I Miss You: A First Look at Death by Pat Thomas (A Review)

I Miss You

About the Book

I Miss You: A First Look At Death by Pat Thomas is part of the “A First Look At…Book” designed to help kids in Kindergarten through 3rd grade cope with different events and circumstances they may find themselves in.

Who Is This Book For

The book is meant for kids who have experienced the death of someone special in their lives. The targeted age group is kindergarten through 3rd grade though we think it would be beneficial if read to younger kids and even for slightly older elementary aged kids who could read through it themselves.

Our Synopsis of the Book

The book covers the basics of what death is:

“When someone dies their body stops working – they stop breathing and their heart stops beating. They can’t think or feel anymore. They don’t eat or sleep.”

As well as more profound questions about what happens after people die

“Every culture has different beliefs about what happens after a person dies.”

Is also addresses why people die, how it makes us feel, saying goodbye, what a funeral is and the idea that eventually things get easier. There are questions for the kids to consider about their own situation throughout the book as well as helpful suggestions and resources for parents at the back of the book.

Amazon’s Synopsis

Here’s how Amazon describes the book:

When a close friend or family member dies, it can be difficult for children to express their feelings. This book helps boys and girls understand that death is a natural complement to life, and that grief and a sense of loss are normal feelings for them to have following a loved one’s death. Titles in this sensitively presented series explore the dynamics of various relationships experienced by children of preschool through early school age. Kids are encouraged to understand personal feelings and social problems as a first step in dealing with them. Written by psychotherapist and counselor Pat Thomas, these books promote positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers. The story lines are simple and direct―easily accessible to younger children. There are full-color illustrations on every page.

What We Liked

There is a lot to like about this book. It is frank and informative and covers the basic things kids need to know about death and grief. The book handles more complex issue like “What happens when we die” in a way that will help kids to understand without offending people who hold different views about the question. The way the book handles this issue is a great opportunity for you to discuss what you believe happens after you die (assuming your child is interested in having that conversation). This book packs a lot of great information into a short and accessible book. It is beautifully illustrated in a way that can help the child relate even better to the concepts being shared.

What We Didn’t Like

There wasn’t a whole lot about this book that we didn’t like. If we had to pick one thing that gave us just a short moment of pause, it was in the very first sentence of the book,

Every day someone is born…and every day someone dies.

This is consistent with the very direct nature of the book, and absolutely true, but we can envision a circumstance where a child already in pain might read that first sentence and assume they are going to die soon too. That said, if the child makes it past that very first page, the rest of the book provide a very good explanation and why people die that should help to alleviate any fears. On the whole, this is not a major concern and should not detract anyone from adding this book to their library.

Recommendation

If you have a child (or know a child) who has or will experience the death of a loved one, this is a great book to help them understand what is going on and begin to process the grief they are feeling. It is a great opportunity for parents, grandparents or other important adults in the child’s life to share their grief together and will likely prompt many more questions when read together. It will also be a very beneficial book to older elementary aged kids as they read about death and ponder the questions posed in the book. We highly recommend I Miss You: A First Look At Death by Pat Thomas for any preschool or elementary aged child grieving the death of a loved one.

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Written by Wayne Stocks

Wayne is the founder and executive director of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. He is a happily married father of four kids with a passion for helping young people who are going through rough times. In addition to Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne previously started I Am A Child of Divorce and Divorce Ministry 4 Kids to help kids who are dealing with the disruption of their parents’ relationship. These are now part of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Wayne speaks frequently at conferences and churches on issues related to helping kids learn to deal with difficult emotions and life in modern families.

Wayne lives with his wife, three youngest kids, three dogs and an insane collection of his kids’ other pets outside of Columbus, Ohio. In addition to his work with Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne is a partner in a local consulting firm, an avid reader, coaches his son’s soccer team and is a proud supporter of Leicester City Football Club (and yes, for those in know, his affinity for the club does predate the 2016 championship).

You can reach Wayne at wayne@hope4hurtingkids.com.