Talking to children about (life and death and lifetimes in between)

I thought I would share a lovely book I have come across more recently; ‘Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between by Bryan Mellonie and Illustrated by Robert Ingpen. The text is moving, yet simple and the illustrations are beautiful.

My 5-year-old has started asking questions about death, related to the loss of a family member in the past and more recently, a family pet. What this book does not discuss is what happens after one dies but does help explain life and death in a manner that younger children can somewhat comprehend. I found this book helpful. I read the book myself first before reading to my daughter. There were some follow up questions after reading this book together, which now has opened a way for further and future discussions.

There are lots of living things in our world. Each one has its own special lifetime.

Beginning and Endings with lifetimes in between

All around us, everywhere, beginning and endings are going on all the time. With living in between. This is true for all living things. Nothing that is alive goes on living for ever. How long it lives depends upon what it is and what happens while it is living.

  • Listen to this book on YouTube (click link)
  • You can purchase this book on Ebay and Amazon, Book Depository and Booktopia. The front cover of the book may just look a little different to the image above.
  • Reading the reviews, it seems that some parents read this book to children as young as 3 years old and found it helpful. I haven’t yet read it to my 3-year-old, but found it was perfect for my almost 5.5 year old.

So, no matter how long they are, or how short, lifetimes are really all the same. They have beginnings, and endings, and there is living in between.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this book if you have read it, or if you know of any other helpful children’s books on this topic.

Edited 27th August 2018

Childrens way of coping with loss.jpg
Art expression- coping with loss. 

Art is one way that my 6 year old helps to process things. One of her beloved fish had died and she was very upset. One of the first things she did was to find a quiet space on her own and draw. She spent a long time on this picture. I think it helped her to process what she was feeling. Writing is also something she does to help her work through her feelings but she finds drawing or painting the easiest to articulate.

If I were to say at this age/stage the top four ways she seems to cope best with her feelings would be-

  1.  Through Art
  2. Through writing
  3. Yoga
  4. Meditation

5 thoughts on “Talking to children about (life and death and lifetimes in between)

  1. Before I read it, I was hoping to know why it has not been read to your three year old. Do you feel like they would not understand it? Or is it something you have just not gotten around to? My daughter is three and wanted to know about the appropriateness of reading this to her.

    1. Hi, I should have clarified that I hadn’t yet got around to reading this book to my 3 year old when I wrote the post as it’s a new book.

      My son has now listened to me read this book a couple of times. So we have introduced concepts such as ‘living and non living’ to my youngest- for example. My daughter already has a good understanding of many of the concepts in this book, but this did explain things in a more simplified way.
      I would suggest clicking the link I attached on this blog post and listen to the whole book being read via Youtube first to see what you think.

      As mentioned (according to reviews, other parents have read this book to their younger children around the 3 year age mark) and found it helpful. A book review mentioned that they feel this book is for the 3-6 year age group which I agree with.

      It is a great book to ‘introduce’ these concepts and can be used for future reference too. I will continue to read this book to both of my children.
      Hope that helps?

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