ERIC Number: ED270785
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Death: Realism in Children's Books.
Danielson, Kathy Everts
In the past, books for children treated death fearfully, morbidly, and didactically, but now children's literature treats death in a more realistic manner and is sensitive to its emotional aspects. Current theories suggest that children perceive death differently at various ages. G. P. Koocher (1973) used J. Piaget's cognitive stages as the basis for a theory of the development of children's feelings about death. M. Nagy (1959) proposed three conceptual stages of children: death as sleep, death as permanent, and death as permanent and universal. E. Kubler-Ross (1969) identified five stages that occur when one is confronted with death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The overall theme of death in children's books can be divided topically into pets, parents, grandparents, siblings, and peers. A sixth grade class that was exposed to four books on death, to bring out the students' attitudes toward it, liked the books because they thought death should be understood, but at first they were uncomfortable discussing these books and their own perceptions of dying. (Authors and titles of books are provided, with a description of the basic story line, to demonstrate the existence of books that can help children understand and cope with death.) (SRT)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Plains Regional Conference of the International Reading Association (13th, Minneapolis, MN, November 7-9, 1985).