Bird is Dead by Tiny Fisscher and Herma Starreveld

Bird is Dead a Book About Death and Grief

If you’re looking for a book to support children with the topic of death then Bird is Dead is a unique, quirky look at this important life cycle whilst gaining an understanding of death and grief in a child focused way.

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Bird is Dead

Bird is Dead from Greystone Kids brings a title that appears light hearted with hints of humour on the surface. Yet, this book covers death in a simple, honest way. Bird is dead discusses the practicalities of death as well as feelings of grief.

The book is original in its genuine portrayal of death and grief for children. It shows how our emotions can be multifaceted when someone passes and how we feel is individual, different and personal. Yet, coming together over shared traditions helps when we are dealing with the passing of someone and feelings of grief.

Similarities and Differences

Three aspects of this book shine through for me and make this an important, special book to share. Firstly, the book encourages us to come together at times of death and grief. We see this as the birds talk together. They talk about denial of his death, what they need to do to make arrangements and they share memories of Bird.

I particularly like how they shared not just good memories of Bird. I think this is so important and something many books on this topic for children don’t touch on. Our memories of people are not always happy memories and grief can let all feeling bubble to the surface. Strong feelings shouldn’t be suppressed and this book encourages us to share all feelings and not filter.

Secondly, at times the other birds start to argue with each other and disagree. Again, this is something that I haven’t found in other books. Emotions are very raw when we are dealing with grief and this means people may say things that they wouldn’t usually.

Finally, that our relationship with someone who has passed is unique. Although we may have some similar thoughts and feelings, our emotions are different to anyone else’s. This book doesn’t make a judgement and shows that all feelings are valid.

Author and Illustrator

Tiny Fisscher is a Dutch author and Bird is Dead is translated into English by Laura Watkinson. The title is wonderfully illustrated by Herma Starreveld. Herma is a mixed media artist and erstwhile therapist. This book has beautiful collage work in a muted palette with tiny pops of colour really suited to the content.

If you would like support on how to talk to children about death and other book recommendations then this blog post may be helpful.

Bird is Dead publishes on the 28th March 2024 but can be pre-ordered.

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