• not if but when

    books for young people about death and loss

  • what we do

    encourage and support sharing good books and stories about death and loss with children and teens throughout their lives

    not if but when

    Death is a natural part of our time on earth together. Each of us will lose people important to us, and each of us will die. The question is not if, but when.

    young people need help

    Children and teens facing the loss of friends and family, or their own mortality, need help navigating the emotional, physical, and practical upheavals and restorations that are part of the natural process. Books offer opportunities to ask questions, wonder, and simply acknowledge the realities of their circumstances.

    the sooner the better

    We tend to broach the subject of death with young people only after death has occurred or becomes imminent. By "protecting" children from these conversations we inadvertently prevent them from acquiring the skills and context necessary to make sense of death when it does arrive. Introducing the subject through books and stories provides a safe and comfortable context for these important conversations.

  • nibw team

    we are dedicated to meaningful considerations of grief, mourning, and peace through literature

    Marie Eaton is the former Dean of Western Washington University's Fairhaven College and currently serves as Director of the Palliative Care Institute.

    Sylvia is a Librarian and Associate Professor at Western Washington University where she is founding curator of PoetryCHaT, a comprehensive collection of poetry for children and teens.

    Thom is the Youth Services Manager at the Whatcom County Library System where he oversees collections, programs, and services for children and teens.

  • presentations

    we engage with educators, librarians, parents, healthcare workers, clergy, and other community members dedicated to young people's comfort and integrity

    Ferndale Public Library, Ferndale, WA

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016

    nErDcamp Bellingham

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

    Woodring College of Education, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    Department of Social and Human Services, Bellingham, WA

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    Burlington Public Library, Burlington, WA

    Tuesday, September 27, 2016

    Bellingham Public Library, Bellingham, WA

    Thursday, October 27, 2016

    Village Books, Bellingham, WA

    Sunday, October 30, 2016

  • additional resources

    we recommend these agencies for further assistance and support

    Our TreeHouse

    Our TreeHouse provides a safe environment where children and their families grieving a death can share their experiences and help them heal. www.our-treehouse.org

    Camp Killoqua’s Camp Willie

    A Grief Camp for Children in grades 2-12
    This camp for children who have lost someone they love provides children with the additional support they need to get through through the isolation often associated with grief. www.campfiresnoco.org/camp/grief-camp/

    The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

    A national institute serving young people in trauma

    The mission of the NCTSN is to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United States. http://www.nctsn.org

  • give us a hand

    let us know about your favorite books that present death and loss to a young audience