpful suggestions as to how children and their families may create ways of acknowledging the loss at home or in a special place associated with the departed. Schools will also find the ideas suggested in this book helpful if they need to put together a memorial service for a member of the school community... This book is likely to be helpful addition to the Educational Psychologist's bookshelf, both as a resource to recommend to others and for use in consultations with those involved in the repercussions caused by death. -- Debate Questions range from the general (e.g., "What does dead mean") to the heartbreaking specific (e.g. "Why do all good people like my mom die young") The author strongly advocates honesty in order to secure trust in children, who will have future questions throughout their lives at various life stages. This should be on the ready-reference shelf for anyone who works with children; it is brilliant in its honesty, sensitivity, and brevity. -- Library Journal, August 2009 and Healthy Books

About the Author

Linda Goldman is a licensed counsellor and has a Fellow in Thanantology: Death, Dying, and Bereavement with an MS degree in counselling and Master's Equivalency in early childhood education. Linda worked as a teacher and counsellor in the school system for 20 years. She has written many articles on counselling and taught and lectured at various universities, most recently in the Graduate Program of Counselling at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Linda has a private grief therapy practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where she now lives. She is author of Children also Grieve: Talking about Death and Healing (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

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By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Linda Goldman's new book, "Great Answers to Difficult Questions about Death" is a slim book; 110 pages of text. But since no one wants to page through a lengthy book when talking to a child about death - of others or of themselves - the size of the book is much easier to handle. Death is often a taboo subject and that relates especially to children. It's only been in the last 30 or 40 years that children's thoughts, dreams, and reactions to a loved one's death have been talked about. I know several friends whose siblings died when they were young and they were given no "grief therapy" to help them deal with the deaths.

Goldman's main point is that discussions of death, the afterlife, and a child's recognition of his/her own part in mourning must be age appropriate. You wouldn't use the same words and terms when discussing death with a six year old that you would with an eleven year old. She gives made-up dialogue, using questions-and-answers, to show some of the fears and questions children have about death. Her book is a good resource today for parents and loved ones to face the realities of death. The only problem with Goldman's book is that it is marketed as something for parents and other relatives to use when discussing death with children but it is written often with examples that show a therapist talking to a child. The non-therapist must make the verbal changes in language when using some of Goldman's wording.

That's why I'm giving the book four stars instead of the five I would have given it had it been written solely with the parent/loved one wording to use when talking to a child.
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By maureen on 5 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great Answers to Difficult Questions about Death is an excellent book which helps adults and carers to explain death in different circumstances to children and young adults. Very easy to understand for both children and adults.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 50 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Short, to the point, and still needs editing 14 Sept. 2009
By J. Hauer - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While my kids haven't yet experienced the death of a person close to them, our family did lose our miniature schnauzer last year. I thought about getting a book from the library to cover the subject but ended up just winging it, telling the kids that Amos was just very, very sick and his body just couldn't fight any longer. We never hid anything from them and just used common sense to give them the information they needed and as they continue to ask questions, I answer them honestly.

Would a book have been useful? If it was Great Answers to Difficult Questions About Death, I don't think it would have been worth the money for me. That's because I seem to be on the same wavelength as the author - tell the kids the truth but don't give them more information than they need. If they ask follow up questions, again, answer truthfully but don't blabber on and on. When the kids ask what happened to Amos after he died, I said that the vet took care of Amos. I didn't need to go into detail about how his corpse was tossed in an incinerator.

I can see how a book like this can be useful for those who need more guidance. At the same time, the publisher needs to assign a strong editor to the book before final publication. Sentences such as "It made her body stopped working." (pg 15) tend to make me take the author and message of the book much less seriously.

You also need to be aware that all of the answers are written from the viewpoint of a trusted adult or counselor who is outside the family - not as if the answers are being given by parents to their children. So, the answer "I don't know that answer. Maybe your dad does. Why don't you ask him?" is not helpful. I bet Dad certainly does know what happened to Mom's body. There are no suggestions here about what Dad ought to actually tell his daughter.

I also felt the very short section aimed at those children who are possibly dying themselves to be less than adequate. I would not recommend the book for that particular population.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Finally a book with real answers for kids 28 Aug. 2009
By frisky2000 - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is no easy way to deal with death. Whatever your age, though it is a natural part of the circle of life, the finality of it can be something a person cannot get a grip on, nor can they overcome without the right guidance or opportunity to gain answers. For children, the topic is even more imposing. I have found this short and very concise piece of work to be invaluable. In a reader-friendly "Question and Answer" type format, it addresses not only death of the elderly through old age or disease, but the more difficult topics such as suicide, accidents, murder and even terror attacks. The language is not condescending or vague, and the explanations are in no way cliches, such as, "it was meant to be..." which often open up more questions in children's minds, and if left unaswered, can fester into depression, withdrawal, and other behavioral issues. The book focuses on scenarios and how adults can answer the child's questions, with ages ranging from as young as five through 17. In each case, the adult creates an open, safe environment for the child to express their thoughts, fears, worries, or even guilt and blame. Religious beliefs are also touched upon and loss of a parent, sibling or family pet is especially helpful and insightful. The suggested responses are carefully worded according to the age of the child (too much info at a young age is not recommended and not enough for older children still leave holes in their understanding). I found myself highlighting often in this little book since my children certainly have been exposed to enough situations where death and dying were very real to them, and I didn't always know the right way to approach their questions with careful honesty. This book has already become an important reference and will be highly recommended in my school as well as to friends and colleages.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Age Appropriate Answers to Questions Children Ask About Death 18 Sept. 2009
By Richard R. Blake - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Great Answers to Difficult Questions about Death" approaches the subject of helping the child work through the grieving process on the basis of "What Children Need to Know." Case studies have been created to illustrate approaches for addressing questions most frequently asked by children who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Basic scripts have been created to provide dialog with questions and suggested answers for use by the parent or counselor.

Why? What? Where? Who? These are the questions most often questions asked by children. The proposed dialogs are designed to draw out the feelings and concerns the child is anxious about in order to ease their concerns and build confidence while respecting and encouraging their questions.

Goldman displays compassion, sensitivity and thoroughness in her writing. I found the information in the appendix especially helpful. A checklist for children provides a timeline as well as suggested activities which will help ease the grieving process. A separate section is devoted to adults detailing common signs of grieving in children with suggestions for how the adult can deal with these indicators. A useful list of helpful websites and children's resources is another invaluable aid.

Linda Goldman writes for parents, teachers, and professional counselors in this excellent resource guide on addressing children's difficult questions about death.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very helpful 5 Dec. 2009
By Kathy Carrington - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
How do you explain death to a 3-year-old? Even if it's just a pet goldfish that died, how do you explain that he's gone forever? What does that mean when you are barely a thousand days old?
The answer? Simply with many questions back to the child of the "What do you think happens" nature.
The author points out what parents know but often forget when confronted with a suddedn "What is death?" question: what kids want and need to know changes with age. And the author does a good job through pretend conversations with a child to help the reader see what might be going through the kids head at different ages.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Valuable Guidance 11 Sept. 2009
By Timothy Walker - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sadly, this book was recently necessary for me, and I turned to it for assistance helping my younger brothers (both developmentally disabled) deal with our mother's passing. All I can say clearly right now is that it helped... it is short, readable, not too psychological or too religious, and useful. I would recommend the whole series to grief counselors, pastors, and those with similar duties.
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