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We easily gravitate towards joy and happiness. Sadness, loss and grief come to us uninvited. Often, we want to shield our children against these feelings and thoughts. Sometimes, inadvertently we teach them to protect themselves no matter what against these emotions.

However, if we do not reject, but accept, discuss and understand that these emotions make us whole then we teach our children to be unafraid. Because life carries on, and though the tough times seem neverending, they do end or atleast pass.

By sharing stories about loss, death or grief we are helping children understand that they are all part of living and one must cope with it. In the process of coping it is perfectly alright for them to grieve deeply, be angry, feel like you are left with an incomplete piece, but persist they must.

Kate di Camillo recounts an instance where her story of loss helped connect with a young reader.

My childhood best friend read Charlotte’s Web over and over again as a kid. She would read the last page, turn the book over, and begin again. A few years ago, I asked her why.

“What was it that made you read and reread that book?” I asked her. “Did you think that if you read it again, things would turn out differently, better? That Charlotte wouldn’t die?”

“No,” she said. “It wasn’t that. I kept reading it not because I wanted it to turn out differently or thought that it would turn out differently, but because I knew for a fact that it wasn’t going to turn out differently. I knew that a terrible thing was going to happen, and I also knew that it was going to be okay somehow. I thought that I couldn’t bear it, but then when I read it again, it was all so beautiful. And I found out that I could bear it. That was what the story told me. That was what I needed to hear. That I could bear it somehow.”

When children read about sadness, death or loss in a book, they feel the emotions quite close to if it were to happen for real. They find a connection, they relate, they realise, they persist.