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St Mary's
Church of England Primary School

A learning community dedicated to building
respectful and responsible citizens and empowering all learners.

Books for children aged 9-12 years

The Ghost of Uncle Arvie

By Sharon Creech, 1997


This fun and humorous book is about Danny, an ordinary nine-year-old boy. However, once or twice a year a ghost visits him. This time it is the ghost of his Uncle Arvie who follows him, persuading him to make his three wishes come true. As a result Danny and his dog get into adventures which make him think about his dad who has also died. This book has some important messages and talks about death in an open way, but is primarily fun and imaginative.


The Mountains of Tibet

By Mordicai Gerstein, 1989


Based on Tibetan teachings, this book tells of a small boy who grows up to be a woodcutter. When he dies, he discovers there is a chance to live again but first he must make a number of choices. A simple tale with deep meaning but the theme of reincarnation could be confusing.


Losing Uncle Tim

By Mary Kate Jordan & illustrated by Judith Friedman, 1999


This picture book for slightly older children explains how a young boy finds out his Uncle Tim has AIDS and is going to die. It is a serious and sensitive book covering many of the issues, changes and difficult feelings that can occur when someone has a serious illness


Michael Rosen’s SAD BOOK

By Michael Rosen & illustrated by Quentin Blake, 2004


This book has large illustrations and small snippets of text. It is wonderfully honest and will appeal to children and adults of all ages. We all have sad stuff, but what makes Michael Rosen most sad is thinking about his son who died. This book is a simple but emotive story. He talks about what sad is and how it affects him and what he does to cope with it. In true Michael Rosen style, this book manages to make you smile as well.


Milly’s Bug Nut

By Jill Janey, 2002


A short, simple story with black and white pictures, of a young girl who’s Dad has died. It talks about the ups and downs of family life and how things slowly get easier as time goes. Milly misses her Dad and things are just not the same anymore. She knows when people die, they can’t come back but she still keeps a wish to see her Dad one more time.


The Best Day of the Week

By Hannah Cole & illustrated by John Prater, 1997


This storybook tells of two young children who spend Saturdays with their Grandparents when Mum is at work. It has three chapters, with stories of three different Saturdays. The first is a happy day; the second is at the hospital and sad as Granny dies, the third at the theatre. It is a lovely story that gives an important message that it is still okay to have fun after someone dies.


What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?

By Trevor Romain, 2003


This book for older children is a factual guide, answering questions such as ‘why do people have to die?’, ‘is it okay to cry?’ and ‘what is a funeral/memorial service?’ It is written in a straightforward way, with practical tips, advice and information about different faiths and beliefs.


Ways to Live Forever

By Sally Nicholls, Marion Lloyd Books, 2008


If I grow up," 11-year-old Sam informs readers, "I'm going to be a scientist." He says "if" because he has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and knows he probably won't. With the encouragement of his tutor, he starts to write a bit about himself, then more, until he is using his writing to sort out his death. Interspersed with Sam's lists, questions and odd bits of mortality facts on notebook paper, his narrative proceeds in short, candid chapters that reveal a boy who, though he's not ready to die, nevertheless can confront the reality with heartbreaking clarity. As his parents wrangle about treatment (he doesn't want it), his little sister grapples with the changes to the household and his best friend and fellow cancer-sufferer dies, Sam methodically works through the things he wants to do before he dies, from going up a down escalator to the more problematic ride in an airship and seeing the earth from space.