I don’t review workbooks, or a lot of non fiction books, but by far the most thematic requests I get asked about, are children’s books about bereavement. The loss of a friend or loved one is just not a topic that you see covered very often, if at all. Sure there are books about jannah, but they are more silly and framed as a reward, not about the loss felt that would precede paradise. This 32 page paperback activity book is part reassurance, part encouragement, part discussion starter, and part remembrance all within a faith framework. Much of the book is not sibling specific, perhaps a few tweaks and you could have a grandparent version, a parent version, an aunt or uncle version, etc., even as a parent you may consider adjusting the book as you share it if you are unable to find a specific book for your child’s needs.
The book starts with the author talking to the reader and setting the tone about what has occurred and what is to follow in the book. It then asks the reader to write or share who they are, who passed, and something special they remember about them. It discusses why people die and then starts the two page spreads that address a theme and presents an activity to help you feel better, or to remember or celebrate the one who has died. Topics include: You’re never too big to cry, It’s not your fault, Talking and sharing the pain, Some things will change other’s will stay the same, etc.. Some of the activities are wonderful and can be done in any order, at any time, and others, you may want to adjust. The idea of releasing a balloon, for example, with your worries in it, is symbolically effective, but not so great for the environment. The end of the book has additional resources on how to use the book, things to do with the child, further support, additional resources, and Islamic guidance.
I love that Islamic foundations and vocabulary are not just used, but explained in a very age appropriate, non condescending manner, through out. I love that it is clear that you don’t have to talk if you don’t want to, that it is not the child’s job or responsibility to make the adults feel better, that nothing is anyone’s fault, and that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
I wish the book was larger in size and perhaps hardback so that the activities that require writing would have more space and ease in completing. The text for the activities is also very tiny. I also wish that the author’s qualifications for such advices was included. I Googled the author to find out: “Zamir Hussain is a Muslim Chaplain at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and has pioneered resources in Islamic health care. She has published several books for bereaved Muslim parents and siblings. She has also developed the first UK blended learning resource, including care plans and pathways for Islamic daily, palliative, end of life and bereavement care for paediatric staff. Zamir has worked as a Muslim Chaplain for both the Heart of England NHS Trust and Birmingham Children’s hospital for over five years, where she has also run training courses for the staff as well as delivering training and talks on care for Muslim patients to organisations around the country.”
We need more books about coping, talking, dealing, understanding death for our children, inshaAllah this is a start, alhumdulillah.