Ask Penny button














Hospice Foundation of America
Helpful Websites
Reading List







Reading ListHCI dove with leaves

The following list was compiled by Hospice Caring volunteer Barbara Blaylock, M.D.  


Living with Life-Threatening Illness

Barasch, Marc Ian: The Healing Path: A Soul Approach to Illness, J.P Tarcher, 1994. An excellent review of what has helped others achieve healing in a holistic sense and sometimes in a physical sense, even in the face of serious or potentially terminal illness, along with the author's own insights into his brush with thyroid cancer and the way it affected his life. Psychology, spirituality, alternative medicine, self-determination, the individual as an aspect of his culture.

Bauby, Jean-Dominique. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Vintage International, Random House, 1997. This short autobiographical book is a series of short chapters about the author’s thoughts and experiences after he was left in a “locked-in” condition by a cerebrovascular accident, unable to speak or move, able to communicate only by blinking one eye. Surprisingly devoid of anger or bitterness, this book is an affirmation of what matters most about life. 

Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Close to the Bone: Life – Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning. Touchstone Books, 1996. Bolen, a Jungian psychiatrist who has written other books on spiritual passage and mythology, writes eloquently here of the way illness can lead us to transformation, tying the experience to mythical journeys and encouraging us to tap into our inner wisdom for healing. She gives examples of rituals that can be created to infuse meaning into therapeutic interventions to enhance healing.

Cousins, Norman, Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Regeneration and Healing. W. W. Norton & Co.,1979. This classic book recounts the author's experience with a severe illness and his return to health using positive emotions and laughter. There are great chapters on the placebo effect and the positive aspects of pain.

 Cousins, Norman, Head First: The Biology of Hope and the Healing Power of the Human Spirit. Penquin Books, 1989. This is Cousin's third book about this general theme. It summarizes much of the first two and adds new information from the literature and his personal experience.

Frankl, Viktor E., Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy. Touchstone Books, 1984. This classic account of the author's experiences in a concentration camp during World War II is complemented by a concise description of his psychological theory, which hypothesizes the importance of creating meaning in life to emotional and spiritual health.

Gordon, James S. and Curtin, Sharon, Comprehensive Cancer Care: Integrating Alternative, Complementary, and Conventional Therapies. This excellent book presents current scientific assessments of various non-conventional cancer treatment modalities, much of it presented at the Comprehensive Cancer Care Conferences convened by Dr. Gordon and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in 1998 and 1999. There are extensive references.

O'Toole, Carole, Healing Outside the Margins: the Survivor's Guide to Integrative Cancer Care. This is a comprehensive resource book about complementary healing approaches helpful to people with cancer.

Pensack, Robert, and Williams, Dwight. Raising Lazarus. G.P. Putnam’s Son, 1994. A moving account of this physician’s lifelong experience with his own serious cardiac condition. Of particular interest is the neurologic and emotional difficulty he experienced after being on cardiopulmonary bypass during surgery, in addition to the PTSD he developed as a result of lifelong trauma associated with his illness and the loss of his mother to the same problem as a young child.

Price, Reynolds, A Whole New Life. Scribner, 1982 (original). Price, a well-known author, writes about learning to live with a spinal cord tumor that rendered him paraplegic with chronic pain. An inspiring account of transcending physical limitations to achieve a higher level of integration and wholeness.

Remen, Rachel Naomi. Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal. Riverhead Books, 1997. The author is a well-known physician concerned with compassionate care and spiritual healing, and a survivor of serious chronic illness herself. Very inspiring.

Richmond, Lewis. Healing Lazarus: A Buddhist’s Journey from Near Death to New Life. Pocket Books, 2002. This is an account of the author’s recovery from viral encephalitis, which required that he relearn how to function both physically and mentally. Of particular interest is his difficulty coping with the onslaught of everyday stimuli that we normally filter out but that his brain was incapable of organizing, and the resultant anxiety it produced in spite of his extensive Buddhist meditative training.

Warner, Gale. Dancing at the Edge of Life: A Memoir. Hyperion,1998. Gale Warner was 30 years old when she learned she had an aggressive lymphoma. An environmental journalist and poet who had long cultivated an "open heart" to whatever life brought her, she kept a journal throughout the period of her illness. She underwent aggressive therapy, including a bone marrow transplant, but succumbed to the tumor after only 13 months. This book, edited from her journal, is poetic, inspiring, and courageous. The last entry, full of appreciation and openness, was written the day before she died.

Wilbur, Ken, Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilbur. Shambala, 1991. Ken Wilbur, a popular new age writer and philosopher, tells the inspirational story of the life that he and his wife shared as she tried to survive breast cancer. Although she sought aggressive treatment for her cancer, she also focused on spiritual healing throughout her ordeal, and the book is a testimony to that as well as to the depth of their relationship. Excellent.

End of Life 

Anderson, Megory, &  Moore,  Thomas. Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life. Marlowe & Co., 2003. A theologian tells us how to make dying a sacred event.

Byock, Ira: Dying Well. Riverhead Books, 1997.  Written by a well-known hospice physician in Missoula, Montana, this book gives inspiring examples of the transformation, reconciliation, and emotional healing that can take place when people die at home with the help of hospice and loved ones.

Callanan, Maggie, and Kelley, Patricia.  Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying. Bantam Books, 1993.This poignant book contains many true stories about life's last chapter. A must-read for anyone close to a terminally ill person or for those wanting to understand more about the dying process.

Coberly,  Margaret. Sacred Passage : How to Provide Fearless, Compassionate Care for the Dying. Shambala, 2003. A nurse with extensive experience in working with the dying offers guidance on caring for the dying and meeting their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs, with emphasis on practices drawn from Tibetan Buddhism.

Duda, Deborah. Coming Home: A Guide to Dying at Home With Dignity. Aurora Press, 1987. Still a classic, this book is a practical guide for caring for a loved on at home at the end of life.

Dunn, Hank. Hard Choices for Loving People: CPR, Artificial Feeding, Comfort Care, and the Patient with a Life-Threatening Illness. 2001, A&A Publishers. This 80 page paperback was written by a hospice chaplain and provides a very balanced and reassuring framework within which to approach end of life decisions.

Fairview Health Services. The Family Book of Hospice Care. Fairview Press, 1999. Practical and succinct information about utilizing hospice care at home.

Hennezel, Marie de, Intimate Death: How the Dying Teach Us How to Live. Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. This inspiring little book takes us into the practice of a French psychologist who works with dying patients. Her compassion transcends the usual distance therapists keep from clients, and her stories are touching and intimate. They illustrate how meaningful being present with someone who is dying can be.

Kalina, Kathy. Midwife for Souls: Spiritual Care for the Dying. Pauline Books and Media, 1995. Written by a hospice nurse with a Christian orientation, this book is for professionals and laypeople caring for the dying.

Kessler, David The Needs of the Dying : A Guide For Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life's Final Chapter. Quill (reprint), 2000. The author has helped many people face the end of life with dignity and tells us how to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the dying. He also coauthored several books with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

Kolf, June Cerza. Comfort and Care in a Final Illness. Fisher Books, 1999. This is a very comforting and informative book about living out the last phase of life, half of which is directed toward the patient and half of which is for the caregiver. Written by a hospice worker, it contains much useful information.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth, Death, the Final Stage of Growth. Touchstone, first published 1975. This is one of Kubler-Ross's first and most ground-breaking books. It contains information about dying in various cultures and should be read by anyone working with dying people.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth, and Kessler, David. Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life and Living. Touchstone Books, Simon and Schuster, 2000. It's hard to say enough good things about this book in terms of its practical value. It amounts to a distillation of everything Kubler-Ross and David Kessler have learned not only from working with dying patients and their families but also from living. It's also an easy, enjoyable read.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth, Living with Death and Dying: How to Communicate with the Terminally Ill. Touchstone Books, 1981. Another in a series of books about death and dying by Dr. Kubler-Ross, this one is a sensitive guide to communicating with a dying person and understanding his needs. Two of the four chapters are written by others - one is a therapist who discusses the interpretation of pictures drawn by dying people. The other is by a parent of a dying child and her experiences and feelings during the period that her child was seriously ill and dying.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Children and Death: How Children and Their Parents Can and do Cope with Death. Touchstone, Simon and Schuster, 1997 (first published 1983.) Here, Dr. Kubler-Ross shares her experiences, showing the remarkable resilience of children and their families and the need to support them with respect and honest communication.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth, On Death and Dying: What the Dying have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy, and Their Own families. Collier Books, 1969. This was the ground-breaking book about that is still widely referred to for its insights and guidance. A must-read for all in the health care professions.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth, Questions and Answers on Death and Dying. Collier Books, 1974. This classic book contains good advice that reveals the compassion and understanding that characterized Dr. Kubler-Ross's work with dying patients. Particularly useful for care providers, its insights would be valuable for anyone who wishes to understand dying people better.

Kuhl, David, What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom for the End of Life. PublicAffairs, 2002. Dr. Kuhl, a palliative care doctor, deals here with the things that dying people need to communicate and the best ways to encourage them to do so.

Lattanzi-Licht, Marcia; Mahoney, John J; & Miller, Galen W.  The Hospice Choice: In Pursuit of a Peaceful Death. Fireside, 1998. This book, from the National Hospice Organization (now the NHPCO), explains hospice care.

Levine, Stephen and Ondine: Who Dies? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying. Anchor Books, 1989 (originally 1982). This reassuring yet provocative book deals with the issue of what part of ourselves dies with the body and what part endures. Written from a somewhat Buddhist perspective, it proposes that the higher consciousness that constitutes our awareness, apart from the individual mind, persists.

Longaker, Christine.  Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide To The Emotional and Spiritual Care Of The Dying. Mainstreet Books (reprint), 1998. The author’s husband died as a young man from leukemia and she has made a career of helping others resolve their fear of death. Written from a Buddhist perspective, it should be helpful to anyone caring for a dying person.

Lynn, Joanne, & Harrold, Joan. Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness. Oxford University Press, 1999. The author of this practical guide about many of the issues people with a life-threatening illness face, is a well-known physician expert on end of life care.

McNees, Pat. Dying: A Book of Comfort. Warner Books, 1996. A practical and helpful book comprised of passages from multiple authors about dying, helping the dying, and grieving.

Menten, Ted: Gentle Closings: How to Say Goodbye to Someone You Love. Running Press, 1991. This succinctly written and humorous little book is a quick read but contains lots of helpful advice and models for communicating with people of all ages who are facing death, particularly children. It is optimistic but realistic.

Morris, Virginia. Talking about Death Won't Kill You. Workman, 2001. Useful information about dying that should make it easier to confront the facts and take the steps to plan ahead for a good death.

Murphy, Michael. The Wisdom of Dying: Practices for Living. Element Books, 1999. This book, written by a physician with hospice experience, tells us how to heal by sharing stories with dying loved ones, including details about holding effective family conferences. It also describes training methods for professionals who aspire to be truly effective in relationship-centered care. An excellent resource.

North, Carolyn. The Experience of a Lifetime: Living Fully, Dying Consciously. Amber Books, 1998. This book is a thoughtful treatment of the author's experience with the deaths of four friends and her interactions with them as someone who uses dance and song as healing modalities. It reads like a novel, and there is real wisdom here. The epilogue deals with the death of her sister, which was difficult for her because of long-standing dysfunctional family issues that it was not in her power to resolve.

Nuland, Sherwin, How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter, Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. Dr. Nuland, a Yale surgeon, describes many of the various ways that life may come to an end, from both the clinical and psychosocial perspective. A good source of information, and inspiration for reflection, for everyone.

Rimpoche, Gehlek. Good Life, Good Death. Riverhead Books, 2001. Simple introduction to Tibetan Buddhist philosophy on leading the good life and preparing for death. Describes patience as a counter to anger, explains the problem with attachment and with ego, and explains the Buddhist beliefs about what happens after death in a straightforward way, easy for Westerners to understand. Inspiring.

Schmidt, Laura, and Pizzarello, Joe. A Good Death. Helm Publishing, 2005. Written by a Hospice Caring volunteer who died of pancreatic cancer and her husband about her experience as a dying patient, this book stresses the need for patient control and communication between health care providers and patients. A portion of the proceeds goes to Hospice Caring, Inc., the local volunteer hospice in Montgomery County.

Singh, Kathleen D. The Grace in Dying : How We Are Transformed Spiritually as We Die. HarperSanFrancisco, 2000. A hospice worker offers comfort and wisdom about the spiritual aspects of dying.

Smith, Harold Ivan. Finding Your Way to Say Goodbye: Comfort for the Dying and Those Who Care for Them. Ave Maria Press, 2002. Written by a theology professor, this book has a Christian orientation.

Smith, Rodney. Lessons From the Dying. Wisdom Publications, 1998.  A meditation teacher and hospice worker writes of his insights and lessons learned from working with the dying.

Stone, Ganga: Start the Conversation. Warner Books, 1996. This highly readable and reassuring book presents the case for a spirit that lives on after death. Her major thesis is that if you can come to believe that death is not the end of the spirit, it frees you from fear of dying and allows you to let go when those close to you die.

Stone, Susan Carol. At the Eleventh Hour: Caring for my Dying Mother. Present Perfect Books, 2001. An account of the author’s experience caring for her dying mother and what it taught her. Sensitive and comforting for those in similar situations.

Weenolsen, Patricia. The Art of Dying. St Martin’s Griffin, 1996. This book contains much practical and thought-provoking information useful for all of us, since all of us will die and all of us will need to understand others who are dying.


Capossela, Cappy, & Warnock, Sheila. Share the Care: How to Organize a Group to Care for Someone Who Is Seriously Ill, Second Revised and Expanded Edition. Fireside, 2004. A guide to organizing a network to help care for someone seriously ill.

Carter, Rosalynn: Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers. Imes Books, 1994. This book serves as a reassuring guide for caregivers. It has less factual information than some others but is encouraging and contains a good list of resources and organizations that can be of help to caregivers.

Kane, Jeff. How to Heal: A Guide for Caregivers. Watson-Guptill, 2003. Written by a physician who left practice to run support groups for cancer patients, this book describes how anyone can be a healing presence in the life of someone who is suffering.

McFarlane, Rodger, & Bashe, Philip.  The Complete Bedside Companion : A No-Nonsense Guide to Caring for the Seriously Ill. Fireside, 1999. This is a comprehensive “how-to” guide for anyone caring for a seriously ill person. In addition to a great deal of general information, it includes chapters about common specific illnesses.

Meyer, Maria M., &  Derr, . The Comfort of Home: An Illustrated Step-By-Step Guide for Caregivers. 2nd Edition, Care Trust Publications, 2002. A practical and easy to read guide for family members providing long – term care to loved ones at home with a section devoted specifically to dementia.  

See also the bibliography on end of life.


Ascher, Barbara Lazear, Landscape without Gravity: A Memoir of Grief. Penguin Books, 1993. This is a first person account of the author's coming to terms with the death of her younger brother from AIDS, and dealing with complicated grief. Well written and moving.

Brehony, Kathleen A. After the Darkest Hour: How Suffering Begins the Journey to Wisdom. Owl Books, 2000. This book offers spiritual insights into loss and suffering. It was written by a Jungian psychotherapist who also wrote the excellent book, Awakening at Midlife.

Brooke, Jill, Don't Let Death Ruin Your Life: A Practical Guide to Reclaiming Happiness after the Death of a Loved One, Plume, Penguin Putnam, 2001. This book has lots of practical information about ways to cope with grief constructively, in part based on interviews with many people who have successfully dealt with loss, including other authors of books on the topic and famous people.

Brooks, Jane, Midlife Orphan: Facing Life's Changes Now that Your Parents are Gone. Berkley Books, 1999. This book is meant for those who lose a parent in middle age.

Childs-Gowell,  Elaine. Good Grief Rituals: Tools for Healing : A Healing Companion. Station Hill Press, 1992. A succinct book for those who are looking for rituals to help them work through grief.

Colgrove, Melba;  Bloomfield, ; & McWilliams, Peter. How to Survive the Loss of a Love.  Prelude Press, 1993 (rev. Ed. Paperback). This classic book contains 94 concise one-page chapters with accompanying verses that guide one through grief.

Davis, Deborah. Loving and Letting Go. Centering Corporation, 1993, rev 2002. This very slim book gives comfort to parents who have had to make the decision to forgo invasive hi-tech life-supporting procedures for their baby."

Deits, Bob. Life After Loss: A Personal Guide Dealing With Death, Divorce, Job Change and Relocation. Fisher Books 1999 (3rd ed.) Written by a pastoral counselor, this book deals effectively with a large range of loss.

Didion, Joan. The Year of Magical Thinking. 2005, Alfred A. Knopf. This autobiographical account of the year following her husband’s sudden death is a poignant picture of the experience of grief and the emotional journey it entails.

Edelman, Hope. Motherless Daughters : The Legacy of Loss. Addison Wesley, 1994. While this book’s primary focus is those who lost their mothers at an early age, it is helpful to those who have experienced such a loss later in life as well.

Elison, Jennifer and McGonigle, Chris: Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief. Perseus Publishing, 2003. This book explores the complexity of emotions that may follow the death of a person with whom the survivor had a difficult relationship, or the death of a person for whom life had become burdensome.

Felber, Marta. Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies. Ave Maria Press, 2000. This book contains short chapters with a Christian theme designed to inspire and help a grieving person work through a loss.

Fine, Carla. No Time to Say Goodbye : Surviving The Suicide Of A Loved One. Main Street Books, 1999. This book, written after the author’s physician-husband committed suicide, includes many references.

Gilbert, Kei.  From Grief to Memories.  Soras Corporation, 2001. This book was written by a hospice volunteer/thanatologist after she experienced the loss of her mother in mid-life. (Available through

Golden, Thomas R.  Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing. Golden Healing Publishing, 2000 (2d ed.). Written by a psychologist about how men experience grief and heal after a loss.

Goldstein, Jan. Sacred Wounds. Regan Books, 2003. Written by an educator and rabbi who has grown through his own experience, this book is affirming and practical as a guide to finding meaning and opportunity from pain.

Grollman, Earl A. Living When a Loved One Has Died. Beacon Press, 3rd ed., 1995. A slim book written as poetry, very helpful to those ready to move beyond the acute phase of grief.

Harris, Maxine. The Loss that is Forever: The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father. Plume, 1996. This book explores the experiences and challenges of adults who lost a parent as a child.

James, John W., and Cherry, Frank. The Grief Recovery Handbook: A Step-by-Step Program for Moving Beyond Loss. HarperPerrenial, 1989. This book contains a series of specific exercises designed to work through grief. (Revised version is by James and Russell Friedman, 1997.

Jowell, Barbara Tom, &  Schwisow Donnette. After He's Gone: A Guide for Widowed and Divorced Women. Birch Lane Press, 1997. Not a grief book per se, but rather a practical guide for women facing the loss of a spouse.

Kluger-Bell, Kim. Unspeakable Losses : Healing From Miscarriage, Abortion, And Other Pregnancy Loss. Harper, 2000. Helpful for those who have experienced a loss and also for those seeking to understand.

Kushner, Harold S. When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Anchor, 2004 (reprint). This classic book is a comfort to anyone who asks “Why me?” after suffering a loss.

Levang,  Elizabeth. When Men Grieve : Why Men Grieve Differently and How You Can Help. Fairview press, 1998. Written for men who are grieving and those who want to help them.

Levine, Stephen, Unattended Sorrow : Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart, 2005. The author is a meditation teacher and poet who has written extensively on dying and spiritual growth. It has a Buddhist orientation that is best appreciated by those familiar with his other works.

Levy, Alexander. The Orphaned Adult: Understanding and Coping with Grief and Change After the Death of Our Parents. Perseus Publishing, 1999. This book explores the loss of one's parents as an adult, and speaks most directly to middle-aged adults with families of their own.

Mehren, Elizabeth. After the Darkest Hour, the Sun Will Shine Again: A Parent’s Guide to Coping with the Loss of a Child. Fireside, 1997. The author includes her own and many other stories, with an introduction by Rabbi Harold Kushner, whose own loss was a transforming event in his life.

Miller, Sukie. Finding Hope When a Child Dies: What Other Cultures can Teach Us. Simon and Schuster, 1999. The author looks to other cultures for help with healing after the loss of a child.

Moody, Raymond, and Arcangel, Dianne. Life after Loss: Conquering Grief and Finding Hope. HarperSan Francisco, 2001. This book draws on the personal experience of the authors as well as others, to make the point that each person experiences grief in a unique way, in his own time. There is a comprehensive list of supportive resources at the end. Moody is an expert on near-death experiences and has written several books about the supernatural.

Myers, Edward. When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults. Penguin books, 1986.(rev and updated 1997). A guide to the intense feelings that can be brought about even in adulthood by the death of a parent.

Neeld, Elizabeth Harper. Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World. Warner Books, 2003 (reprint). The author, a psychologist whose husband died suddenly, divides grieving into 7 stages that require making conscious choices to cope and grow into a new life.

Noel, Brook, &  Blair, Pamela D.  I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One. The authors experienced sudden losses themselves and have written a book for those who have lost a loved one unexpectedly and for others who want to understand and help.

Prend, Ashley Davis, Transcending Loss: Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief and How to Make it Meaningful. Berkley Books, 1997. This book, written by a psychotherapist who has worked in the field of bereavement for yeas, goes beyond dealing with acute grief and deals with the life-long impact of loss.

Ross, E. Betsy. After Suicide: A Ray of Hope for Those Left Behind. Perseus Publishing, 2001. Written after the suicide of the author’s husband and extensive work with the survivors of other suicides as the founder of A Ray of Hope, this book offers comfort and understanding.

Rosof, Barbara D. The Worst Loss : How Families Heal from the Death of a Child. Owl Books, 1994. “Rosof, a child psychotherapist who has worked for many years with families who have lost children, offers a clear, sympathetic, no-nonsense guide to surviving ‘a loss like no other.’” (Library Journal.)

Secunda, Victoria. Losing Your Parents, Finding Your Self : The Defining Turning Point of Adult Life. Hyperion, 2000. Instead of focusing on grief, this book explores the way losing our parents as adults transforms our relationship with others and helps us find our own adult selves.

Shernoff, Michael. Gay Widowers: Life After the Death of a Partner. Harrington Park Press, 1997. The editor, a psychotherapist, lost a partner to AIDS and has collected the stories of several gay men who have lost a partner and learned to cope.

Staudacher, Carol. A Time to Grieve: Meditations for Healing after the Death of a Loved One. HarperSanFrancisco, 1994. A collection of short individual meditations or thoughts about loss.

Tatelbaum, Judy. The Courage to Grieve: Creating, Living, Recovery, and Growth Through Grief. Perennial Currents, 1984. This short book is considered a classic among books about grieving.

Van Praagh, James. Healing Grief. New American Library, 2000. The author is a well-known medium who has written several other books. His approach to healing after a loss includes stories about communication with loved ones who have died and spiritual growth. 

Vanzant, Iyanla. Yesterday, I Cried: Celebrating the Lessons of Living and Loving. Simon and Schuster, 1998. This inspiring book recounts the author’s difficult life and reveals how she transcended its difficulties to heal and inspire others.

Viorst, Judith. Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies and Impossible Expectations that All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow. Simon and Schuster, 1986. This classic book instructs us to recognize and deal with all the losses that mark our lives in ways that help us grow and move forward.

Wittwer, Sherri Devashrayee. Gone Too Soon: The Life and Loss of Infants and Unborn Children. Covenant Communications, 1994. Comfort for those who have lost a baby before or shortly after birth.

Wolpe, David. Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times. Riverhead, 2000 (paperback) ed.) Written by a Rabbi, this book is accessible to all. Not a self-help book, it explores the way losses help strengthen us by drawing from a variety of stories.

Helping Children with Parental Illness and Death

Dougy Center, 35 Ways to Help a Grieving Child. The Dougy Center, 1999. This short 51 page book presents helpful and very practical  information very succinctly.

Fitzgerald, Helen. The Grieving Child: A Parent’s Guide. Fireside, 1992. The first sentence reads: "What I share with you in this book comes from life-what I have learned as the wife of a cancer patient, a widow, the mother of four fatherless children, and, finally, as a therapist trying to help grieving people."

Fitzgerald, Helen. The Grieving Teen: A Guide for Teenagers and their Friends. Fireside, 2000. This book is meant to be read by teens who have suffered a loss and their friends who would like to understand their loss.

Grollman, Earl A. Straight Talk About Death for Teenagers: How to Cope with Losing Someone You Love. Beacon Press, 1993. Meant to be read by teens, this book is written in a straightforward and easy to read style that helps teens realize they are not alone in their feelings after a loss.

Harpham, Wendy Schlessel. When a Parent Has Cancer : A Guide to Caring for Your Children/Becky and the Worry Cup : A Children's Book About a Parent's Cancer (2-book package) HarperCollins 1997. The author is a cancer survivor, mother of three, and physician. It includes a glossary of terms for kids and a small book for children that can be read to or by an elementary school age child.

James, John W. and Friedman, Russell. When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal With Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, and Other Losses. HarperCollins, 2001. “This compassionate manual purges common myths such as ‘time heals all wounds,’ and encourages adults to deal with grief constructively themselves, so that they, in turn, can help children.” (from Publisher’s Weekly)

Jarratt, Claudia Jewett. Helping Children Cope with Separation and Loss, Revised Edition. Harvard Common Press, 1994. This book addresses the concerns of children facing all kinds of losses, including adoption and separation from parents as well as actual death. Written by an expert on adopting older children.

Krementz, Jill. How it Feels When a Parent Dies. Knopf, reprint edition 1988. This book is meant to be read to or by children ages 4 to 8. It deals realistically with the feelings many of them have but are afraid no one else feels. A classic.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Children and Death: How Children and Their Parents Can and do Cope with Death. Touchstone, Simon and Schuster, 1997 (first published 1983.) Here, Dr. Kubler-Ross shares her experiences, showing the remarkable resilience of children and their families and the need to support them with respect and honest communication.

McCue, Kathleen. How to Help Children Through a Parent's Serious Illness. St. Martin’s Griffin (paperback ed.), 1996. This very helpful guide is written to help parents who are facing a serious or life-threatening illness address the concerns and problems of their children. Full of practical information and advice.

Perschy, Mary K. Helping Teens Work Through Grief. Taylor and Francis, 2d Ed., 2004. This guide is meant for teachers and therapists working with groups of teens.

Schaeffer, Dan & Lyons, Christine. How Do We Tell the Children? A Step-by-Step Guide for Helping Children Cope When Someone Dies, Third Edition. Newmarket Press, 2002. This helpful book was written by former funeral director and psychologist Schaefer with Journalist Lyons and is very helpful in communicating with children of all ages.

Schweibert, Pat & DeKlyen, Chuck.  Tear Soup Grief Watch; 2nd Rev edition 2001. This picture book is comforting for people of all ages.

Trozzi, Maria. Talking with Children About Loss: Words, Strategies, and Wisdom to Help Children Cope with Death, Divorce, and Other Difficult Times. Perigree Trade, 1999. Written by the director of the Good Grief Program at Boston Medical Center and recommended by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton.


For more information,
call 301-869-HOPE (4673)

Hospice Caring, Inc.

Holding Hands and Healing Hearts


Hospice Caring, Inc. | 518 South Frederick Avenue| Gaithersburg, MD 20877 | Serving Montgomery County since 1989
Contact Hospice Caring
This website and all information contained herein are copyrighted. All rights reserved. 
Reproduction of any content requires permission of Hospice Caring, Inc.